Expand Your Network—Techniques for Using LinkedIn

According to LinkedIn’s stats, 675 million people use LinkedIn across the globe. That’s a lot of people, making it even more popular than Twitter. Although some may find the site to be less exciting than other social media, it’s a valuable tool for your brand and career. The platform allows you connect with everyone from colleagues to competitors, customers to future employers. If you’re not using it to grow your network, you should be!

First, let’s talk about your profile. Whether you have a personal profile or business profile on LinkedIn, you’ll want to customize the profile URL. Think of this as your virtual business card, and instead of giving someone a link with letters and numbers they’ll instantly forget or ignore, give them a link that pops with your name in it. Make sure your profile and background photos are professional and true to life, but not boring⏤show some life, both on your personal and business page. And make sure your page is public so people can actually find you, of course.

Similar to other platforms like Facebook, you’ll see a social feed on LinkedIn when you sign in. This is a great place where you can engage with your network. You can react to posts from your connections by clicking the icons at the bottom of each post. It’s a good idea to post your own content here, whether it’s a status update, your business link, a LinkedIn blog post, a video or picture, etc. You can also tag your connections or businesses you follow in your posts by adding the @ symbol. Remember, this is all in the name of promoting yourself and your brand, business, or expertise, so share engaging content that proves you’re valuable. You can even post targeted status updates to attract a certain demographic of people who you don’t know yet.

One of the great things about LinkedIn is the Endorsement feature. In my opinion, not enough people use this. You can recognize a connection for their skill at something, which then appears as an endorsement on their profile. Maybe it’s a coworker who really excels at a certain program or an old friend who has great expertise in an industry. This helps solidify them on LinkedIn as knowledgeable professionals, which of course is enticing to employers, businesses, and prospective clients.

If you’re an employer, LinkedIn must be on your list of platforms to use when searching for new talent. You can add and market new positions at your company on the LinkedIn Jobs page, which is easy to use for job searchers. A big plus: allow users to apply to the job directly on LinkedIn—it makes the user feel like it’s not such a mountain to climb. (This, of course, depends on the structure of your business and your hiring procedures.) In the Jobs section of LinkedIn, users can search by keywords that are important to them, so make sure your job listings are descriptive and don’t leave anything out.

You also have access to page analytics on your LinkedIn account. This private data will help you figure out what content you’re posting is most engaging and increasing your reach and what might not be attractive enough. This data also includes stats and demographics about your followers, which is key for a business as it grows a network of supporters. Happy Linking!

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