PART 2: IMPLEMENTATION
In Part 1 of this article (which I strongly recommend you read if you haven’t already) I shared that your primary objective for utilizing LinkedIn is threefold:
- Connect with key players.
- Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, you will have already aligned your profile with the opportunities that are most relevant to your talents, skills, and preferences—and crucial to your happiness and job satisfaction.
- Use LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.
Let’s break down how these top three steps can be achieved:
Join Groups in Order to Connect with Key Players
There are tens of thousands of groups and group forums on LinkedIn. Forums give you an instant audience in a particular industry, networking group, alumni group, recruiter group, company, or geographic area! Currently, you can join up to 50 groups.
Search for groups on LinkedIn using the search bar at the top of your profile, and pick those groups that are most relevant to you. If you are a CFO in the airline industry, you might use keywords including CFO, Airline Executives, Financial+Aviation, etc…
Once you are accepted into a group, you can pose a question, post a news or blog article, or check out new career opportunities in the jobs section of the group.
But your most important priority, once you have joined LI groups, is to scroll through the member listing and invite key players and recruiters to join your network! Your reason for doing so? Because you are both members of the same group!
Why do this? Because you need to be in someone’s first-, second-, or third-degree network if you’re going to show up in their search results when they are looking for someone like you! In just minutes a week, you can check out the member listings for your groups and email select members to quickly and strategically grow your network.
To do so, check their profile for an email, then click the connect button and choose the “Other” option. Your message to whomever you wish to invite is simple: We’re in XYZ group together and I want to invite you to join my network! No need to include a greeting, since LinkedIn does that for you.
In the event that you can’t find an email, you can also directly message that person and ask them to connect with you or ask a fellow group member to introduce you. A third way (and the way I do it) is to check off the “Colleague” button so you can send them an invite directly.
Some will say you must know the person to use the “Colleague” option (including LinkedIn); however, I am of the school of thought that if you and I share a group together and I want to invite you to join my network, the fact that LinkedIn forces me to say you are a colleague in order for me to send you an invite is more of an “oh well, okay” situation. But that is me and just my personal opinion. What you decide to do is up to you and what you feel most comfortable with.
If the group you join is job search-related—or you are joining groups outside of your industry and you are concerned that you might inadvertently reveal the identification of your current company—you will want to hide the group icon so that it does not show up on your profile. You can easily do this in the group preferences settings once you are accepted into the group.
Become a Thought Leader Using LinkedIn
Wondering how to use the LinkedIn Activity Feed at the top of your home page? Articles you can post regarding those things that are relative to thought leadership include:
Info on a great career/leadership book you just read.
- A picture of you with the keynote speaker at a conference or seminar you recently attended.
- Links to one of your blog posts or an interesting career-related article you just read or were quoted in.
- A photo of your volunteer service—running a 5K for a cause, for example -or promotion of any other cause about which you are passionate.
Once or twice a month is all you need to keep you top of mind with your network and solidify your branding and professional perception.
Bonus Tip On Privacy
We all assume some risk when we put our information online. You can adjust who sees your network and activity feeds in the LinkedIn settings section of your profile. For example, if you are concerned about your employer being able to see what you are doing on LinkedIn or knowing about your connections, simply set these to private.
There are many other ways to use LinkedIn to benefit your business, career, or consulting business. These are just a few. Find more information and step-by-step strategies here.