Making the most of your time on LinkedIn

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Social media can do wonders for your firm, but what social media sites are right for you? In most cases, analytics can tell you the answer to that question, but there’s one social media site that most companies can benefit from without a doubt; LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, the social media site where professionals connect with peers and partners, currently boasts over 450 million registered users with 40% of that base using the social site every day. However, don’t think that this massive userbase means you don’t have to work hard to find connections.

In fact, connecting on LinkedIn might actually take a little more work than traditional social media sites. A Twitter follow can be cheap, a Facebook Like is just a click, as is an Instagram Follow – but connecting with someone on LinkedIn holds a lot more value and takes more effort. If you don’t have something to offer the person you want to connect with, or they don’t know or remember you, you may be declined.

Making connections and making them valuable takes some thought and effort.  You need to think about who to connect with and how to get those connections to turn into leads.

Let’s take on some LinkedIn questions and get to the bottom of true LinkedIn value.

“How do I make valuable LinkedIn connections?”

This answer is a lot more overarching and is basically composed of three parts: connecting with those you personally know, showcasing your value and discovering the connections who are most valuable to you.

Personal connections

Whenever I am going to meet someone, or are introduced to someone, LinkedIn becomes a valuable tool for me.  I look them up, I read about their history, I look at their previous job roles and career development, and I look at what they do now.  I am trying to understand them as a person, their career purpose and their job role.  I want to know what drives them, how they are successful and how I may be able to assist them in this success.  I want to know how I can connect with them in ‘real life’, warm the relationship quickly.

Showcasing your value

The best way to showcase your value on LinkedIn is through a complete profile in tandem with your initial connections. The first step is to have an incredible profile. Here’s a great list of LinkedIn profile tips, but let’s quickly go over some of the best ones…

Once you’re done with your profile, go and connect with everyone you already know. This can be colleagues, old employers, university alumni…anyone you already had a past connection with who won’t need to consider you before accepting your request.  This quickly builds your network.  You can also set up LinkedIn to connect with your Outlook contact list to facilitate this process, quickly and easily.

Discovering connections

It’s actually not taboo to send out lots of LinkedIn requests and to connect with as many people as possible on LinkedIn. The reasons? The recipients do not know that you have sent out hundreds of requests – they only receive one request in isolation. Secondly, harvesting a large LinkedIn following is part of showcasing your brand. The larger your connection pool, the more likely people and businesses are to connect with you.

The problem is that you can’t just send requests and then drop the ball. Once you connect with someone, it’s on you to try and cultivate that relationship in order to turn it into a viable lead or a valuable connection; one where you can support one another in other ways (increasing your network, supporting professional development, making introductions, getting involved in an association or group etc)Leads can be found all over LinkedIn, but you have to work hard in order to actually make them valuable.

From there, try and get your connections to follow you on other social sites, like Twitter or Facebook. This helps boost your overall brand profile and can also lead to forged connections on other social media platforms.

LinkedIn might be a different type of social site, but it’s not an altogether difficult platform to master. Follow this advice; approach LinkedIn connections as you would a personal relationship.  Cultivating your connections into strong relationships means that your time spent on LinkedIn won’t go to waste.

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