Most business professionals have figured out that a LinkedIn account is a required tool in the digital age. But far fewer people have a clear idea of what they should be doing with it.
For me, it all comes down to this: LinkedIn is for good, old-fashioned networking.
It’s for expanding your network and touching base with the people that are already part of it. It’s for helping people find solutions to their problems and to expand their networks. And it’s for nurturing relationships and getting to know people better.
Beware of people that complicate LinkedIn in order to demonstrate their expertise or sell you something you really don’t need. If you’re in business and you’ve had any success, you know how to build a network. You know how to have business relationships. You know how to help people.
LinkedIn is a tool for cultivating one of your most valuable assets in business: your social network.
So, here’s what you should be doing on LinkedIn:
1. Complete your profile.
Write a summary in the first person that describes your essence and include the keywords for which you want to be found. Your profile is your calling card. People will search LinkedIn and you want them to find YOU. Tip: Invest in a warm and friendly headshot because people judge you based on appearances.
2. Connect with everyone.
If you meet anyone in real life and have a meaningful interaction of any kind, then add that person as a LinkedIn connection. You want to build a big network, an audience. Think of concentric circles expanding out from you. Tip: Always personalize your invitations to connect, mentioning something that ties you to that person.
3. Pay attention to your feed.
At least once per day, you should look at your LinkedIn feed and like some posts, comment on others and share the best ones with your network. You get what you give. Tip: People pay more attention to people that pay attention to them.
4. Share great content.
Sharing great articles, videos and graphics in your feed at least once each day (but preferably 2 or 3 times) is the best way to be visible in your network. You always want to be the bearer of helpful information. Tip: Go to LinkedIn > Interests > Pulse to find great content to share.
5. Write insightful and personal articles.
Use LinkedIn’s publishing capabilities to write and share an article of your own at least once a month. You need to show people how you think, what you’re made of. Tip: Avoid marketing and self-promotional language and focus on sharing personal perspectives, insights and passions in a professionally appropriate way.
Focus on doing these five things and consistently try to give value and be helpful to your network and you will find that LinkedIn – your network – gives back too.