Many people fail to fully exploit the potential it offers, so here are my five top tips to get you started:
1. Make an Impression
Signing up for LinkedIn can be quite a daunting process, as you are suddenly required to enter a great deal of information concerning all aspects of your life.
The temptation is to upload your CV, and leave it at that.
Your profile needs to engage clients and hold their attention. Think carefully about the content you upload, and keep it interesting. You need to stand out from the crowd.
Make a conscious effort to focus the content on your profile towards the clients you want to attract. Think about the things they'll want to know, and make it clear you have the tools and experience to solve their problems.
Make sure clients know who you work with, and are easily able to see the value you can offer them.
2. Make Connections
It's no good having a profile if you don't make any connections. Get busy searching for people you know and add them. Don't rush into it though…
3. You Need to Think about Your Connections
Invest some time in deciding whether you want to use open networking or trusted partner networking.
A valuable network is one that is versatile and convertible. For example, one that lets you find a contact to provide you with extra work, or a helping hand when you need it most.
Open networking is a less discerning way to network, and involves making connections with potentially thousands of individuals you may not know.
This strategy gives you a wide talent pool of contacts to choose from, but they are often distant, and it can be difficult to establish meaningful connections with them.
A trusted partner strategy is where you focus on people you know. This will limit the versatility of your network, but the individuals may be more valuable. You will not make new connections this way, however.
There is, of course, a middle ground between these two extremes, and I normally recommend pursing this strategy.
4. The Search Function is Your Friend
LinkedIn can be a great way to meet new individuals or clients who can help you push your business to the next level.
Searching directly for people who will be useful to you allows you to discover whether anyone who know is already connected to them. You'll be surprised by how often your network overlaps with those you want to be a part of.
You can then often seek a personal introduction with the individual you've searched for, using your shared connection as a link to initiate contact.
5. Giving Endorsements and Recommendations Will Encourage Others to Reciprocate
Endorsements and recommendations show clients and visitors to your profile that other people have valued your work. The best way to get them is simply to honestly endorse and recommend the individuals you've worked with in the past.
LinkedIn will notify them that they've been recommended, and ask if they want to return the favour. Most times, they will.
That's all for now. I'll be uploading five more tips to squeeze the most out of your LinkedIn profile soon, so don't forget to check back .