Networking is a necessity when it comes to business, career prospects, and job hunting – and one of the best networking tools available in 2021 is Linkedin.
LinkedIn was launched back in 2003 and has become one of the most-used networking platforms and social networks in the world.
One of the reasons that it’s so popular is that it gives you the chance to connect with anybody including CEO’s, directors, and entrepreneurs.
Keep reading to find out how you can use LinkedIn to improve your online networking efforts, including how to build your profile and make connections.
What Is Networking?
When you think of networking, you might imagine coffee meetings and business cards – however, this isn’t the case.
Networking can be done anywhere, both online and in person. It can be as formal as a conference room, or as informal as a coffee shop or Twitter.
At its core, networking is about building professional relationships with people. This is done for various reasons – to improve credibility, to help people or be helped, to share information, to learn new skills, and many more.
Aside from Linkedin, some other Networking platforms include Facebook, Quora, Slack, Clubhouse, and Meetup.
A strong and inclusive network can be vital to your success as a professional – it can help you learn more about people, trends, and the industry you’re in.
A good network can also give you information about any competitors, help you identify any weaknesses, and push you to work on your strengths.
Now you know the basics of networking, keep reading to learn more about how you can use LinkedIn to improve your online networking.
Set Up Your LinkedIn Profile
First impressions are everything – and if your LinkedIn profile is bad, then chances are, you’re making a poor first impression.
Your profile is where other people on LinkedIn can see information about you – your industry, your profile picture, your job title, your bio can all impact first impressions if it’s worded poorly or if it isn’t filled in at all.
LinkedIn will guide you to fill out each section to make sure that you’re not missing anything important.
Choose Your Profile Picture Wisely
Aside from your full name, your profile picture is the first thing people see before clicking your profile and connecting with you.
Never leave your profile picture blank – when you’re networking online, it’s important to show yourself to add personality to a profile.
Many people on LinkedIn use professional headshots, but you don’t have to do so. Try to make your profile picture seem as professional as possible – no beers or tongues out!
When choosing your LinkedIn picture, opt for a photo with a clear background, as a messy background can divert the attention away from you.
Also be mindful about what you’re wearing on the picture – avoid any offensive slogans or inappropriate outfits, and opt for a simple top or blazer.
Write Down Your Experience
Whether you’re using LinkedIn to hunt for jobs or you’re just looking to build connections, it’s important to include what experience you have in your industry.
Unlike your CV, LinkedIn encourages you to only include experience that’s relevant to your career, industry, or niche. Instead of long paragraphs, it’s best to add a few bullet points to summarize your experience.
As well as including your experience in your bio, you’re also prompted to include your experience as you’re creating the profile – the place you work, and the dates you worked there.
You can also include any achievements from your career history that you’re proud of.
You’re certain to attract more connections with a complete and professional-looking profile. Once your profile is complete, it’s time to make some connections.
One of the best parts of Linkedin is being able to connect with people from any niche, industry, age bracket, and area – and chances are, they’ll connect back!
Although there are almost 700 million LinkedIn users to connect with, don’t make the mistake of blindly following anybody.
Check their profile out before making a connection, so make sure that the connection will be valuable, and won’t clog up your news feed.
A solid LinkedIn user will have a couple of hundred connections, and as long as you’re connecting with relevant people, the more connections the better.
Many LinkedIn users choose to send a message when they request to connect with somebody – the person will be more likely to accept the request if they have a bit of information on who you are, what you do, and why you want to connect with them.
This will make the connection request seem more genuine, and not as though you were on a mindless following spree.
Once you’ve made some connections, be sure to maintain the relationships by liking their posts, sharing their content, and replying to any messages you receive.
Post On A Regular Basis
One of the most common mistakes LinkedIn users make is not posting enough or not posting at all.
Liking, commenting on, and sharing other peoples content can be great, but it’s also beneficial to post your own content – even if it’s just an update on your day at work.
Try to post at least once a week – most people post either once a day or a couple of times per week. The best days for optimal engagement on your posts tend to be in the middle of the week Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Don’t be mistaken in thinking that LinkedIn is only for bloggers or content writers – anybody can write engaging content on LinkedIn.
Be sure to use relevant hashtags in your content – but try not to use too many as it can be distracting from the content.
At the end of a post, it’s best to use a call to action. Anything along the lines of ‘let me know in the comments below’, or ‘what do you think?’ can encourage people to like and comment on your post, as well as share it.
Try not to make your content too ‘wordy’ – mix it up a bit by including pictures, videos, and polls. When you’re planning your post, be sure to have your audience in mind.
Who am I writing this for? Will they find it engaging? What does this offer them? How am I going to put my message across?