How To Use LinkedIn To Expand Your Professional Network

If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, now is the best time to create one. With over 645 million registered users in 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn has grown to be the number one professional networking site for individuals and for B2B marketing. Today, there are more than 30 million companies, 20 million jobs and 35 million skills on LinkedIn – people are catching on.

Regardless of your interests, whether for professional development, product sales or business leads, LinkedIn will provide the opportunity for you to interact and build relationships with people internationally.

Users are still learning which strategies to use and what is acceptable on LinkedIn and the tactics applied will vary based on your goals. There is no set blueprint, however, several LinkedIn experts have shared advice for making the best of your profile.  

LinkedIn Expert Melonie Dodaro says, “social selling is important because 90% of executives and managers use social media to make purchasing decisions.”

In my experience, LinkedIn has surged my network with connections spanning across Europe, USA, Canada, MENA and the Caribbean. This was possible through my LinkedIn strategy in social selling, profile optimization and personal branding online.

The demographics show that most millennials aged 15 – 34 are the ones utilizing the platform, but how effective are you in manoeuvering the platform to your advantage?

Statistics from Omnicore revealed that 91 per cent of marketing executives say that their first choice for valuable content is LinkedIn.

In this blog post, I will be sharing how you can use LinkedIn to grow your professional network.

Optimize Your Profile:

Your image is the first thing people see so ensure you use a professional headshot.

  • Update your headline to get found on search – use keywords like “consultant, speaker, marketer, engineer, or coach to make your profile rank higher. Include what you do in your headline and not just your position. For example: “results-focused consultant helping clients to increase leads”.
  • Ensure that your professional experiences, education and skills are updated Try to include the most relevant and not your entire professional history (your past five to seven years).
  • Make your summary stand-out include your story by expressing what differentiates you from others and how will you solve problems?
  • State your goals – For example, if you are a job seeker or simply looking to grow your personal brand, say it. Write your summary in the first person.
  • Create your custom URL; For example linkedin.com/in/yourname/
  • Include contact information: List your professional email and services you can be contacted for.

Build Authentic Connections:

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It is not necessary to send connection requests to every person you know. LinkedIn is better for building professional relationships and growing your business thus, the quality of your network matters. Although your goal is to gain more followers, you need to be extremely strategic.

3 tips for sending connection requests:

  1. Identify and add people who will be your ideal client;
  2. Review their profile in detail;
  3. Send personalized notes to increases your chances of being accepted;

Ensure you can provide value after connecting by sending a free document.

You can gain new connections by joining groups and being engaged weekly. Following this, you can also share your knowledge and get to know other professionals in your network by responding to comments and giving peers valued feedback.

After connecting, take the conversation offline and schedule a call to discuss further. This is the only way to gain leads.

Tip: If you send too many requests to persons whom you do not know, and your account receives too many “I do not know this person” responses, your account could be restricted.

Post Compelling Content:

To receive the best from this platform, you ought to share relevant content regularly.

If you want to use LinkedIn to connect with persons across the globe, be consistent and create achievable goals. It is possible to set weekly or monthly goals for what you want to accomplish.

In terms of the number of times to post, it is contingent on several factors including time zone, your goals and insights.

To me, quality over quantity is key – publish your audience interests. This can be done by reviewing your analytics to see which content your clients engage with the most and what time of day.

Your content should be mostly informative, educational and material that your network wants. It should spark action; tell them what to do, share behind the scenes and what you have been doing for your professional life and company. You can either post on your profile, write articles, share events or conferences attended, or curate content from reputable sources.

My personal preference is sharing content at least three (3) to five (5) weekly and commenting on profiles of persons and companies that interest me. I have received engagement from weekly posts. However, recent statistics show that Tuesday and Thursdays are the best times to post on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions stated that accounts which post weekly content are more likely to receive more traction for their profile and business.

Assess what works for you then repeat.

Build Credibility

It is advised that you write detailed recommendations for businesses and persons whom you have worked with. Social proof is important, and this shows that you understand the dynamics of B2B and B2C marketing. People will trust you and respond, knowing that you are more likely to provide feedback.

Although there is no evidence regarding the number of recommendations, I would suggest you give and request at least 3–5 recommendations to show social proof, ensuring that they are authentic.

Recommendations can be sought after for:

  • Clients you have worked with;
  • Colleagues whom you have worked together with on a project;
  • Supervisors;
  • College professors;
  • Consumers of your products.

There are ongoing developments since the platform launched in 2002; the most recent additional feature “LinkedIn live videos” is in the beta testing phase thus, restricted to selected countries. 

LinkedIn has continued to expand with their various flagship features, and it has been extremely beneficial to many including myself.

If you are ready to grow your LinkedIn profile, book a complimentary call HERE to learn how you can revamp your LinkedIn.

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