Rank up your B2B Networking with LinkedIn

Rank up your B2B Networking with LinkedIn

For B2B networking and professional career building LinkedIn is by far the most popular social network, heck, I would call it a corporate network. To fully utilize your LinkedIn profile, it may be time to throw abandon to the wind and truly become prolific. This is not a bad thing, it’s simply a matter of exposure, range and contacts. Gone are the days when sales, marketing and personal development were a question of how your handshake was or how you dressed. Your online image is one of the main parts of your portfolio and an HR manger can see if you are current with the trends and technology with one glance at your Linkedin page. In short, they can tell if you are a conscientious self-presenter. If you are a job hunter, are your skills relevant for the position you have applied for?

To cast the seeds for opportunities that could lead to future success, you cannot be timid.  People think well, “what if I post something wrong that people may view without reponse?” But the truth is, our network has all kinds of updates, influencers writing articles, and a host of activity so if your post isn’t succsessful, no big deal. Just less traffic for you.

1 - Don’t be Timid

A professional social network is about exposure, reach and who you know, don’t forget that. What makes you stand out? Do you host or create unusual content, is it helpful to a broad audience? Is your voice authentic and not just spam about the same narrow field? Do you actually interact with people in your network?

Don’t worry about pestering other business professionals or hesitate to contact people you haven’t spoken with in a while. LinkedIn says its Connected app can help you find appropriate moments to connect. Job changes, a mention in the news, work anniversaries and recent meetings are all opportune times to reach out, according to the company. Download the LinkedIn apps, this helps you to stay current with the changes in your network and the possible new contacts to reach out to.

2 - Be a Groupie

One of the least used features of LinkedIn are groups, you can join 50, so don’t just expect to meet people in your field of expertise organically only, you can be pro-active and create more brand recognition for you and your company if you interact with other experts in your field in groups.

LinkedIn encourages its members to use Groups to expand their networks by meeting other professionals in their industries, building reputations as thought leaders and finding solutions for specific challenges they face.

[Related News Analysis: An Inside Look at LinkedIn’s Unbundling Strategy]

“People who participate in conversations on Groups are five times more likely to get profile views from people outside their network — which could translate into more opportunities,” according to LinkedIn.

Better yet, innovate, what to network with Investment Adivsors in Toronto region? No problem, create a group called that an invite who you know, before you know it you will be able to debate with your peers on issues relevant to you and your geographical area. Groups are a great way to network geographically, gain expert insight into current trends in your field and know who is who in the industry.

3 - Take Notes

You would be surprised, but since human beings are adapted to nomadic groups of not more than 150 individuals (how we lived up to 5 thousand years ago), you might have to start taking notes as you network goes 500+. What does this mean practically? Take notes of who viewed your profile, be on the lookout for HR Managers and recruiters if you want mobility in your field. Vanity can be a valuable character trait on LinkedIn, know your network, study their company, assets, you never know if you work in sales or marketing when you might bump into them. It’s a small world! Study the people in your field, like you would study the technical details of your trade.

In particular, take notes to identify the actions that drive the most engagent. Did your blog post on a broader topic get more shares? Fine, then once in a while get more brand exposure by writing a post you know has more general appeal.

“Think about views to your profile as warm leads on potential hires, connections or even career opportunities,” LinkedIn says.

Of course, these relationships are two-way streets, and LinkedIn says you should keep your visibility settings open so other members can see when you view other profiles. “It’s a great way to get a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention, show a client you’re doing your homework before a big meeting or generate warm leads,” the company says.

4 - Think about Quality of your Network

“Think about building a quality network of professionals you know, respect and can vouch for you,” LinkedIn says. Encourage people you currently work with or have worked with in the past to vouch for you either through a recommendation or if they are more lazy, skill endoresments. A quality network in the end, are real people who genunely like you, recognize your unique merits, praise you, and can empower you to your career objectives.  The inner circle of your network are people that care where you end up, since LinkedIn in part, is an easy place for HR and Management to see if you have the skills, referrals and a certain level of trust of exerptise and credibility in your field.

Be generous with your recommendations, but also brand them in your language to reflect your unique mind-set. Think authenticity here. Perhaps they will reciproate, perhaps they will not. Think about Quality network in terms of your field. Are you an entry level general purpose IT guy? Well then maybe IT recruiters would be a good idea to give you mobility and the work experience you require to gain a solid foundation in IT.

The context of your LinkedIn profile, will be unique to where you are in your professional life-cycle and how you want to use your network. Qualty and context would have you believe you have to customize each introdution to a new member of your network, in reality, this simply just isn’t the case.

5) We are all Sales/Marketers in the Information Age

“Your professional identity isn’t just about what you’ve done,” according to LinkedIn. “It’s also how you think and what you know.” Did you just take a new course on Coursera? Well put it down here, it shows you are pro-active in self-learning. One of the best qualities to show a prospective employer is that you are motivated and self-autonomous.

LinkedIn’s self-publishing platform gives members a platform to share lessons learned or comment on industry trends. Are you creative and able to create novel content? LinkedIn demonstrates your writing skills and ability to “market yourself” and your brand. In this day and age, we all have to do our bit in marketing.

You’re not only encouraged to showcase your areas of expertise but to also take the time to craft an authentic voice. While your voice may not develop naturally overnight, it’s important to stay true to who you are and how you want to present yourself, according to LinkedIn. Read articles crafted by “influencers”, let yourself be influenced by popular speakers and writers. You may recognize some tips on copywrighting and how you would like to interact online.

“Publishing posts is a great way to showcase your professional knowledge, position yourself as a thought leader in your industry and even highlight some of the interesting things your company is doing,” LinkedIn says.

5) Have Integrity

Having integrity is important in the professional world. If you lie on LinkedIn, you can get easily caught since the internet is a more transparent place everyday. This is also true for information on your LinkedIn profile with details like your education and job history. Being an ethical person extends to all the ways in which you present yourself. Self-enhancment is good, for instance I have seen a lot of people with “creative” job titles that boost their social status for higher income gains in future positions. But I have to ask myself, is it ethical? Don’t want to show that you were inbetween jobs for a few months, it’s common practice to keep your old position on your online profile. But is it ethical? These are important questions for all of us online, since we want to put our best foot forwards and being sincere and trust-worthy is a key part of that. Please do comment about this, if you have insights into this point.

6) Profile Picture

Having a profesional photo that is recent is a huge plus, points for that for sure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed even high ranked professionals with outdated, missing or inappropraite photos. What does this do? This hurts your crediblity and authenticity, the basic first impression of your profile. We all want to be respected and recognized in our field, so keep our profile picture ideal. Just think about it, you have an important meeting with a client who has seen your picture on LinkedIn that is 10 years old (sure a more attractive younger version of you!), then you meet in person, what do you suppose is the take-home message this has about you?

Remember that this is a preofessional world, still have that goofy 20-something profile picture you photoshopped as your profile? Yeah right, have a high quality and recent photo of yourself that is appropriate to your position will be the safest bet.

7) Sync with Apps

LinkedIn has applications which you can add to your profile to enhance your profile in different ways. For instance if your profession is a full-time blogger, than you might want to add the WordPress app to your profile which lets you sync blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. I do this myself, my blogs go to wordpress, twitter, etc…It’s useful if you think your network may find use for the content you create.

If you make or edit great videos and want to show it off on your profile, you could use the SlideShare or Box.net app that enables you to embed videos in your profile. Useful no doubt, worth a try if you create content in your niche.

8) Be open to Vice

What do I mean by this? Dont’ be afraid to be selfish on LinkedIn and makes choices that promote yourself, your abilities and your brand. Remember, you are competing with other posts for the attention and exposure in your network. Dare to be a bit different sometimes.

Don’t Spam: When you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, it can annoy your contacts if they’re alerted to every little change. When you’re in edit mode, head to your privacy controls. Turn off activity broadcasts and change the setting for  “select who can see your activity feed” to “only you.”

Fraternalize Aggressively: Join groups that will let you connect with people who are in your target audience but are not contacts. Being part of the group gives you permission to reach out to them and invite them to join your network. You don’t need to upgrade to Premium to do so.

Be redundant. Know the top five strengths for which you want to be recognized and use them in your profile – repeatedly. If your top skill is project management, describe your project management proficiency in your summary as well as in multiple experience descriptions. This will help the right audience find you.

Be ungrateful. Ask your contacts to endorse you for only your top skills. Having the highest number of endorsements for your signature strengths will influence those who are looking at your profile. Have the courage to delete or reject the endorsements that aren’t central to how you want to be known.

Be a perfectionist. Don’t follow the LinkedIn formula of creating one experience entry for each job title you have held. Take the space you need to communicate your accomplishments by creating multiple entries for every role you have performed within each job title. It’s OK to have overlapping dates.

Be curious. Don’t limit the number of groups you join. Join groups related to your area of expertise, industry, alumni, passions, social causes, and other aspects of your identity. This gives you access to more people who matter to your brand. Plus, when others look at your profile, they can learn about your brand by looking at your groups. Always select groups that are highly active and have a lot of members.

Be promiscuous & open. Ignore LinkedIn’s advice to only accept connection requests from people you know. That helps sell Premium, but it doesn’t help you get found. LinkedIn’s search algorithm favors those who are in your network. That means when people are looking for what you have to offer, the results of their searches are displayed with 1st level connections first, then 2nd level connections and so on.

Repeat keywords. Know the character limit for each section and use every character. This gives you the opportunity to repeat keywords that are critical to being found. You can find the character limits here.

Be opinionated & heard. Integrate your point of view (POV) into your summary and experience where appropriate. Join groups where you can share your POV as it relates to your area of expertise. It’s a great way to distinguish yourself from competitors. Be like a Millenial.

Be a maverick.  Reorder the content in your profile (yes, LinkedIn made this possible). This enables you to lead with what’s important and choose which strengths to focus on. Bonus: it will make your profile stand out from the crowd of others who do what you do.

Be finicky. Don’t feel you need to include every detail of every job you have had – especially if the details dilute your brand message. You can omit the jobs you had early in your career if they don’t offer insights into how you deliver value today. Or group those older listings under one heading, such as “Apprenticeships” or “My Training Ground.”

Be a salesperson. Direct people to your LinkedIn profile with a QR code on your business card. The next time you’re at a networking function, the people you meet can scan your QR code and instantly read your profile and connect with you.

Be a tidy customer. If you want to reach out to someone and you can’t reach them any other way, sign up for Premium by the month. Then, do all the outreach you need to do to connect with those super-exclusive contacts. Mission accomplished? Cancel your Premium subscription.

Be a brander/rebrander. Repurpose the great content in your LinkedIn profile for other social media sites. You’ll increase your digital footprint while ensuring consistency. VisualizeMe.com, Vizify.com, Re.vu, and ResumUp.com are a few services to check out.

Be a poser. Make sure your headshot is high quality, with good lighting and ultra-sharp focus. LinkedIn is not the place to run a casual snapshot. Also, make sure that you’re either facing forward or turned toward your left shoulder, in the direction of your content. If you’re looking to your right, gazing off the screen, this sends a subtle message that you don’t believe the content of your own page.

Be prolific. Get at least 500 connections. In addition to widening your target audience, the magic 500+ in your profile has a psychological impact on those who view your profile.

Be ready. Don’t reach out to contacts until you are thrilled with your profile. When you reach out the others, they will likely view your profile before deciding if they want to connect with you.

Finally you may find this FREE Ebook helpful. Don’t hesitatete to share this article if you found it helpful. I’d like to hear your comments on the topic as well?

3 thoughts on “Rank up your B2B Networking with LinkedIn

  1. Got 500 connections can help? That’s great. I’ve got to tell my friend. Even though my friend wrote freelance, she create another pdf document listing her projects. Because she does not want to confuse others.


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