I’m here. Now what? 5 Ways to Leverage LinkedIn

Many people set up their LinkedIn profile, connect with a few people, and then… stop. But that isn’t where your work should end; it’s where the LinkedIn action is just beginning! Once you have your profile set up and you’ve started to connect with others, it’s time to shift your focus; it’s time to engage with others, increase your visibility, focus on your expertise, and step up as an authority in your field!

Here are five ways to leverage LinkedIn and make it work for you:

  1. Post an update. When you post an update on LinkedIn, it flows through the feed of anyone you are linked with. If readers like it, comment on it or share it, your reach will go even farther. Whether you post something original or share an article you like, this can be a quick way to unobtrusively engage with many of your contacts and stay top-of-mind.
  1. Publish a blog post. LinkedIn is shaping up to be a blogging platform powerhouse. Offering a ready-made audience and the ability to be seen beyond the people you are already linked with, the “Pulse” blogging platform is a great way to increase your visibility! Take advantage of this growing platform by publishing a post from your own blog archives – or post something brand spanking new – and include a link at the end to drive traffic back to your blog or website. It will show up on your LinkedIn feed, which will help drive initial traffic to your post. Share it again a few days later as a LinkedIn update to continue to drive traffic to the post. (Plus, you’re using this step to feed #1, above. Two birds, one stone!)
  1. Upload a photo. If your business is product-based, this can be easy – – upload photos of your products, preferably being used by a happy customer. If yours is a service-based business, you might need to get creative. How about an action shot at a conference or networking event? Or a behind-the-scenes photo with a client? Giving your readers something visual to digest can help them better understand what you offer and how you can serve them.
  1. Join – and participate in – a group. LinkedIn Groups are a great way to connect with people who share similar interests. Whether you want to connect with people in the same vocation or with potential clients, there are lots of possibilities here. The key is that you need to participate to be seen, so make sure you find a group that has plenty of members and regular engagement. For public groups, you can preview how the group operates and what the activity level is before you join. If you find a private group that you think holds a lot of possibility, you won’t be able to preview the engagement. If this is the case, you can always try to join and, if they let you in, hang out for a while. If it doesn’t work out, leave and find a new one.
  1. Build a group of your own. This is a great opportunity to create a community whose conversation will go in a direction that you’ve selected. It will take some work on your part (especially at first) to get it up and running, and then to keep it active and engaging – but it can be well worth it! Start out with some personal invites and a plan for what the group will talk about. The more you have in place, the smoother it will go. Before you try this, make sure you’ve participated in a couple of other groups so that you are familiar with the lay of the land and how things operate. Participating in those groups might even help you identify how you can do it better!

LinkedIn can be a powerful place to build contacts, increase your visibility and promote your expertise as an authority in your field. Any one of the activities listed above can help you make this happen; if you’re just starting out, I recommend you begin with #1 or #4. If you’re already doing many of the things listed, perhaps it’s time to expand your reach – add blogging or start your own group!

No matter which one you choose, keep in mind that you have to do it regularly to make an impact! Do it once to check it out. If it works for you, do it again, and again, and again… and you’ll get there!

Looking for ways to build a stronger LinkedIn network? Here are some blog posts that you might find useful:
10 Guidelines for Building a Solid LinkedIn Network
LinkedIn: What if I Don’t Want to Connect?