How to Become an Effective Networker on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is usually viewed as a global network, best suited for businesses that operate across many countries,but it is an effective marketing tool for local businesses too. According to 2019 figures of LinkedIn, its user base includes more than three-fourth of the UK’s working population. It also added 163K monthly registrations from UK alone i.e. growing by 8.3% over the last year. Furthermore, in terms of the most active users, the UK also claims the 3rd spot among 44 European countries. Hence, LinkedIn can be very useful if you network with the right people.

After all, networking is the first step to lead generation, marketing and building relationships. It is a single window for you to connect with potential clients, possible colleagues, existing customers, industry peers, experts, service providers, recruiters, and/or influencers.

There are two ways to expand your network:

1.      Reaching out to other users via Connection requests, referrals from mutual connections and comments on their content.

2.      Optimising your Profile and other LinkedIn Pages (your Company Page). This helps generate inbound traffic of visitors from the target audience.

It is prudent to work on the inbound and outbound methods together. The following tips can help.

Optimise your Pages-

Apart from known contacts, other users will network with you if they find merit in your profile and company pages. It is understandable that an optimised profile may take time but you can create an all-star profile on the first day. Make it a point to fill out all the sections of your Profile from the outset. It is like filling a form with easy-to-follow prompts. You could take a few cues from the profiles of your peers without imitating their content.

Your LinkedIn About Section is the section near the top of your profile where you can highlight your personal brand – what you do well and how you profile viewers can benefit from connecting with you and engaging your services.

Make it about them!!

Although summaries can be up to 2,000 characters, you should keep this section easy to read and broken into short paragraphs – I recommend using Fancy Text Generator to format

Once your profile looks complete, you can search engine optimise it (yes, we’re getting techie!) with the relevant keywords. You can use free resources such as keyword and hashtag generators to make a list of SEO friendly keywords and popular hashtags. Then, create an attractive headline which highlights your Profession, Uniqueness and Expertise. Next, upload high resolution media for your profile picture, banner image, and Video Introduction. While your profile picture makes it easier for visitors to recognise you, a banner image may carry an important brand statement, an award ceremony or any marketing collateral that improves your credibility.

A Video introduction (“cover story”) is recent feature that has gained popularity quickly, making it a favoured feature for Search Engine Page Rankings (SERP) on LinkedIn. You could further improve your SERP, by using keywords to rename the uploaded image and video files. Finally, you could add your official website to your contact details, and populate your Media section with rich media content i.e. presentations, videos, documents etc. For more info regarding profile optimisation, do contact me here.

If you are an individual service provider, do add a Services Page to your profile, else you can create a Company Page Showcase page for your key projects. Like your profile, your Company page also requires High-Resolution images. Additionally, you can follow a similar process to add keywords and optimise all your other LinkedIn Pages.

Search, Follow, Connect and Engage:

 When you join LinkedIn, it is possible that most of your existing business contacts are already using LinkedIn. You could search for them manually or you could import your contact list from the registered email, added to your profile.

If you have missed out on importing them at the time of profile creation, you could go to the My Network page, tap on connections, and select More Options. Thereafter, you could click on the import option, or the link to “invite people to connect by email”. Once you press continue, you will get a list of contacts already present on LinkedIn. Send them an invite. After they accept your invitation, you may exchange recommendations and endorsements with them, and request them to submit reviews for your Company Page.

Your first objective should be to exceed 500+ connections.

You can use network suggestions on the My Network page to shortlist potential connections. Meanwhile, you must also list categories of people that you wish to connect with i.e. decision makers in your target audience, clients and colleagues, competitors, local journalists, and LinkedIn Influencers.

Then, go to the search bar, and look for them!

I would advise using the advanced search features to discover individuals with a specific expertise, location, designation, and/or role.  When you visit their profile, study the contents, activities, groups, and list of mutual connections.

Click on their More Icon (…), and send a personalised invitation. In other cases, you may comment on their posts or comments, join a common group or event or seek a referral from a mutual connection. Membership of a common group allows you participate in group specific content and send messages to people beyond your network.

Be Visible, Valuable and Useful:

Optimisation improves your visibility in searches but content, comments & shares improve your visibility on the home page of other users. If you publish your own content, you can host the best of it in your featured section and attract higher traffic to your profile.

  1. Go to the top right of the post and press on the “…”
  2. From the dropdown, choose “Add to Featured”

The LinkedIn algorithm prefers users who contribute exclusive content to the platform.

Full stop.

There is no substitute for posting your own thoughts and creations.

Publishing an article here will not only allow you to share your expertise with your connections but it can also result in more users finding you on the platform as articles rank in search engines such as Google. Use hashtags # in your post when you publish your article to attract the type of people you want to engage with and grow your professional network.

Think about the type of content you share. For example, studies show that social media posts that entertain are most likely (67%) to encourage users to like or comment, followed by posts that inspire, posts that teach, and posts that tell a story. Ensure you are using a mix of content to reach your target audience.

This includes articles, posts, native videos, carousel posts and 24 hour video links called LinkedIn Stories. The articles work best with keywords, and the rest can be uploaded with hashtag suggestions and nametags i.e. a prefix of @ to a name within your network that creates a tag to their profile and notifies them of the same. If the content is valuable and useful to your audience, it will result in engagement i.e. likes, comments and shares by them. The key is to provide useful information without blunt self-promotion. If your connections do not mind nametags, you could also tag them on third party content that maybe of interest to them.

NB. If more than half the people you tag don’t respond, Linkedin will penalise your post’s reach

Here are four summary tips to network on LinkedIn:

  1. Connect with people you know on LinkedIn.
  2. Reconnect with contacts you’ve lost touch with.
  3. Share your insights and stories by posting.
  4. Ask your network for help.

If you would like to learn more about using this platform more effectively to increase your visibility and generate new business, join the next LinkedIn Accelerator, starting September 20th 2021

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