LinkedIn, the network for professionals has changed the landscape of professional and business networking to quite an extent. Linkedin ended the year 2011 with a whopping 101 million users (Slideshare) and it has started off with a 45% growth in membership in January 2012 (Slideshare). If you have not factored Linkedin into your SMM strategy, it is time to start immediately. The Linkedin membership has a different psyche from Facebook and Twitter and is more effective in generating business leads (HubSpot study). Formulate your strategy after careful research and consideration. But first, here are a few general tips to build a solid Linkedin network:
1. Stay linked:
Very few members log into Linkedin every day or even a few times a week. Those who login frequently are the ones who have the most visibility on the pages of their connections. Being regular is the key to increased visibility. The more visibility you have, the more influential you will be on your connections. Staying active on Linkedin takes considerable time and effort like other networking sites. However, the rewards are rich and satisfying. Following are a few to-dos for staying linked and active:
- Update your status two or three times a day on the site itself instead of using other automated queuing tools. This way, you have total control over the message which increases your chances of engagement.
- Keep sending invites to a handful of new people every day, which helps in slowly building your connections’ base.
- Keep in touch with your connections through commenting and sharing. This way, you will be in touch with all your connections even if it is not “in-depth” contact.
- Comment on the updates by the company pages that you follow. This informs about your interests and opinions to your connections.
- Initiate or be a regular participant in the discussions started in the groups that you follow.
- Asking/answering questions in “Linkedin Answers” is also a great way to stay in touch with your current connections, making new connections, showing your interests and knowledge regarding relevant topics.
Note: If you are sharing your tweets on your Linkedin page, remember that it is only information sharing on Linkedin. It will not contribute to any engagement. Be selective about the tweets you share. Do not link your Twitter page to your Linkedin. This may lead to inappropriate and unnecessary tweets appearing on your Linkedin page and annoying your connections.
2. Keep connecting:
Always be on the look out for people you may know and those with similar interests. This will help expand your connection base. Whenever you invite someone to connect with you, make sure to identify yourself appropriately. Linkedin has also recently improvised its “People you may know” functionality. If your profile is updated with your education details, you can also use the “Alumni” search feature to unearth connections.
3. Monitor your connections:
Monitor your connections, by giving attention to their shares and activities visible to you. This will help you keep abreast of their interests and also their login patterns. This in turn will help plan your strategy.
4. Plan your “excursions”:
Doing all the above things will help you plan your “excursions” into the site. This is true whether you manually login or by using an automated tool for posting. You can effectively plan the amount of time you will be on Linkedin and choose the activities to do in that time. This prevents you from spending time doing things that may not give you quantifiable returns.
5. Group presence:
Make your presence felt in the groups you join/create. Join groups that are relevant for you and start participating in discussions! Simply joining groups and remaining dormant will not help you. Make it a point to join a limited number of groups which makes staying active in all easy. There is no use in joining too many groups and then scrambling around to stay active in all. The new “Linkedin Group Search” feature makes it easier to look for groups. Group conversations are now being indexed in Linkedin. You can also filter your searches and see which connections of yours are members of which group/s.
The content that you share on Linkedin is what will define your standing among your connections, in the wider industry and your target markets. Posting original and insightful content will help you in attracting shares and comments. This is more likely to make people sit up and take notice of you. For relevant and interesting content for your target market, you can use the Linkedin Today site. The site has relevant and trending content for you to share. The amount of shares and comments you command also depends on how responsive you are when your connections post content.
You may need to look into these tips and tweak them to suit your requirements and industry. Happy linking!