LinkedIn is a valuable tool for career networking. Maybe you’ve seen other people using it and wondered how they get so many genuine comments replying to them, or how they keep up to date and contribute to so many people’s posts. Or maybe you just want to know how to measure whether the time you use on LinkedIn is well spent.
Here are some no-nonsense tips on how to get the most out of LinkedIn.
Know why you use LinkedIn. Control your stream.
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn is designed to show you subject matter that interests you. But it gives you closer control over who you follow and what news you see.
Think of your LinkedIn network as a community of people you seek to influence. Maybe they need your product or service, or maybe they can help you with information and knowledge.
This might mean that you want as many people as possible. If you use LinkedIn to advertise flavored mineral water, then almost anyone might be a potential customer. But if you’re using LinkedIn the way most people do, you will be able to think up a profile for the kind of contacts you want.
If all your contacts are people in your industry, then all the conversations you see will be around the issues related to your industry. Most likely, these are issues you know something about. You’ll be more able to engage in conversations and that will draw more attention to your page.
Follow hashtags related to why you use LinkedIn.
Hashtags aren’t just something you stick at the end of your posts. You can use them from the other end to control what content you see.
Check the hashtags you’re following on the left side of your home page. Click “see all” and delete the ones that aren’t relevant. Add others from the search bar at the top of the screen.
Even if something looks interesting, ask yourself: is this relevant to why I’m on LinkedIn? If you’re on LinkedIn to market some of your skills, follow (and talk about) hashtags related to those skills. Potential clients will look at those hashtags and will see you talking about it. If you’re on LinkedIn to break into an industry, use only hashtags related to that.
There usually aren’t too many people who consistently post about a given topic. If you’re regularly sharing articles and making meaningful comments about your industry, you can get noticed. You will look to anyone following LinkedIn like you’re one of “those people” who knows a lot about your industry.
Increase your social selling index.
The social selling index is how LinkedIn’s algorithm scores your rank. If you are using LinkedIn for self-promotion or for networking, you should track how you’re doing and optimize your habits.
You can view your SSI score at https://www.linkedin.com/sales/ssi. The higher your score, the more attention their algorithm drives to your page. Some of these ways to increase it are suggested by LinkedIn; others are from me (Paul).
- Fill out your profile. LinkedIn is all about networking, but it’s still a community. Let people know who you are so they can see the value in getting to know you.
- Cultivate relationships by connecting mostly with people in the industry or subject matter that interests you.
- Post regularly. Share information that your community will find valuable. Read ongoing discussions, and comment when you have more to add.
- Find the right people. Keep your content limited to your area of expertise and you will attract followers and engagement.
- Buy a Premium service only if you are spending the time to actually use the added services. Usually you will not.
- Be consistent. Never give up.
Make connection requests that get accepted.
Connect only with people you’ve already met. This can mean you met them in person or that you’ve been sharing each other’s posts and articles. Cold outreach does sometimes work, but most people should keep it to a minimum.
Always send a personalized request, even if you already know the person well. Tell them who you are, why you want to connect, and some common ground from their interests or recent posts. Everyone wants to see that you have thought about them and aren’t just trying to get your numbers up. If you’re following the advice here, you aren’t! You are requesting the connection because you like something about what they post— tell them that.
When you get a connection request, don’t automatically accept. Ask yourself where the value to you is. If they don’t talk about the same kinds of things you do, accepting the connection would just distract from your curated LinkedIn network. Don’t feel bad about declining the invitation. If they didn’t send a personalized note, you don’t know whether they’d contribute or distract and you should probably decline.
Remember, you are on LinkedIn for a reason. You want to connect with people who fit with that reason, and only those people. Others on LinkedIn are doing the same. Connect with people where you’re both in each other’s spheres.