To maximize LinkedIn and see the results you are looking for in 2013, you need to use it consistently. The best way to do this is to make it a habit. In this two-part post, we’ll cover some best practices for using LinkedIn to create opportunities and some easy strategies to make LinkedIn a habit in your workweek.
As a continuation of my theme for the year (LinkedIn, Learn and Leverage), I’ve come up with an acronym that helps me remember the really important parts of using LinkedIn: LEADS. LEADS stands for LinkedIn Engagement–Authentic, Diligent and Systematic. Remember to approach LinkedIn use in these ways and be consistent and you will end up with a better and more strategic business and client development strategy for 2013. In this post we will cover the first two parts of LEADS: Engagement and Authenticity.
LEADS assumes your profile is built out, optimized and has at least the beginnings of a smart network.
My good friend and colleague Steve Navarro is a “give to get” evangelist. You reach out first, you make an introduction for someone else first, you do the favor first, you ask good questions to learn how you can help the other person and it will come back to you. Guess what? LinkedIn works the same way. Here are some tips to help you engage, maximize LinkedIn and then a habit to help you make LinkedIn part of your work week:
- Be a resource for your network
- Think of and create good introductions even when not asked
- ‘Like,’ comment or share other people’s posts
- Answer questions they ask and post
- When someone asks a question, send them an article that may answer or provide insight
Habit Former: decide to reach out to five 1st-level connections a week through LinkedIn (send them a message through LinkedIn). It will force you to pay attention to your LinkedIn inbox and see how it works. LinkedIn will send any reply to your regular inbox, as well. Use that as a prompt and hit “view/reply to message” and you will be connected back to your LinkedIn inbox. When you are purposeful in LinkedIn, better connections and context occur.
In your personal life and in your work life it’s important to be real–to be authentic. LinkedIn is no different. Know your voice and your style. If you’re more informal, don’t be uptight on LinkedIn. If you’re more conservative or formal (or your industry is more conservative) then that’s your voice, go for it. Here are some tips to help you appear authentic on LinkedIn followed by a tip to help you make LinkedIn a habit and create more opportunities:
- Decide to use your voice—there is too much activity on your LinkedIn connections’ home pages to be passive, let people know you are there.
- Post an article AND add a comment—it shows you actually read the article
- Comment on something one of your connections or groups posts—even if you have a differing opinion
- Comment on a comment—now you are starting a conversation
- Don’t fret over or spend more than a couple of minutes creating your comments, spend the time reading the article (you may learn something new too, a bonus)
Executives be careful if you have others managing your LinkedIn profile, they need to use your voice, not theirs. You need to explain how you want to sound. If your writer works with you closely they should have a sense of your writing and talking style.
Habit Former: Log in to LinkedIn four days a week for one month. Post an industry or general business article two times a week; ‘Like’ or comment on alternating days. This will increase your visibility without making you or your connections crazy. Do NOT do everything in one or two days. People do not like seeing repeated activity one after another on their home page.
Measure your progress by keeping track of how many connections and groups you have when you begin. Set some goals and measure every 30 days for three months.
Stay tuned to my next blog for the last two parts of LEADS: Diligent and Systematic.
Let me know how you are doing or how you use LinkedIn to generate new opportunities!