How to Properly Network on LinkedIn for Maximum Value
LinkedIn has become the go-to network for all working professionals, business owners and even students looking to jump start their careers. Not having a well thought out LinkedIn strategy is an easy way for it to become just another Facebook or Twitter account for you. With over 500 million people now using LinkedIn to stay connected in a professional context, make sure that you donâ€™t close the window of opportunity on yourself.
You might be considering LinkedIn to be just another job board. People come online, post jobs or seek to apply for some. Simple as that.
LinkedInâ€™s potential is far greater than that. Just check out some of these statistics that were researched by Jobvite.
Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired.
Referred applicants are 15 times more likely to be hired compared to those applicants who simply stick to applying through job boards.
So that definitely means people are leveraging LinkedIn to their advantage. Simply put, there isnâ€™t really any other social network which can match the massiveness of LinkedInâ€™s professional outreach. Sure you have amazing Facebook and Twitter profiles, but recruiters are not really paying attention to those until and unless after youâ€™re shortlisted. LinkedIn is right now, the most effective way to display your hireability to the world of limitless opportunities.
So, how is networking properly done on LinkedIn?
Have a Complete and Optimized Profile
Itâ€™s great that you mention some fun facts about yourself and donâ€™t keep your profile 100% serious. Itâ€™s good to have a little humor and casual attitude here and there. But overall, you will want your LinkedIn profile to look neat, organized and well planned.
This means putting up a professional picture. Not one which you would use for Facebook or any other social media profile. Your bio, job descriptions and any section on the profile page should be brief, to the point and contain achievements rather than filler content.
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Make sure you use the right words. Describe your position and achievements in a few paragraphs and optimize with keywords that matter in your industry. The reason behind this is there is always a need of talent around the world. Recruiters, employers and other LinkedIn networks are constantly searching for the right people to connect to. Having those keywords on your profile, which theyâ€™re searching for, will mean you show up in results.
In one post, the good people of LinkedIn even went as far as saying that a complete profile was 40 times more likely to receive opportunities than a regular one. Thatâ€™s a monumental difference if you ask us.
Make The Right Connections
It is easy to get carried away. Especially when you see you have an ocean of potential connections on LinkedIn to just start clicking â€˜Inviteâ€™ on every single profile you see. Even though thatâ€™s what most people usually think is a â€˜goodâ€™ way to connect, itâ€™s not always as productive.
There are posts from people saying that â€˜I have 5000+ plus connections, but a single one doesnâ€™t provide any valueâ€™. You donâ€™t really want to end up like that person. Itâ€™s just like have hundreds of Facebook friends that you donâ€™t know and probably are never going to interact with. They are ghost connections, that are there, but donâ€™t really make any significant contribution.
If you think LinkedIn is all about winning a popularity contest, it just isnâ€™t. No one has ever benefitted from having thousands of useless connections on LinkedIn. It does not work that way.
Instead, focus on building real relationships. Add people from your industry with whom you can imagine having a productive conversation with. Think about how you could add value to their lives and they, to yours. Everything is give and take in life and LinkedIn shouldnâ€™t be seen as anything different. People are on LinkedIn to gain and to add, not be taken away from.
Some experts even point out the â€˜golden numberâ€™ of connections being no more than 500. So you can actually benefit from 100-200 of them by conversating, gaining insight and eventually getting recommendations etc.
When you see someone who you would like to connect with, go over their profile. See what sort of background they are coming from. Did they go to the same school as you did or ever worked for a company you have? There are countless ways to find mutual qualities that can kick start a valuable conversation. Even adding a personal note makes a monumental difference in how that person receives your invitation to connect on LinkedIn.
As long as you think of people on LinkedIn as actual people and not robots, networking shouldnâ€™t be too hard of a task. Reach out, ask questions and donâ€™t think of everything as asking for a job or business. Focus on building that trust first and everything else comes naturally.
Post Valuable Content and Engage in Discussion
Any LinkedIn feed is usually full of members asking various questions, sharing videos and blog posts and much, much more. If youâ€™re not sure what kind of content is engaging and what you should be sharing on LinkedIn, look around and see the ones which are getting a positive response form the community. Â
Always remember one simple rule for LinkedIn. Keep it professional!
Whatever you want to talk about, share or create for LinkedIn, must be specifically for LinkedIn. Ask the right questions by keeping them career related or about an upcoming event for businesses or anything of that nature. Donâ€™t start posting pictures of what you had for lunch and how youâ€™re having a great time at the beach.
Unless it has something to do with a networking event, business insight, your job or anything in a professional context, donâ€™t post it.
The reason behind this is that the LinkedIn community is quick to give a cold shoulder to anyone who thinks LinkedIn is like Facebook or Twitter. Your reputation on the worldâ€™s largest professional network could go down the drain, very fast. You certainly donâ€™t want that happening.
Unlike other social networks, itâ€™s not always easy rebounding from the damaged reputation. You could always create another Facebook account or Twitter profile with different names and such, but what are you going to change about your LinkedIn page? Everything that you mention will always be the way it is and otherâ€™s are even able to testify to what you have written on your profile.
Youâ€™re also very likely to have your boss and other members of your organization added to your LinkedIn account. So be cautious about what youâ€™re posting and how you want others to perceive you.
Itâ€™s not all downhill. Once you start providing meaningful content, giving deep answers to peoples questions and show the LinkedIn world that you have something to provide them with, the way your profile will shine is absolutely worth it. People will create a perception about how great of a professional you are, they will want to connect with you, share your updates and eventually grow deeper, more valuable relationships.
Use that to your advantage and answer any or all messages that come your way. Not being an active member on LinkedIn is a good way to trash any and all expectations people may have from you.
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There are so many dos and donâ€™ts of the LinkedIn world that it could takes days to explain them all. The 3 that we talked about are more than relevant to the latest LinkedIn standards and provide you the foundation to begin your networking journey with a bang.
You risk all chances of success if you never take chances and LinkedIn is full of opportunities to take those chances. Learn from your mistakes and get back up stronger than before.