This is a guest blog post by Mark Lynch.
With only 30 connections and generic profile in January 2011, I looked at LinkedIn like most people; not really sure what to do with it. What is it? Where do I start? I was confused!
Fast forward to today any with 5,000+ first degree connections, I not only have found my passion of helping others on LinkedIn, I have developed solid business relationships with people all over the world.
I did this one step at a time and still learn new things every day. You can do the same by taking an approach of building your online presence in ‘chunks’ or steps one at a time at your own pace.
By taking just a little time every day or two, you will start to accumulate a larger network and start carving out your own niche of expertise! The flip side is if you are frustrated and overwhelmed, you most likely will do nothing. No activity = no results! So just start anywhere and it will pay off quicker than you think!
Here are 6 ways to gently and effectively start building a network and your uniqueness on LinkedIn. With 8,000 searches per minute, someone is looking for exactly what you do right now!
1. Connect- Grow your 1st degree connections by asking colleagues, getting business cards of folks you meet, through groups you belong to on LinkedIn and more. The goal is to grow your 2nd degree connection base as that is the number of people who can find you (and connect with you). Example: If you connect with 10 new people, your 2nd degree network will expand by the amount of connections each of the new 10 people have.
2. Be Active- The more you engage, the more you can get back. What I mean is if you build trust and credibility by sharing relevant content, engage in group discussions or post updates to your connections that isn’t too spammy or salesy, you will attract the exact audience you want. Secret! LinkedIn actually takes in to account ‘activity’ when ranking your profile for SEO purposes. 3-5 times per week is more than enough.
3. Call To Action- Use your summary as your call to action area. You have 2,000 characters of real estate to tell visitors what makes you (or business) unique. Please don’t forget to include a call to action! Tell them what to do next like “Connect with me” / “Visit our website” / Sign up for newsletter”, etc.
4. Portfolio- Think of your profile as a portfolio of your work and showcase what and how you can help others. Go to edit profile, and when you see a small box with a ‘+’ next to it, click that and it will allow you to upload any URL. This can include a website, a blog post, a YouTube video and more. Not only does it help you stand out, it also creates a colorful thumbnail to further enhance your profile from a visual perspective.
5. Add Work Samples- Under the new feature ‘Publications’ or ‘Projects’ you are able to add work samples. If you provided a seminar or speech for an organization, add your details into the Projects section. If you’ve posted an article to another website, include the link in the Publications section. Once again, it builds credibility and helps you set yourself apart from the crowd.
6. Why Are You On LinkedIn?- Understand and think about why you are on LinkedIn. What makes you unique? Once you can articulate that, be consistent in all the above examples. Use the same keywords that make sense for your brand or industry. The more specific you can get, the better. If you are stuck, visit competitor profiles for reference and keyword ideas. Claim your niche and own it!
What niche will you claim and become the sought after expert for?
About the Author:
Mark Lynch, owner of MDL Branding, LLC, is a solopreneur who assists individuals and executives to “Stand Out” from the competition by optimizing their online presence via LinkedIn. After suffering numerous layoffs, Mark decided to take back control of his career & “Stand Out” (January 2011). With only 30 connections, Mark committed to learn “LinkedIn” so he could be found, and also help others along the way. By growing his visibility and brand, Mark has had the opportunity to train with and interview some of the top LinkedIn experts in the world. Today with over 4,300 connections, he is in high demand to help others optimize their personal or company brands. To receive his LinkedIn Tips Newsletter, click the link: http://goo.gl/BUu2s