Wednesday February 24, 2010
LinkedIn is the number one social media network for business, and is utilized by almost every country in the world. LinkedIn just surpassed 70 million users and it’s estimated that a new member joins every second. So that means 70 million people who might be your next client, right? Wrong - what LinkedIn doesn’t tell you, is that you are only as visible as the size of your network. So if you have a small (5 million or less) network (1st, 2nd, 3rd tier + group members) you are missing out on both your own ability to be seen by others, as well as the ability to find and target strategic clients.
To become more visible, you will need to become a “strategic open networker” (or pay for an account at $24.95 a month)
A “strategic open networker” – as opposed to a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) like me - doesn’t have to grow their first tier exponentially – but will need to grow their whole network by inviting and accepting connections from people with large networks.
Remember – you don’t know who you don’t know – who might become your best new client. And if your network is too small, you will never know them.
5 Steps to Growing your Network:
- ONLY invite people already using LinkedIn when using LinkedIn’s connection tool. (Due to 3K limit)
- Join Groups that have a lot of members (toplinked, LinkedHR, Open Networkers) as well as industry groups and alumni groups – you can join up to 50 groups – which will grow your network, and will not cost you ANY invites.
- Go to www.toplinked.com/top50.html and invite the top linked people (who have less than 28K connections – new limit imposed by LinkedIn)
- Join www.opennetworker.com (an affiliate site) and for $49 a year YOU will receive invitations – from complete strangers – but they might know someone you need to knew (And you can use this opportunity to ‘touch’ new folks who might become a client – I get about 4 warm leads a week this way)
- Connect to me and you’ll get over 2 million people in your network.
Targeting your Ideal Client
Once you have grown a decent network, you will have access to more people, including target clients:
- Use the Advanced Search which will allow you to specifically target the “type” of person who would make an ideal client (sort by “relevance” and “expanded” view) Use a Boolean Search (AND, OR, NOT “”) Invite the strategic people you find to connect using groups if possible, or get “Introduced” through a mutual connection.
- Find and “follow” ideal clients in groups (this is not the same as connecting – but gives you many of the same benefits) – Use search within member section of a group (Boolean)
- Search “Companies” to find key people you might want to connect with (a wealth a valuable information is often over-looked here)
- Use the new “tagging” option in your LinkedIn Contacts list once you are connected (only good for 1st level)
- Download vCards of your 1st level connection and organize them using Outlook, Act, Apple Mail, etc.
Optimizing Your Profile:
- Your LinkedIn Profile is your professional identity, autobiography, brochure or ad on LinkedIn. Think of it as a website showcasing your career, your business office and the OBC industry. Like any brochure, make sure your content is grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. Use secondary applications like slideshare.com and box.net to import company literature and video.
- Use the Professional Headline on your profile to share your areas of expertise and interest. You have 200 characters to work with. This field is weighted heavily in both the LinkedIn Search and Google Search, so use your key word.
- Use the Summary section to expand upon information in your profile. This section is searchable, so include keywords that are appropriate for your industry. You can write your summary in a Word document first and then cut/paste it into LinkedIn. This will allow you to check spelling and grammar, as well as create attractive formatting with bullets and spacing. The most common symbols and bullets will transfer over. You have 2,000 characters to use.
- Change the link/url in your Profile by editing Public Profile so that it includes your name, your company name or expertise in your industry (www.linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert) and include it in your email signatures, business card and resume.
- Put ALL your job titles in the Title Field of the “experience” section. This field is also heavily ranked in a LinkedIn Search