Establishing yourself as an expert using LinkedIn is a great way to build your business, whether you work for yourself or you are a CEO of a business. The trick is using it correctly, consistently and creatively.
* Build a Standout Profile – LinkedIn is created in such a manner that your profile looks a little bit like a very fancy resume. It’s important to use the space available in order to give those who visit your profile a good look at who you are as a business person. Remember to make the profile for the job you want, not the job you have. Include links, samples and recommendations of each task or position that you can fill.
* Publish Original Articles – Whether you publish right on LinkedIn, or you publish on your blog and link to them via your status, it’s important to publish articles that show your expertise and establish your knowledge on a topic.
* Engage in Discussions – In groups, people have a lot of discussions. Join in them and show people what you know by discussing information intelligently. Let your personality and expertise shine through in all your answers and questions.
* Contribute Constructively – It’s imperative that your contributions on LinkedIn are professional and constructive. Don’t share anything which does not relate to your business, such as information about your cat or your kids. Make sure everything you share or do has a goal or purpose.
* Connect Strategically – While it’s tempting to connect with everyone, don’t do it. Connect with people that you feel that either you can help, or who can help you. There is no reason to connect with people just for the sake of being connected to a lot of people.
* Resist Making the “Big Sale” – Do not send InMail upon connection, trying to sell anyone anything. Take the time to get to know people before you try to sell anyone anything. People do not like being “sold” to.
* Build Real Relationships – The most important aspect of a social network is to build relationships, and that includes a professional social network. Only after real relationships are built can connections that push your career forward happen.
* Share Status Updates Purposefully – When you have something to share with your connections on LinkedIn, ensure that they have a reason and a purpose. As mentioned previously, sharing about your cat makes no sense unless you sell or promote cat-related merchandise.
* Recommend Others – When given the opportunity, and knowledge, offer recommendations for others without being asked. If someone did a good job for you in the past, connect with them and recommend them.
* Get Recommendations – Ask people you’ve worked with and for to give you recommendations by sending a personalized message to them through LinkedIn. Remind them what you did for them, and ask politely for the recommendation by providing a link.
* Join LinkedIn Groups – LinkedIn groups are excellent places to demonstrate your expertise. Get involved in an active group that consists of your audience for the best bang. But you can also get involved in groups with colleagues to make business connections that can really pay off.
* Create Your Own LinkedIn Group – A really great way to establish expertise is to create a group that would attract your target audience. By starting a group, and keeping it active with ongoing discussions, job boards and more, you will become a standout on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a well-respected social network for business people who are serious about making things happen. Building your reputation as an expert on LinkedIn may take some time and effort. However, it will be more than worth it.