Over the past year I’ve gotten a lot of requests to help friends, family, and coworkers out with their LinkedIn’s. Some need tips, other’s need complete overhauls, and then there remain a few that have yet to even claim their page! So here we go, How to Properly LinkedIn.
× The Ground Work
Be sure to keep your profile updated as it builds your credibility. To start, pick a professional, identifiable url address. You will only be given the option to change this once, so be sure of your decision! Other aspects of your profile needing attention are an up-to-date profile picture, recommendations, experience, skills, and even volunteer experience. These areas should be updated regularly, so try to get in the habit of checking your profile once a month to update anything that may have changed.
Another tip is to make your updates work for you! You can do this by ensuring the option to notify your network is ‘on’. This will automatically publish updates about any change you make, informing your network and keeping you in their mind.
However –this option can be hurtful to your image if you are making many changes.
A good rule of thumb is to keep this turned ‘off’ if you plan to make more than 3 changes. You don’t want to spam your network’s newsfeed!
Once enough of your profile has been filled in, you should begin adding members to your network. To begin, look through your phonebook or contact list on another social network for people you are professionally connected to. This might include any family, friends, professors, colleagues, bosses, and clients.
Do not necessarily wait until it is completely filled out to begin this phase, as the notifications I just mentioned will not notify them.
With a functioning profile, you are now able to connect with prospects! You can go about this a couple of ways. I encourage you to use a mix of them at first until you find what works for you.
1. Smart Search- This tool allows you to filter results by location, title, company, and/or keyword. By using a mix of these filters, you can dig deep into the results and identify potential prospects easily.
Paid Accounts have access to company size and seniority level filters as well.
2. Weekly Report- You are able to save your searches’ filters and opt in to receive a list of results weekly. These matches will differ whenever new candidates update their profiles and meet your parameters. By comparing the week to week results, you will be able to spot any fresh face that deserves a closer look.
3. Introductions- To reach out to prospects that are 2nd degree connections, you will need an introduction. Once you have chosen a prospect, select an ‘introducer’ you think will work best. This person is someone who is already connected with the prospect and will be the one to either accept or deny your request to connect.
With the individual selected, write them a nice note as to why you would like to connect with the prospect. It is always polite to give them an out.
Be mindful that the introducer will have the option to include your note in their introduction message to the prospect, so keep it professional and to the point. You might also wish to add your contact information, in case the introducer would like to inquire further with you.
If your introducer has not responded, you have a few options:
#Call them to check if they have received your request and have not brushed it aside.
#Make sure they know their options as to what they can do: deny, forward your request to prospect and keep you in on it, or compose a new LinkedIn message to send to you both.
#Withdraw your request, and use another introducer.
#Wait out the duration of 6 months to have your credit refunded, and try again.
Paid Accounts have an unlimited amount of credits
Another way to ensure your message is delivered is to call your introducer ahead of the request. This way they can anticipate it and are more likely to move it along.
4. In-Mail- Another advantage LinkedIn offers you is their internal email system. This allows you to get past the ‘gate-keepers’ so many senior management have that sort through the communications and requests. Sure these gate-keepers block out the spam, but there are times your message might get lost because of them. In-Mail ensures your message is delivered straight to your prospective organization’s senior management, regardless if you are connected. Be mindful that you are only given a few credits, which have a period of 7 days before they are refunded if you receive no response.
Paid Accounts have an unlimited amount of In-Mail credits.
× The Real Time Consumer
Networking is more than just growing your group of contacts, but also incorporates nurturing those contacts you have already made. LinkedIn gives you the ability to share status updates as well as engage in other’s updates. You should use this to keep your relationships healthy and growing.
Other ways to research prospects is to follow prospective organization’s pages, so that you stay up-to-date on what is happening.
Groups are also a major component of your profile. They build credibility, find things you may have in common with prospects, as well as keep you in the know of subject matter.
Another trick for LinkedIn is to ‘look back’. Your are able to view a fraction of people that view your profile, so be sure to use it! Look back at those user’s profiles, and if you find something intriguing, request to connect.
Premium Accounts have unlimited access to the full list of who viewed their profiles in the last 90 days.
Your account also comes with analytics, including how you rank in your organization, in your network, and how effective your posts have been broken down by which degrees interacted with it. Other analytics include how your viewers found you, what job title they have, and where they are in the world.
Premium Accounts can also view where they rank against other’s like them.
× Premium Accounts
I know I have referenced ‘Premium Accounts’ a lot, and you may be asking what it is! There a few different options if you are considering upgrading to a premium account. I recommend using the ‘trial’ phase to test out the one you are interested in before hand. It might not be what you had anticipated!
The one I have been referring to throughout this post, I believe, is LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You can find more about it here. Simply put, this account will allow you to focus on the right people, stay informed with insights, and build trusted relationships.
To view the other Premium Account options, check out this page.
So there you have it! I wish you the best of luck on LinkedIn and would love to connect. You can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/simplymeret. For more things LinkedIn, check out these posts from Intero Advisory on Eliminating Cold Calling, The Social Media Hat’s take on How Not to Use LinkedIn, and The UnderCover Recruiter’s Infographic on How to Create the Perfect Profile.