Recently, I was asked by a friend new to LinkedIn how to make the best use of it for business development. My response went something like this:
Individual Profile – That's the base of operations for any social network, but it's particularly important where LinkedIn is concerned. It's vital, therefore, that you fully complete the profile, something LI helps you do via the profile progress bar. LI's search feature enables you to find prospects with whom you can connect.
Recommendations – Part of the profile includes getting recommendations from co-workers, vendors, clients, etc. The more the merrier so far as I'm concerned.
Groups - There are now over 300,000 groups on LinkedIn where professionals are discussing, sharing news and collaborating with each other. This is a great way to network with prospective clients and colleagues. LI just announced an additional feature, sub-groups, which they define as being akin to "breakout sessions at a conference."
LinkedIn Answers – This feature gives you the opportunity to prove your worth as a knowledgeable resource. Respond to questions that fit your area of expertise.
- Drop all of the bogus I'm pimping me and my company bologna.
- Be yourself. Honest, sincere, authentic (assuming that's you) But, whoever you are you will likely attract individuals like yourself to your network.
- It's cliche, but “seek first to understand,then be understood.” I always (when seeking to expand my network and connect with people) learn about them from their profile, and ask how I can help them. I've found that when I continually ask others how I can help with recommendations, referrals and/or introductions, they usually want to reciprocate.