Top 5 LinkedIn Tips for Building Your Professional Network

By Brittany Worrell Boyce | Small Business

Top 5 LinkedIn Tips for Building Your Professional Network image 179031325a 300x263Top 5 LinkedIn Tips for Building Your Professional Network

With over 259 million members and counting, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet.  If you’re not already using the site, it’s never too late to get started! Having a professional online profile is beneficial not only to you as an individual, but also to the reputation of your company. LinkedIn offers many features that can enhance your professional life, in and out of the office. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Complete Your Profile. Before you can even consider creating a company page for your business, you must create an account as an individual. LinkedIn provides great tips and tools for completing your profile, from adding a short biography to your work history and educational background, and many things in between. You also have the option to add a profile image, but be sure it’s a professional one! One of the newest features of LinkedIn is the ability to add rich media to your profile – this is a great tool for adding reports, presentations, articles, videos, and other projects you’ve worked on. Not only does this offer you the ability to showcase your individual talents, but it extends the life of branded content that you’ve created for your company.

2. Connect. Now that you’ve established a presence on LinkedIn, it’s time to connect with colleagues and peers. This is a great way to network and build relationships with others in the industry, and can even open up doors for employee recruitment, business opportunities, public relations/news generation, events and other opportunities that will help you develop your professional voice and influence. You can easily sync your email accounts to find people you know on LinkedIn, and the site continually helps you identify contacts that you may know. It is also a great resource for meeting new people to establish professional relationships with.

3. Share & Influence. Like other ‘social’ networks, LinkedIn offers its users the ability to share links, images, and statuses. The difference with LinkedIn is, everything that is shared should be work-appropriate and provide value. This is a great way to build a trusted reputation for your personal brand as well as your professional brand. Try balancing out the content you share: plan for 50% to come from your company’s work (articles, presentations, events) and the other 50% to come from leading news sources and thought leaders.

4. Build a Company Page or Group. Once you’ve gotten comfortable managing your own LinkedIn profile and have established a considerable number of connections, it’s time to consider creating a page or group for your property management company or community. A company page is essentially a profile for your company, where you can showcase your products or services and share updates with all followers. This is a great resource for sharing timely news, such as upcoming events, press releases, and new content. Here’s a tip: pull an engaging snippet out of the content you’re sharing and use that as part of the status update. A group is set up to be more of a discussion board, where members can share ideas, links, and questions with others and generate feedback. This is also a great place to share links to external resources that group members might find to be valuable, such as educational tools and webinars.

5. Keep Tabs on Competitors. LinkedIn is an ideal resource for staying on top of what the competition is doing. From company announcements to promotions to educational tools, many businesses regularly post this information on their company pages to keep their followers informed. This is an easy, yet effective, way to scope out the competition and see what’s trending in the industry. Browse the “How You’re Connected” tab on the right side of a competitor’s company page to see current and past employees – you might even stumble upon contacts to recruit for your company! Also, this is a great way to see which companies are moving employees into the area for career opportunities. You can also check out a variety of groups on LinkedIn – joining those that are relevant to your business will allow you to see what’s happening in the industry.

LinkedIn is a valuable resource for you as well as your company – from establishing relationships to building your reputation and creating a brand presence – you’re sure to reap the benefits by becoming a member of this powerful professional network.

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