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Making Your LinkedIn Network "Work"
Posted on April 8th 2013
There are various social networks that can be incorporated into any online marketing strategy. Through these networks, we can meet, network, and improve our visibility to various audience groups. Amongst the most valuable to anyone working on personal branding is Linkedin. Designed and organized with the concept of brand networking, this site proves incredibly valuable to any brand and their online marketing strategy. Like other social networks, Linkedin has its own audience and application. In order to make Linkedin work for your brand, you’ll need to incorporate certain practices into your strategy.
First of all, you must consider the purpose of your profile. It might be improving visibility, making new connections, or even expressing your expertise. But for most brands, it is a combination of various purposes, designed specifically for their brand. The goal here is to determine exactly what you want out of your Linkedin profile so that you can work towards getting the results you want.
A professional profile.
This is the first and most necessary step for any brand existing on this social network. Linkedin is all about presenting professionalism in the business world. And the first place to start is your profile. Your Linkedin profile is much like your brand’s resume. It says a lot at first glance, which is what others will see initially and use to make a major decision on your value to their own network.
You’ll need to ensure that you refine your profile completely. The best place to start is what your fellow users will see first, so be sure that you use a professional image. A professional photo says simply: This is serious business for me and I’m serious about connecting with you.
Your headline and profile stats will also speak to the viewer. Make sure that all of your information is filled in, such as workplace, history, and expertise. When it comes to your headline, consider what it is that sets your personal brand apart from others. What is it that makes you unique? Abilities? Techniques? In good practice, your headline should change regularly, keeping your established network up-to-date with your professional experience.
And when it comes to expressing your expertise, Linkedin has a spot just for that. Demonstrating your expertise allows you to focus on your strengths, which needs to be done in a precisely managed fashion. Linkedin uses a professional grader which allows you to select particular strengths that your contacts can endorse. This recent addition has made it convenient for users to exemplify their areas of expertise. However, it can easily be misused by creating an over-abundance of different areas of expertise. Consider what it is that you do well. What strengths do you have? Use a select few (that will coincide with one another) to develop a profile that affirms what it is that you do and won’t confuse your contacts and fellow audience. This will help ensure that you present the right image initially.
Get out and network.
Linkedin is all about networking, which means that you need to present yourself to the network. This is the ultimate purpose of Linkedin’s groups, which offer a wide array of different topics, levels of expertise, and group sizes. This makes it easy enough to enter into a group and introduce yourself as an expert, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll make the most from your experience. The greatest benefit is that you can move around and explore. Basically, you don’t want to settle into a niche. Explore and share with other groups and regularly move around in search of new and fresh information. As you learn, move forward and share your knowledge with other groups and generate greater visibility for your brand.
Connections alone won’t equal growth.
On Facebook and Twitter, we sometimes rate our success through our “Likes” and “Followers,” and when it comes to Linkedin, we often consider our number of contacts valuable growth for our brand. But that is wrong. Making the connection is only the beginning. In order to gain Linkedin’s benefits, you must work to grow those connections by nurturing them and generating a network that is valuable to your brand. You must interact, be consistently active, and share your brand with your audience. Otherwise, your contacts will remain as statistical numbers on a social network.
Linkedin has much to offer its users, especially those who are seeking to grow their brand’s network and exemplify their expertise. Just remember that making these social connections is only part of your task. Follow up, share, and expand your network by remaining active both online and in person.
(image: LinkedIn / shutterstock)