LinkedIn sees over 310 million active users in over 200 countries on its platform per month. No other professional social media network comes even close. Chances are that the people you meet at a networking event (or any type of business event) will use their phones to scan the QR code for your LinkedIn profile rather than take your business card.
LinkedIn is undoubtedly the most powerful professional tool on your smartphone. It can literally open doors and bring in real career opportunities.
If you want to be crushing it in your career, and even if you already are, being active on LinkedIn should be your number one social media priority.
You should be exploiting the hell out of it, even if you’re happy in your current job. Use LinkedIn to network, connect with your contacts, cultivate your professional brand, and take your career to the next level.
Here are some ways you can use LinkedIn like a career pro.
1. Share Career-Related Articles Regularly
LinkedIn gives you the option to create a full-length article instead of a regular social media post. Ordinary posts are limited to 1,300 characters while articles are limited to 125,000 characters. This presents an opportunity to use articles to showcase your expertise and knowledge. Your connections will receive a notification each time you post, which can make your LinkedIn page your very own website without any of the hosting expenses. Now imagine that your connections share your posts with others -- that means even more exposure for you. Donna Serdula, a LinkedIn expert, demonstrates how to use LinkedIn articles to your advantage. The articles she writes form an important part of her LinkedIn marketing strategy. One way to get material for your LinkedIn articles is to answer a popular question related to your career. You may already know some of these questions based on your interactions with customers. You can use Google Trends, Quora, or Answer the Public for ideas. Another source of materials is to write about topics you're passionate about or have expert knowledge in. And probably the best way, the serious girl-boss-I'm-about-the-hustle move is to write about topics that showcase your skills for the next level of your career. Try to keep your message as simple and relevant as possible so that it can appeal to a wider audience. PRO TIPS: Write about what you know and are passionate about. Checking out what your peers are doing successfully, is another good way to figure out what you want to write about. Once you’ve identified your target areas, subscribe to and read a variety of content around the subject.
2. Develop your personal brandYour personal brand defines you. Use photos and videos, and appropriate captions to help paint a clear picture of who you are and what you stand for. Don't be afraid to show your personality. Sure, LinkedIn is a professional network and should be treated as such. However, you’re not dreary and rigid, and neither should your posts! Take a page out of Dr. Terri-Karelle Reid’s book by using a variety of media to present your awesome personality, professionally and beautifully. Another great read with lots of good social media ideas is Mel Carson’s book, Introduction to Personal Branding. In it, he shares a step-by-step process for developing your personal brand and ultimately optimizing your LinkedIn profile such as through the use of posts.
3. Follow Thought Leaders You AdmireConsider this - 180 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 63 million are in decision-making positions. Read that line again… the numbers are huge, right? Look on the platform for a few leaders in your industry who you admire and follow at least three of them. Become a fangirl by sharing, liking, and commenting on their work regularly. Something you say may just grab their attention and lead to a connection that can change your life. Make it people you have something in common with, not just people you admire. Your fanning will be even more genuine; people can pick up on these things.
4. Get Recommendations from the Right PeopleThere’s nothing wrong with asking a friend for a recommendation. However, the recommendations that really stick are those from your most senior, highly connected contacts. Look carefully at the LinkedIn profiles of people who are in your network. Write a list of the top 5 most connected people and ask them to write a recommendation for you. Ensure that you choose people who have worked with you and would, therefore, know you well professionally.
5. Give as Good as You Get It! Your LinkedIn profile isn’t only about you. Well, technically it is but just hear me out for a minute. LinkedIn is about building a community of connections. You want people to engage with your posts, send you messages, and help you make the right connections. Give as good as you get by doing the same for others. Give birthday shoutouts when you see those notifications pop up. Celebrate work anniversaries. Write recommendations. Help people make meaningful connections whenever you can.
6. Join Targeted LinkedIn GroupsActive LinkedIn groups provide a great platform for you to meet and connect with new people. Search for groups that match your interests and chosen career path. Once you're a member, actively engage with what’s happening in the group. Too often people use LinkedIn groups solely as a way to promote whatever it is they’re doing. However, LinkedIn is more of a place for robust discussions and networking. Using the platform in the right way can help you get ahead in your career. Write posts that express your views on things happening within your industry and comment on other posts. The only way to truly benefit from these groups is to use them in meaningful ways.
7. Use the Career Advice HubThe career advice hub is a feature unique to LinkedIn. Input the preferences for the type of advice you seek and LinkedIn will recommend members based on mutual interests and any professional information the algorithm can determine about you. A notification is sent to you once a match has been found and you can start a conversation to get the advice you desire. Don’t expect an instant response. Many of these people are very busy and probably won’t respond until one or two weeks after your initial message. Additionally, word your questions carefully. You don’t know whether this person knows people in your workplace so it’s best not to ask advice specifically related to where you work or give hints about your desire to find another job.
Final WordsYou may be a rockstar in your profession, but you can always kick it up a notch by using LinkedIn to your advantage. On this and other social media platforms, consistency is key, but since we’re talking about your money, Formulate a strategy - how often to post, who you follow, and tips above that you’re going to follow - and be sure to do them according to a set schedule. You’ll be surprised by the opportunities you create.