6. Ask Questions: Do not be afraid to ask questions. A real expert knows his limits, no one will judge you if you do not know something. Asking questions also enables people to answer them, another useful tool for connecting with smart and experienced people in your field. Questions also appear on the home page, and keep your name in the mind of your connections.
7. Connect, connect, connect: OK, now this bullet is up for debate and I know many people are going to disagree with the way I use LinkedIn. I am a strong believer in the first half of the buzz phrase “Social Media”, i.e Social. Social networks, whether Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn are all about connecting, communicating, and interacting. They are not a popularity content (ahem Twitter), a simple tool to view friends’ pictures (Facebook), or another form of communication with your co worker who sits two feet away from you. The point of LinkedIn, in my opinion, is to connect with people who work in your industry, people who can potentially help and enhance your professional network, and people you might be able to help in one way or another. If you are connected to someone on LinkedIn, it does NOT mean you have worked with them for 5 years in the same office, I do not need a social network to connect with such a person. LinkedIn is for connecting with professionals that share a common ground and interest with your and your profession. So connect, connect, connect, and when in doubt, connect.
8. Get it Out There: Similar to Twitter and possibly Facebook, depending on how you use it, you should link to your LinkedIn profile any chance you get. This is of course assuming you completed the above steps and your profile is something you want people seeing. Add it in your email signature, add it in your Facebook and Twitter bio or profile, send it to your friends, invite people to connect with you, make sure people know you are now on LinkedIn. Get it out there!
9. Join Groups by The Dozens: This is the one step that has brought me more results than any other. Whatever field you are in, chances are there is a relevant group on LinkedIn. Use the advanced search feature, and join any group you think might be somewhat relevant for you and your professional goals.If you do not want to receive daily or weekly emails, you can disable them, but the very presence in a relevant group is sure to get your name out there. I would not stop with just joining the group, I would share insights on the wall, but more about that in the next bullet. LinkedIn is a very effective networking tool that is magnified significantly with its implementation of the groups feature. After joining a group, browse its members, consider connecting with some, and communicate with as many as possible. Just remember, as opposed to possibly Twitter and definitely Facebook, when you participate in the dialogue of a LinkedIn group, the kind of people who will see that are just the people you want to, and not irrelevant friends who just read your content as a personal favor, or Twitter bots who are not reading anything. It is the most effective tool to reach a highly relevant and targeted audience.
10. Show your Expertise: This is something I have a hard time with, if I am being honest. I am so traumatized by the phrase “Social Media Expert” that I do not like calling or marketing myself as an expert (not that I am one). However, many people, who are a lot smarter than me, have told me that if you have what to offer others, it is not the time for humility. No one says to go showing off how popular you are (ahem Twitter spammers), but make sure to share your expertise with others. Share your knowledge across the LinkedIn platform, whether on your status, others’ statuses, groups, or discussions. Market yourself as an expert in whatever field you are in and make sure the next time a friend is looking for someone who “knows his stuff” in your field, they will immediately remember how you just displayed a deep understanding of the subject matter that afternoon. I do not need to tell you how that will help you and your professional goals.
As I mentioned in the intro, I only recently discovered and began to unleash the real potential LinkedIn has to offer. I am learning new things every day, but the bottom line is, if you follow the ten steps above, you will see quicker results than you will see using any other traditional marketing tool, and more targeted and immediate results than other social networks, including Twitter.
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Posted on 16. Sep, 2009 by hilzfuld