At last count, more than 100 million professionals have registered on LinkedIn, but a much smaller number use the career networking site regularly. For many, LinkedIn is simply a place to summarize their resume online, but the reaility is that the site can be a substantial resource for expanding both your business and your career.
5 Simple Ways to Get the Most out of LinkedIn
1. Monitor LinkedIn's "Signal" feature to glean market and industry insights.
One of the new-ish features introduced by LinkedIn is "Signal", which allows you to filter and expand your "wall" beyond just the updates from your immediate connections. For example, you can easily drill down to find updates and posts by the greater LinkedIn community (2nd and 3rd+ connections), filter by geography or industry, or focus on specific companies. This is a great tool to see what your customers are saying about their own companies or industries.
2. Use LinkedIn Apps and Groups to establish yourself as an expert.
Becoming an expert in your field can be extremely lucrative and LinkedIn is a great way to establish your credibility. Not only can you post documents, white papers, or presentations to your own profile, but you can also use LinkedIn Apps to integrate your reading lists or blog posts directly into your online profile. Another great way to demostrate your expertise is by applying your experience and insights in one of the many LinkedIn Groups.
3. Download your Connections to your Address Book.
Being able to connect to industry professionals and peers is one of the most significant benefits to using LinkedIn, but did you know that you can export the contact information for the people in your network? Simply click the Export Connections link at the bottom of your Connections page to download your entire network into Outlook or any popular contact manager.
4. Quickly find customers and connections using saved searches.
One frequent criticism of LinkedIn is that there isn't a good workflow for many users to quickly find quality connections. While I think LinkedIn has a great recommendation engine in the People You May Know menu, you can also save up to three advanced searches as a free member. This is a great way to target your current and potential customers, as well as peers in your industry, for future connections.
5. Make yourself easy to find on LinkedIn.
It may sound basic, but you will not gain many beneficial connections if users can't find you profile. Verify your settings within LinkedIn to ensure that your profile is displayed in user searches. While your at it, you can customize your LinkedIn page link to promote your personal or professional brand and enhance your LinkedIn profile page to better connect with your customers and peers.
For more great ways to get more out of LinkedIn, read 10 Mistakes People Make on LinkedIn and visit this post on LinkedIntelligence.