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With over 467 million users and growing, you can’t miss out on using LinkedIn to grow your reach and expand your network.
I meet a lot of people that spend valuable time, money & energy networking, yet they never use LinkedIn. Then there are those who quietly go about building their LinkedIn presence, using sound strategies, an understanding of their target subscribers – and of LinkedIn, its mission and its unique advantages. They easily generate solid leads and grow their business.
Here’s some easy ways to get started:
1. Know your target market
Trying to connect with EVERYONE is the biggest cause cause of overwhelm, and it delivers the worse results. Once you are clear on your ideal client profile, you can get online to connect with them. You can have more than one target on LinkedIn such as your target market to sell your products and services, and your target market of people with whom you want to partner, and even a target of people from whom you want to learn.
2. Improve your profile
When’s the last time you updated your profile? Your business goals are constantly evolving, so you should check your profile for accuracy and improvement possibilities at least quarterly.
Use keyword-rich bulleted points rather than sentences in your profile summary.
Use keywords to describe what you accomplished in the experience fields.
Fill out the profile as completely as possible; don’t skip any element.
3. Invite people to connect
Connecting online often starts offline! Put your LinkedIn profile on your business cards so that people know where to find you and connect with you. Take advantage of tools such as being able to use your address book in multiple email clients to choose people to invite. However, don’t send out a block invite to anyone, though, do take the time to send out personal invites. It only takes an extra few seconds, and it makes a BIG difference in getting a response.
4. Get people to invite you
Let people know that you want to connect! Put your LinkedIn profile link in the signature of your emails, and in any directories you’re a part of so that people can invite you to their networks. Some people decide to be an “open networker” so that you can receive a wide range of invites from people—I still like to carefully connect, although I do link in with people I have not met in real life (after reading their profiles). Do be selective in accepting invites, but this is a great way to expand your network.
5. Join groups strategically
Groups are a great way to expand your network on LinkedIn. Join groups focused on the topics that you feel are most likely to consist of your target audiences mentioned above. You’ll immediately be connected to all the members, but you can go further and invite stand-out members to your network and be open to asking them to invite you. Join a few at a time, and participate. It takes time to get to know people, but the Group organizers make it easy for you by collecting together like-minded individuals.
6. Create your own groups
Another great way to expand your network on LinkedIn is to create your own groups. LinkedIn lets anyone create groups on their network, even those with a free account. What’s more, within the group you can promote your website via RSS feeds while helping to build your personal network. People who join the group will ask to connect with you. This is more of an advanced strategy, so I recommend doing this only if you’ll have the time to keep it up. But it WILL set you apart as a leader.
7. Use tags
Each of your contacts has a section called notes and tags. You can use keywords to tag each new connection. It helps to keep connections organized and allows you to send out messages only to those whom you’ve tagged. There are default tags, and you can create your own. Tags will help you remember people so that you can build better relationships. A good idea for tags might be where you met, the group they’re part of, or what target market they fit in. This helps you stay organized and TARGET your market.
8. Try Advanced search
At the top of LinkedIn there is a search window; beside it is the word “Advanced.” If you click that it will take you to a page where you can customize your search on LinkedIn. You can search by location, company, industry, and so forth. If you are trying to connect with a specific type of person, do your search from here. This is one of the biggest advantages of LinkedIn… you can search many different fields with 3 degrees of separation—you’ll be able to find EXACTLY the right people!
TAKE ACTION: By using all the tools available to you on LinkedIn, you’ll soon expand your network with just a few byte sized steps!