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How to make the most of LinkedIn

A guide for getting the most out of LinkedIn

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How to make the most of LinkedIn

  1. 1.     1     HOW  TO  MAKE  THE  MOST  OF  LinkedIn       Introduction     The  primary  role  of  LinkedIn  has  shifted  in  the  past  few  years  from  a  recruitment  site   –  that  you  would  visit  only  very  occasionally  -­‐  to  a  means  of  building  and  sustaining  a   contact  network,  sharing  useful  and  relevant  information  and  demonstrating   expertise  and  thought  leadership.     This  shift  has  made  LinkedIn  far  more  useful  and  relevant  to  the  majority  of  business   users  and  not  surprisingly  has  resulted  in  a  significant  increase  in  the  number  of   people  using  the  site  on  a  regular  basis.    The  number  of  LinkedIn  users  active  for  at   least  two  hours  a  week  has  increased  from  48%  to  58%  in  the  past  year,  whilst  those   active  for  at  least  seven  hours  has  increased  from  11  to  18%.    The  number  of  people   with  at  least  500  LinkedIn  followers  has  also  increased  from  30%  to  41%  during  this   period1 ,  suggesting  that  people  are  investing  more  time  in  building  their  personal   networks.     This  growing  utility  of  LinkedIn  means  that  all  of  us  need  to  start  taking  the  site  more   seriously  and  invest  a  bit  more  time  in  ensuring  that  we  make  the  most  of  what  it   can  offer.      The  following  short  and  hopefully  practical  guide  has  been  put  together   by  Martin  Thomas,  Dissident  consultant  and  the  Institute  of  Directors’  Course  Leader   on  Digital  and  Social  media,  to  help  you  use  LinkedIn  more  effectively.       How  to  manage  your  personal  profile     In  a  sense  you  are  your  own  brand  manager  on  LinkedIn.    Even  the  most  amateurish   of  designers  will  find  the  ‘edit  profile’  settings  on  the  site  easy  to  navigate.     It  is  amazing  how  many  bad  photos  continue  to  populate  LinkedIn:  making  it  appear   like  the  world’s  dullest  dating  site.    It  is  worth  taking  the  time  to  choose  an   interesting  photo  that  ideally  says  something  about  your  style  and  personality,  albeit   in  an  appropriate  business  context:  so  you  would  be  well  advised  not  to  use  that   drunken  ‘selfie’  from  the  recent  conference.     I  am  not  suggesting  that  my  profile  photo  is  perfect,  but  as  you  can  see  from  the   picture  below,  I  have  attempted  to  use  an  image  that  captures  me  in  action  …  talking   as  per  usual.                                                                                                                     1  Forbes  Entrepreneurs  LinkedIn  study  (May  2014)    
  2. 2.     2         It  is  also  worth  spending  a  bit  of  time  creating  an  appropriate  background  for  your   profile  page.    As  you  can  see  from  the  above,  I  have  used  one  of  our  Dissident   company  images.      The  format  requires  a  somewhat  elongated  photograph,  so  you   might  find  that  some  of  your  preferred  images  don’t  look  right,  but  it  is  worth   persevering.     Here  is  another  example  of  a  background  produced  by  a  contact  of  mine  who  is  a   keen  music  fan,  hence  the  mixer  image:         You  will  notice  that  Matt’s  Professional  Headline  describes  what  he  does  –  ‘Helping   organisations  where  people,  content  and  technology  collide’  –  rather  than  simply   providing  a  job  description.    There  is  plenty  of  room  in  your  profile  to  talk  about  your   current  role,  so  why  don’t  you  use  the  Professional  Headline  to  grab  people’s   attention  and  say  something  interesting  about  yourself?        
  3. 3.     3   Tell  your  personal  story     LinkedIn  has  recently  produced  a  list  of  the  top  10  buzzwords  or  clichés  used  by   people  in  their  profile  pages.    You  may  be  ‘motivated’,  ‘passionate’  or  ‘creative’  but   unless  you  want  to  sound  like  everyone  else,  it  would  be  worth  finding  some  more   interesting  adjectives.           Manage  your  settings     There  are  times  when  you  may  want  to  be  anonymous,  perhaps  when  researching   potential  connections,  or  you  don’t  want  to  inform  all  of  your  followers  when   making  minor  changes  to  your  profile  or  simply  want  to  hide  your  personal   connections  from  other  users.    On  these  occasions,  a  simple  adjustment  to  your   LinkedIn  settings  can  change  what  other  people  see.     Apparently,  25%  of  LinkedIn  users  don’t  know  about  the  setting  that  allows  them  to   hide  their  connections2 :  make  sure  you  are  not  one  of  them,  especially  if  you  are  in   process  of  (discretely)  looking  for  a  new  job.                                                                                                                             2  Forbes  Entrepreneurs  LinkedIn  study  (May  2014)  
  4. 4.     4           Be  an  active  participant     As  is  the  case  with  all  social  media  platforms,  LinkedIn  rewards  active  participation.     The  more  you  share,  upload,  publish,  comment  and  like,  the  more  people  are  likely   to  see  your  profile  and  the  stronger  your  network  will  become.             LinkedIn’s  acquisition  of  Pulse  in  2013  has  helped  turn  the  site  into  a  publishing  and   news  platform.    This  has  led  to  a  significant  growth  in  the  number  of  people  using   LinkedIn  as  a  source  of  business  news  and  knowledge.     It  is  worth  spending  a  few  minutes  managing  your  news-­‐feed  to  maximize  your   chances  of  receiving  useful  news  and  information  –  from  people  and  companies   whose  opinions  matter  to  you.    In  simple  terms  this  means  following  companies  and   Influencers  (for  example,  Jack  Welch  has  over  four  million  followers)  –  you’ll  find   recommendations  on  LinkedIn’s  Pulse  tab  –  and  hiding  updates  from  connections   who  tend  to  fill  your  news-­‐feed  with  trivial  or  self-­‐serving  rubbish.    You  can  find  the   hide  function  by  scrolling  on  the  icon  showing  when  a  specific  news  update  was   posted  (see  below):     Click&on&your&photo&icon&to&access&se2ngs&
  5. 5.     5           Groups  remain  a  really  useful  part  of  the  LinkedIn  experience.    You  can  find  a   Group  for  every  conceivable  interest.    In  addition  to  providing  you  with  access  to   relevant  topics  and  the  ability  to  debate  and  share  suggestions  with  your  peers,  you   can  send  direct  messages  to  fellow  group  members  even  if  they  are  not  personal   connections.     In  recent  months,  LinkedIn  has  made  it  easier  for  people  to  post  their  own  blogs  on   the  site.      Because  your  posts  appear  automatically  in  the  news-­‐feeds  of  your   connections,  you  can  often  achieve  far  more  views,  likes  and  comments  for  your   LinkedIn  posts  than  you  can  typically  gain  by  posting  on  a  corporate  website.     By  clicking  on  the  ‘Your  recent  activity’  link,  you  will  get  a  simple  analysis  of  the   effectiveness  of  your  updates,  posts  and  comments  in  terms  of  views  and  likes.    This   is  particularly  useful  when  measuring  the  relative  performance  of  blog-­‐posts,  helping   you  identify  the  type  of  content  that  generates  the  best  response  from  your   audience.      
  6. 6.     6     Photographs  and  images  –  graphics,  cartoons,  infographics  –  work  particularly  well   on  LinkedIn.    Society  as  a  whole  is  becoming  more  visually  literate,  with  the  ability  to   spot  the  perfect  image  becoming  as  important,  if  not  more  so,  than  the  ability  to   write  a  great  piece  of  copy.         Be  an  active  networker     LinkedIn  is  clearly  the  world’s  most  potent  business  network,  with  over  350  million   users  worldwide.    Just  about  anyone  worth  talking  to  can  be  found  on  the  site  if  you   take  the  time  to  look:  I  have  come  across  businesses  claiming  to  generate  in  excess   of  £200,000  month  in  sales  leads,  purely  by  identifying  prospects  on  LinkedIn.     Networking  etiquette  is  a  personal  thing:  some  people  will  accept  every  invitation  to   connect,  even  from  complete  strangers,  whilst  others  have  an  in-­‐box  full  of   invitation  requests  from  people  they  don’t  know.       There  is  nothing  wrong  with  reaching-­‐out  to  people  you  don’t  know,  although  my   recommendation  is  to  avoid  generic  or  default  requests  and  instead  make  a  direct   pitch  to  the  recipient:  ‘the  reason  why  I  would  like  to  make  a  connection  with  you  is   (add  a  reason  or  describe  how  you  have  a  mutual  connection).’       The  Advanced  People  Search  function  is  very  useful  to  help  find  new  contacts,   especially  friends-­‐of-­‐friends.    The  ‘Six  degrees  of  separation’  rule  suggests  that  all  of   us  are  only  six  steps  removed  from  anyone  else  on  the  planet.    In  the  world  of   business  the  degrees  of  separation  are  far  fewer:  you  typically  find  that  someone   you  already  know  is  connected  to  the  person  you  want  to  reach.         Click&here&
  7. 7.     7   To  pay  or  not  to  pay?     LinkedIn  operates  a  ‘freemium’  commercial  model:  the  core  platform  is  free  to  use,   but  there  are  a  range  of  added-­‐value  services  that  you  can  pay  for.    The  jury  is  out   when  it  comes  to  deciding  whether  it  is  worth  paying  for  LinkedIn’s  Premium  offer.       Around  16%  of  LinkedIn  users  pay  for  an  upgraded  service.    It  does  offer  a  free  trial   so  the  best  way  to  decide  whether  it  is  worth  paying  around  £20  per  month  for  a   Premium  service  is  probably  give  it  a  go.       Analyse  and  learn     All  professional  users  of  social  media  channels  should  be  willing  to  analyse  the   effectiveness  of  their  activities  and  continuously  improve  their  performance.    In   simple  terms  this  self-­‐appraisal  will  help  them  do  more  of  what  works  and  less  of   what  doesn’t.    We  have  already  described  the  value  of  measuring  views,  likes  and   comments  generated  by  posts  or  updates.    The  other  key  diagnostic  favoured  by   LinkedIn  is  the  measurement  of  Profile  Views.    This  will  give  you  an  idea  of  how   effective  you  have  been  in  boosting  your  profile  within  the  LinkedIn  network.           For  further  advice:  please  contact  me  at  or  find  me  on   LinkedIn  at           ©  Dissident  Business  Ltd,  May  2015   Click&here&