There is always a lot of talk about Facebook breaking records for sheer numbers of users and now Google+ has come a long and proved to be the fastest growing network of all time, but their cousin LinkedIn is still the networking site for business. LinkedIn has morphed from it’s early days of just being a place to post your resume to a full fledged networking platform. Whether you are looking for a job, looking to promote your business or to network with others in your industry, the opportunities are great.
First, don’t take the “Build it and they will come” approach. Just like the good old days when you had to go to networking events to meet people, you have to take a proactive approach with social networking sites. It’s all about engagement. There are many ways to do this.
- Like other networks you have the ability to update your status. Do this frequently, but don’t over do it. Plus, no one really cares what you had for breakfast or that little johnny scored an A on his math test. Keep it relevant. Maybe tips and tricks for your industry, news or links to relevant articles you have read as well as other resources.
- One of the great features that LinkedIn proveides is the Q & A section of the site. This is a great place for you to strut your stuff and show off your knowledge. Answer questions from your industry. People often ask questions here because they need an expert to help them solve a problem. Let people know you are the “go to” guy/girl for your industry.
- Start hanging out in groups. LinkedIn groups are another way to start meeting new people. Is your target market local? There are groups for that? There are also groups based on industry, topical group and more. If you can’t find a group that fits the target market that you want to hang out with, create your own. Oneword of warning though, make sure if you create your own group you foster open and fair discussion. After all you’re there for engagement not to blast people with your marketing message.
- This tip is related to groups and is a bit more under the radar. Using LinkedIn’s people search you can search for specific people by name, or you can search by company and then position. If you are using the free version it is more difficult to directly contact some that is not already a connection. So let’s say you are trying to get in contact with some one at the XYZ Technology company, but none of your connections know this person. So an introduction is not possible. Once you use LinkedIn search to find them, check out their profile and find out what groups they belong to. There’s a good chance you have a group in common. If you don’t already, find a group that they are members of that interests you and join the group. You can then add them as a connection as well as message them, using the “member of a group” option.