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LinkedIn, as the world’s largest professional network, is an indispensable tool for professionals throughout all industries. With over 100 million users, it’s the perfect platform for selling services and products, for networking, for crowdsourcing and testing ideas, for finding employees and employment, and for publicizing trade and industry related events. With LinkedIn, the professional benefits are almost endless. However, it’s important to remember that the way you present yourself and your business is crucial in leveraging LinkedIn’s true power.

Here are a few tips that will help you network across LinkedIn, by taking advantage of the various tools they have for their users:

1. Your Profile

Make sure your profile is set-up in such a way that when other users arrive to your page, they can obtain a decent grasp of who you are as a professional. That means having a recent picture, including relevant work experience with brief descriptions of each, having recommendations (endorse others first, there’s a good chance they will return the favor), filling out recommended information, and setting up widgets/applications (our favorites: WordPress Blog, Polls, Events, Tweets, Google Presentation).

2. Update

Don’t ignore your profile. Updating it will make you stay top-of-mind, since your connections are informed when you update your profile (through their newsfeed and weekly emails). Update your profile by posting new status updates with interesting links and content or industry-related observations. Status updates aren’t about broadcasting your company and constantly sharing links to your website- it’s about letting your connections know that you are up-to-date on industry related news. Be sure to include a personal comment as to why you’re sharing the link. Make people know you’re in the know.

3. Join Groups

Joining groups allows you to communicate with a group of people who are all interested in a particular subject. Therefore, you can think of groups as targeted audiences where you’ll want to establish yourself as an industry leader. Much like your status updates, post links that will be relevant to members of the group. Share insights. Ask questions. Answer questions. Start discussions. And remember, you might find it tempting to broadcast messages all about your company, with information about your “great features!” and “last chance to take advantage of your special sale!”– but that’s not what LinkedIn is about. Those kinds of updates won’t get you far. (And could get you thrown off of well-moderated groups). Keep it relevant. Keep it interesting. With your engagement, people will look to you for help and advice. And when you’re sought out- that’s when you can establish a different kind of connection and can start selling your product/service the best way you know how.  (Use LinkedIn’s Groups Directory to search for groups. You can join up to 50 groups. Or you can also create your own.)

4. Follow Companies

Follow companies to stay up-to-date on what others in your industry are doing. Following a company will allow you to receive updates about the company, which is never a bad resource.

5. Questions & Polls

Answering questions and responding to polls is another great way to establish yourself as an industry leader.  Browse through questions that are relevant to your field (you can do so here) and provide clear and resourceful answers. Your expertise will shine through and you’ll be able to generate leads and real business. Same goes for polls. (To start creating and participating in polls, add the application here)

 

LinkedIn is a wonderful resource for professionals, helping people keep in touch, generate leads, and close deals. However powerful the network is, you must harness it’s resources for it to truly be of value. It’s only as powerful as you make it. Remember, LinkedIn is still about networking and about building relationships. Just multiplied.

By: Daniela Cuevas