Would you go to a business lunch and stand alone in the corner? I imagine not. Yet many professionals sign up to LinkedIn and then do nothing on the platform, which is pretty much the same thing.
Used well, LinkedIn can help you expand existing networks.
But before you reach you, you need to establish a polished, professional brand on the platform. By building your profile and reputation, you show that with respect to your product, service or just plain self, you walk your talk.
The LinkedIn publishing platform is a great opportunity to showcase what you think to a global audience of like-minded professionals. It’s great for thought leaders because it provides visibility and the opportunity to engage with readers through comments.
Action: Go to ‘Home’ and click the pen icon. ‘Create a post’ will appear, follow the prompts. Publish an original piece or respond to a trending issue in your industry in real time. That demonstrates that you have your finger on the pulse and are a person with ideas worth listening to.
You may not be in a position to write original content because of work or time restrictions. But you can showcase your acumen by curating the best content from other people and sharing it on your network. People are overwhelmed with information and short on time. Solve these human problems by becoming a great curator. Become known as the go-to place for on-trend, quality information in your industry.
Action: Write a brief summary of an article and post it on your status update. Publish it to "Public" or "Public + Twitter" if you have an account, as this will amplify your message.
Be an active, not passive, reader by responding to articles publicly in the comments section.
Action: When you read something you like, let the person who shared it know, or alert someone you know who may be interested in it. Starting typing their name in comments and LinkedIn will offer a drop down box with their full name and profile link. When you click it, LinkedIn lets them know they’ve been mentioned. Again you can build relationships and, when the time is right, bring these into real life.
Get to know someone first in a group and later through other forums. You may need to shop around, as some groups are link-posting forums while others are a goldmine of information with interesting and engaged people.
Action: Hover on the "Interests" menu and the "Groups" option will drop down. Search for a group in your industry or that reflects your interests and have a look around or ask to join.
Now that you’ve created a solid professional presence that speaks for itself, you are in a position to reach out and grow your network.
Dionne Kasian-Lew is the CEO of The Social Executive®, a professional speaker and author of The Social Executive – how to master social media and why it’s good for business (Wiley). She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
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