With LinkedIn constantly improving the process of how you can reach your target prospects or land your dream jobs, I’ve updated this article considering the changes that have taken place since I first wrote it in 2013.
In the first part of this series I explained how you need to structure your LinkedIn profile so you achieve an ALL STAR level. If you haven’t yet done so I would recommend studying Leveraging LinkedIn as a precursor to engaging on LinkedIn.
In this second part of the Pain, Prescription and Pills Series, I will do a health check on to diagnose the shortcomings of engagement practices that cause pain for most users when engaging on LinkedIn.
Do you find yourself asking: I’ve set up my profile, but it’s all so overwhelming! How do I start engaging with our professionals and ongoing conversations?
This is a common pain experienced by most LinkedIn users and a question I get asked during each one of my workshops. Most people erroneously believe that getting the ball rolling on LinkedIn is hard work. Well, to me it’s not! By dedicating just 10 minutes a day, you will be well on your way to connecting and engaging purposefully in a manner that will position you as an expert in your niche!
In saying so my prescription works best if the previous dosage on Leveraging LinkedIn was absorbed into your system.
As I write this article, LinkedIn provides several opportunities to engage with your network, which I call “Virtual Handshakes”. I’ve listed these with brief descriptions in order of importance or simplicity of usage.
Most of us read and implement valuable information shared by others. However, when it comes to social media channels, where we consume a significant amount of content, we tend to conveniently forget acknowledging those who share information. I’ve noticed that most of us from the over thirty-five age group are guilty of not understanding the power of clicking the LIKE button and expressing our gratitude virtually. Gen Y users use this feature like a mantra and it is up to us to learn from them.
When you LIKE someone’s status update on LinkedIn you not only acknowledge their contribution but link your profile to that particular post. This increases the chances of someone from your contact’s network viewing your profile. The advantage is that you can connect and engage with those who are indirectly connected to you, enabling you to expand your network. Next time you see an interesting update or post from one of your contacts, I prescribe that you LIKE the update!
To me, simply sharing a post without any input, loses the value that you can bring to your network and is a missed opportunity to present your views in a way that your network also gets to know you and value your opinion. Over time they will get to know your value proposition and help to understand your strengths and appreciate the value you add to your network. This is very powerful as it helps people to start engaging with you as a subject expert and most importantly encourages them to refer you to others.
You can also share an article or blog post found either via LinkedIn news channels or on the web if the site owner allows it to be shared on social media.
My prescription is to use endorsements to acknowledge your contact’s skills set. If you have a first and professional experience with someone in your network, then ensure you engage and endorse their appropriate skill set.
A word of caution about endorsements. You may have noticed people claiming skills which are not reflected in their profile. This is a huge mistake. You should never endorse someone for a skill you are not sure they possess. By doing so you jeopardize your personal integrity and your network will lose confidence in you. So be careful who you endorse, and for what skills. Your LinkedIn reputation depends on it.
Similarly, ensure that you add skills that you actually possess! If used correctly, LinkedIn will highlight your skills from strongest to weakest in the order of the number of endorsements you have. The rest is history in terms of your reputation online – If you want to build your reputation on LinkedIn this is a must and your network will define this over a period of time based on the actions you take!
If you haven’t done that up till now, start from today!
This will allow you to expand your reach to others who are not in your network (particularly if you get involved in making comments in a special interest group that you are a members of) and you will find yourself connecting to these people too.
I cannot begin to count the times I’ve used this feature, resulting in my sending out an invitation to connect or receiving one. Comments has helped me find business leads as well as connections with role models who have helped expand my knowledge base.
When this feature was first introduced by LinkedIn it was left largely underutilised. However, now more and more professionals on this network are realising its importance and using it to acknowledge individuals or company pages in a much similar to way as done on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
Currently this function works when you create posts on your profile as you enter @ followed by the individual’s or company’s name. I’m sure LinkedIn will expand this to other areas over a period of time.
You need to be cautious of mentioning the correct person or company before posting your comment. I’ve often found that the automatic finder (as you type the letters) does not work well due to the internet speed of your device at the time.
Given a vast majority of my professional contacts are on LinkedIn, I use LinkedIn mail for all my non-commercial communications.
LinkedIn mail is a blessing for me in more than one way:
1. It allows me to communicate with the people I have on my network (i.e. permission based) and often if they are not on LinkedIn, it gives me a reminder to invite them and keep in touch afterwards.
2. Keeps me away from my company mail inbox, enabling me to communicate with a greater degree of focus.
3. With the awesome LinkedIn contacts function, I can keep a history of my profile and strengthen my one on one relationship in an organised manner.
This is one of my favourite features on LinkedIn and I use it regularly to:
a) Get recommendations on completed projects and;
b) Give recommendations to people who have added value to me on particular project or delivery so that it creates mutual appreciation moving forward.
Most importantly, the recommendation section has helped build credibility and reputation that I have worked hard to achieve over my career span.
Here is my prescription to get recommendations:
1. Ensure that you ask for a recommendation within 2-3 days of completing a project. This allows the recommendation to be specific since the details of the project and your contributions are fresh in the mind of the person giving you the recommendation.
2. Whenever you enlist a service provider services do not forget to give a recommendation for that person provided you are satisfied with their work. Further, you will be appreciated if you give a recommendation without being requested for one. This creates an even a stronger bond with the recipient and your gesture will be remembered for years.
Giving recommendations also creates a perception about you as a generous individual and a willingness to provide genuine appreciation for others. In addition, this will also create a link on the recipients profile providing you with a potential to receive connection requests from their network!
Strengthen your reputation by creating group posts to become a LinkedIn Influencer
As you become more experienced and comfortable with LinkedIn using the above prescribed engagement techniques, you can begin creating thought provoking group discussions.
As you continue to participate in these discussions eventually this tactic of generating leads will become a habit. Most importantly you will never have to make a cold call again to get results to fulfil your professional objectives…whether it is to get a new job, find sales leads, enhance your expert knowledge or find the right supplier or employee for your organisation.
Here are the pills that you need to swallow, to nurture your LinkedIn engagement:
Taking the first few steps is essential, because just like experiencing a ‘Paradigm Shift’, unless you first understand the benefits and start getting results, you will never be motivated to take action!
As you move forward towards becoming a more seasoned LinkedIn user, you might also want to leverage this network to keep a track of your Social Selling efforts and measure them on a daily basis using the newly introduced LinkedIn Social Selling Index.
Till then, keep at it for 10 minutes a day and do keep me posted on your progress. Nothing delights me more than to learn that my articles help you in building your online reputation. You can either connect with me in LinkedIn to let me know your feedback, or simply drop your thoughts in the comments section below.
Would you like a shortcut to success on LinkedIn? My FREE live LinkedIn Webinar is arranged to take you step-by-step on your journey to becoming a LinkedIn superstar! From setting up your profile to an all-star status to generating meaningful online leads, this webinar will reveal many quick tactics you can implement to get instant results.
SolomoIT is a digital marketing agency, based in Sydney, Australia, offering fully integrated social, local and mobile marketing solutions.
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