A while ago I posted some tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn. Some of the more popular posts on this subject are listed here.
But as the technology has moved on, and the number of people using it has multiplied exponentially, I thought it was worth updating this post with some new techniques I have found to be very powerful.
But first a quick disclaimer - you have to pay to have access to some of these features. Fo rme, this is no issue. I see it as a very worthwhile investment and would recommend it to you.
Recently I cleared out my connections. I go rid of all LIONS, TopLinked and other professional linkers. I also broke connections with others who are not related to what I do commercially.
The result? The feed of updates on my home page turned from an irrelevant stream about people I didn't know, to a very useful feed about who knows who, who is doing what, and movements within my network.
The key learning here is that LinkedIn is not Facebook. LinkedIn is a scalpel while Facebook is a mallet. If you want it to be relevant and useful to you, then you need to make sure your network remains stacked with people who are relevant and useful to you. (And vice versa of course)
I have also cut back on the groups I am involved in. Instead of the several dozen groups on marketing, consulting or whatever else, I am now exclusively in groups that are relevant to what I do commercially.
This, and my premium subscription, means that when I do a search I can then filter to see only those people who are (say) "Directors of Operations" and in groups that I share.
So what you say. This means that in most cases I can contact them directly without using InMails. So I can humbly, of course, ask if it would not be inappropriate to connect with them via LinkedIn.
Some will say yes, some will ignore you, but basically nobody will reject it outright. Particularly if your message is brief, to the point, and personal.
Using the tactics explained above, and again my premium account, I can actually save these searches. Once a week I receive 7 emails from LinkedIn notifying me of new people who meet the search criteria.
That means more people, every week, who I may be able to connect with - thus expanding my relevant network of contacts. Not only that, but some of these searches are actually set up to identify potential clients, people who I can approach to start a trust based relationship with. Something that I may be able to turn into a long term commercial relationship.
I run two groups on LinkedIn. One is dedicated to Consulting, the other to my day job in Engineering. The first one is almost totally charitable, and I do not seek any income from that area. The second one is very focused on developing reducing the time between acknowledgement and the willingness to trust.
I regularly scour LinkedIn looking for high level people to include in these groups. Why? Because high level people confers credibility, and helps them to clear up issues through discussions with their peers.
I believe it is a good service for them, rather than an imposition on them.
I freely allow competitors int eh group, no worries. But like all my groups there is a strict no spam policy. So if they want to use posts int he group to generate interest in their services and products them they need to provide useful information and value to the members. So it is a win win scenario.
And lastly, I never use any of my groups to directly promote my own services. To do so would mean a certain drop in credibility.
In the initial email they are invited to join the newsletters and blogs I publish. If they do then thats great, I have the possibility of developing a trust based relationship. If they don't then thats okay too, I welcome their presence as a professional in my field of interest.
These tactics have really hlped me to grow my ability to urn my LinkedIn profile into a profitable activity for me. I hope they are useful for you also.
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