With over 155 million members, LinkedIn is the most popular social networking site for professionals. Its design is different than the better known Facebook and Twitter, though, leaving many people not really knowing how to network on LinkedIn. Here are some LinkedIn tips for networking effectively in your niche.
#1 – Optimize Your Profile Using Keywords
If you’re just learning how to network on LinkedIn, the best place to start is at the very beginning, aka, building your profile. I’m assuming you’ve already completed your profile so that it’s 100% complete. Just in case, here's an article with LinkedIn tips for profile creation.
Now it’s time to go back and optimize it using keywords related to your niche.
Think about each section – title, current position, summary and experience. To network on LinkedIn well, you need to use keywords that reflect the many ways people search for your particular skills or experience.
You can’t just stuff the keywords in, though. A poorly written description will put off many potential connections. Each section of your profile must be well written, concise, and engaging. Just like a resume, yours has to stand out. Quality of writing paired with wise keyword use is how to network on LinkedIn most effectively.
#2 – Use LinkedIn Groups to Find Others in Your Niche
The best way to start networking on LinkedIn is to search Groups using keywords in your niche or in the niche of your ideal customer and to join. Take some time to learn the dynamics of groups by participating as a member. Then take your experience to the next level and consider starting a group yourself to position yourself as an influencer in your niche.
Taking this even further, here’s how to network on LinkedIn for advanced users. Read the profiles of your best customers. Look at what keywords they have in common – and search those keywords to expand your list of connections. Chances are you just might find some great customers!
#3 – How to Network on LinkedIn by Answering Questions [UPDATE: LinkedIn Answers was discontinued on January 31, 2013]
More LinkedIn tips on how to network on LinkedIn involve answering questions. In the menu bar across the top, under the menu for “more” is a link to “Answers.”
In this section of LinkedIn, members can post a professional question to the LinkedIn community. You can click on a topic and if you see a question that you can answer or you know someone who can, jump in! For starters, it’s just good business to provide value In addition, the more useful answers you provide, the more expertise credit you’ll receive. Answer enough questions well, and you’ll find your answer featured as the expert answer on any given question.
For many people, knowing how to network on LinkedIn takes more time than on other social networks. Mastering it can be the beginning to making the business professionals’ platform of choice work for you!
So, how about you?
How are you currently networking on LinkedIn? What's been most successful for you?
I would love to hear from you, so leave a message below or drop by my LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/edmundslee.