As I move further down the freelancing path, LinkedIn is becoming more and more valuable. I've always been on the site, but it's only the last few years that I have started to realise exactly how valuable the network that I've built can be.
How can you maximise the potential of your network of connections? There are so many answers to this question. I've compiled three of my favorite beginners tips here, but I would love to know your own tips for utilising the features of LinkedIn.
This is the very first tip I share with my recruitment clients. One of the best things about Linkedin is that it is a permanent, ever expanding contact list. For every job I've had, every email I've received from a business, every name that has crossed my path in a professional capacity, I've added them to my Linkedin network. This has three benefits. Firstly, it expands your network into different industries. It's easy to create a network of 100 people within the same industry that you work in. What's harder is expanding your reach into other industries. You never know when these contacts might become useful. You may need to put a call out for work some time in the future, you may find yourself selling a product or service that has a use outside of your own sector.
Some opportunities to add to your network:
- Job interviews - it pays to look up who will be interviewing you anyway, to get a grasp of their standing in the company, their role and their background. Adding them to your network is a step up from this - it forges a permanent connection that could prove valuable later on down the line.
- Customer service emails - I like to add supervisors and managers that I end up conversing with over email to my LinkedIn network as an 'in' to various industries. Dependent on the status of the persons LinkedIn account, you can't add 3rd degree or further connections without InMail. These names and contacts are valuable for expanding your reach into untapped sectors. Plus, they are quite often part of the recruitment process, and you may see them advertising jobs you otherwise wouldn't have known about.
- Customers - whether you work for yourself or within a larger company, you will be having contact with clients in some capacity. Reach out to them on LinkedIn and you may be able to utilise them in a later role - be aware that some companies won't like this, but your LinkedIn account, so long as your company isn't paying for premium membership is your own and no company can make a claim on your contact list.
There are thousands of industry specific groups on LinkedIn. I take a few minutes each day to browse and join relevant groups.
Don't limit yourself to groups just for your role. For example, I am a member of many Social Media groups, Marketing groups, Digital Marketing...but my client base is actually small business owners and job seeking individuals looking to create an online brand. For this reason I also look to join sole trader, start-up, job seeking and small business owner groups.
I use these groups to advertise the posts that I make on LinkedIn Pulse - adding my links to two or three a day has increased the views on my articles three-fold. They are also a great place to browse and answer questions. Small business owners are always looking for answers to basic social media questions, I can answer these, it only takes a few seconds and I've highlighted my skill set to a potential client. This is 'the long game' as often it won't be immediate that you will see a benefit from this type of action. However making yourself as visible as possible to a relevant, engaged audience is obviously going to be beneficial in the future. Watch your profile views, connection requests and contact list rocket when you start engaging with the community in this way!
Linking your profile reminds people to look you up on LinkedIn, and there are loads of places you can do it that aren't intrusive. Here are eight places you should have your LinkedIn profile displayed...
- Your resume - recruiters and employers can see your profile, endorsed skills and bio and may add you for later reference.
- Bio on your website/blog
- Facebook page
- The end of articles or blogs
- Instagram bio if you use it for business
- Google+ account - you can also share your profile on this platform to a wider audience
- Email signature - don't underestimate the power of this link!
- Twitter bio
Easy right? You probably already have the link in many of these. Don't forget, to get the right link to share, go to your profile and you will find the sharing URL directly under your profile.
I hope this has given you the motivation to increase the power of your LinkedIn account. I plan on sharing more in-depth tips on how to utilise LinkedIn and it's features in the near future. In the mean time, feel free to add me as a connection - my profile is here.