Making the most out of LinkedIn (Part II: Build Your Network)
After you have done up your professional profile, you will experience an increase in traffic to your page. Have a look at the analytics to get an understanding of how often you appear in search results and how many of these appearances convert into a profile view. Having a strong profile is a great start but unless you also have a good network, very few people will actually be able to find you on LinkedIn.
First, second or third degree connections
There are well over 200 million users on the world's largest professional social network but unlike Twitter, your visibility is limited by the people you are connected with up to three degrees away. This means you can only actually see other users who are connections of your connections' connections if that makes sense. Compare it to friends of friends of friends on Facebook. The flipside is they are only able to see you when you are connected in the same way. If you have no link, you might just lose out of an interesting opportunity simply because you weren't visible.
Start with the low-hanging fruit
You will want to start with mirroring your offline network on LinkedIn. By that I mean the people around you such as colleagues, customers, suppliers and even friends and family. You can be fairly sure these people will accept you in to their network straight away. And remember that you are connecting not only to these individuals, but their networks as well. You may think somebody can't help with your career but it's all about who they happen to know that might come in use.
Make connecting a part of your business day
Whenever you speak to new people or even before having a meeting with someone, connect up so that they can get a clear picture of who you are and you can benefit from exposure to their network. It's not uncommon for sales people to connect with 10-20 new people per week. By adding new connections, they don't expect to close any deals today but it's great for pipelining opportunities of all kinds, including your own career options.
A great shortcut to expanding your network exponentially is joining LinkedIn groups. There are over 1.7 million groups out there, some of them have over a million members. When you join a group you are able to find all the group members in searches (and vice versa of course) and you can also send them messages via the group without actually being connected.
When looking at groups to join, I would suggest finding out which ones your colleagues are in already and also do a keyword search in the groups directory on LinkedIn. By tapping in the word banking for instance you'll get a list of the largest groups relevant to banking. By clicking on the actual group you can get a feel for how useful it is and if you scroll down the right sidebar you can also access group demographics. Review these before you decide to join a group as you may only be interested in commodities trading in the City of London and therefore you should avoid any groups focused around Wall Street for instance.
If you connect with more people around you and join the right groups, I can guarantee that you will see another increase in your profile traffic numbers.
Jorgen Sundberg is the founder of Link Humans, a social media marketing agency in London. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter @jorgensundberg and LinkedIn.
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