When I speak with people from my ilk, I learn that they are mainly using LinkedIn to connect and network with their contacts but there are more ways you can harness LinkedIn such as building your profile, gaining valuable industry insights that can make you look sharp in front of your clients or getting access to industry experts/third-party commentators.
Here are some quick tips on how you make the most of LinkedIn:
1. Claim your URL: It’s a no-brainer that people are finding you through search engines. These days your LinkedIn profile is often one of the first ways people find and learn about you. Claiming your own URL (such as http://www.linkedin.com/in/yourname) increases your chances of appearing on top search engine ranking . You can do this by editing your profile settings and customising your Public Profile URL. If you have a popular name that’s already taken, you can do lastnamefirstname
2. Build your contacts: Import your existing contact list from Microsoft Outlook, Gmail or other email providers on LinkedIn, you can find those in your contact database who are already part of LinkedIn. You should also pro-actively scour through your current connections to see if there are any additional people that you might want to connect with. LinkedIn automatically recommends people you may know and you can leverage this feature to grow your contacts. Whenever I meet someone, I immediately send them a connection request and suggest you do the same.
3. Connect with media: Journalists and freelancers are getting active on LinkedIn, so connect with them. This also helps track their movements in case they are writing for a new outlet, writing on a new topic or covering a new beat. Since they are sharing their stories through their LinkedIn status updates, you can always be on top of the stories that they are filing.
4. Link your twitter account: A lot of PR people are now on Twitter. Hence, it makes sense to link your Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile, if you haven’t already done so. If you are posting through twitter and you want it to appear on your LinkedIn network use #in at the end of your tweet.
5. Join relevant groups: By joining groups, you have the opportunity to not only connect with like-minded professionals but also gather insightful information through the discussions taking place within the group. There are closed groups where the discussions remain private and also open groups where the discussions are public. Here are some groups that might be relevant to you:
- PR/Social media – PRIA (you need to be a member of PRIA to join the group), Network of PR Professionals, Social Media Club Sydney
- Media – Dynamic Business magazine, ZDNet Australia
6. Find experts: LinkedIn Answers is a great tool to find out what’s happening in your industry or your client’s industry or test ideas. You can also use this tool to find experts and the week’s ‘Top Experts’ are featured on the Answers page. Also use this to answer questions relevant to PR, and if your answers are consistently voted the best by the network, this is a great way to build your credibility and showcase your expertise. You can also use LinkedIn advanced search functionality to do a targeted search and find people (need to be a premium subscriber to do this).
7. Seek recommendations: You can use recommendations to boost the credibility of your profile. So if your clients and media contacts are happy with your work why not ask them for a recommendation. Also don’t be shy in writing a recommendation as it inspires goodwill and strengthens your relationships.
8. List your events: You can use LinkedIn Events to promote your client events or monitor what events your network is attending and find relevant events recommended to you based on your profile. You can also meet up with prospects at the next industry event or re-connect with old acquaintances.
9. Use applications: Slide share and Trip-It are some popular applications that you can install on your LinkedIn profile. If you are speaking at an industry event, share your slides through SlideShare with your network or if you are traveling use TripIt to let your network know where you are going, you might get to meet your contacts if they are available.
10. Find relevant information – LinkedIn Signal is a great new tool that can help you extract insights from the stream of information that is being shared by your network. You can use Signal to find trending topics or get market intelligence on who’s talking about your clients as you can filter information by network, company, industry, region, people and popular ‘hashtags’ or topics.
Hope some of the above tips help you to get the best of LinkedIn. Let me know if there are any more features that you find useful.