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Brian Cuda: LinkedIn, the social network for pros

It's All Geek to Us

Posted: October 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

After reading the brief overview and useful tips, readers wanted to know more about LinkedIn, the social network for professionals.

All the questions centered on how small businesses can use LinkedIn effectively. Here are some additional ways to use LinkedIn that may help sell more products and services.

First, it is important to know how social networks operate.

Based on the users’ profile information, the system aims to connect people who have something in common. For LinkedIn, the profile information seems to focus most on common connections, companies, locations and schools. As a network for professionals, the system is not as interested in a user’s sex, relationship status or hobbies.

 

Build your profile

Knowing that social networks need information about the user to create connections, it is critical that users provide complete and detailed information to aid the system in recommending relevant connections.

 

Build it better

Once a profile has been established, users should return to their account and verify that they have used industry-related keywords in their job titles and descriptions. After updating titles with compelling, keyword-rich descriptions, users should take advantage of the skills section to tag their profiles with the relevant skills.

These steps will not only help users get noticed on LinkedIn, but also ensure that they are searchable on Google, which helps the average person get found on Google searches because of LinkedIn’s excellent page rank.

 

Make connections

After the profile is complete, it is time to get social. Spend time searching the recommended connections in the “People You May Know” section. Connecting with known customers, vendors, friends, family and co-workers will help expand users’ networks.

LinkedIn is not a popularity contest; however, it may be surprising who the people you know are connected to. So, connect often to cast a wide net as it may turn a cold call into a personal introduction from a mutual connection.

To increase the chances of someone accepting a request to connect, personalize the message. Business consultant Kelly McCormick suggests deleting the default request to connect message and replacing it with something like:

“Hi, I don’t believe that we’ve met. However, we seem to know many people in common, and I’d like to include you in my network. ... (Look forward to reading your posts/sharing resources/learning more about you).” (Source: http://bit.ly/rprYda)

Think of connections on LinkedIn being like encounters you may have with someone in the elevator of a building. If someone stepped in and said, “I would like to add you to my professional network,” it would sound odd. A more creative and personalized invitation to connect is as important as good eye contact, a smile and a great elevator speech.

 

Provide value

As users’ connection pools grow, it is important to provide value to the community. One way to do so is through strategic updates. Providing tips, sharing knowledge or posting engaging questions are good ways to get noticed in the stream of updates. 

Finding the topics that intrigue or engage the audience can take some practice, but it is important not to hard sell. Status updates should be used to demonstrate expertise, keep clients informed about industry changes and keep your name in the foreground.

 

More to come

I hope these additional tips will help you use LinkedIn more effectively, resulting in sales for your organization. Next time, I will share additional LinkedIn tips relating to groups, ads and company pages.

Readers can submit questions to: brian@geek2us.com.

Brian Cuda is co-founder of Conceptinet, a website design, development, hosting, social media and marketing firm located in Santa Clarita and can be reached at (661) 338-0830  www.conceptinet.com. Mr. Cuda’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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