Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn

In the last few weeks, the buzz about the LinkedIn IPO has generated a great deal of conversation about the company and I am seeing a lot more of my old business associates joining the business oriented social network.  As I connect with these people, they often ask me what they can or should do on LinkedIn.

Perhaps the best answer is summed up by a recent post on Seth Goden’s blog.  Since Seth was particularly concise, here is the entire post:

"Interesting & Interested"

"... it helps to be both. These are the two ways you earn attention.
If it's so obvious, why is it so difficult?"

Here are nine great ways to become more interested and interesting on LinkedIn.

1.  Learn about people you plan to meet.  

When you know you have an upcoming meeting or conference call with someone, you can check LinkedIn to learn about their company, projects, employment history and other details that they have shared on their profile. This may give you important insights to make the meeting more productive.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is designed for connecting with people you already know. So don’t send a connection request to someone until you have actually had a meeting, call or some kind of discussion with them.

2.  Reconnect with old friends and collegues.

If you allow LinkedIn to access your contacts, it will show you which of your contacts are already on the network.  By sending an invitation to connect, you can rekindle the friendship and learn how your friend's career has progressed since you last worked together. Once you are connected, you can usually view their connects to see and connect to other people you know.

3.  Link with new people you meet.

Whenever you meet someone at a tradeshow or business meeting, search to see if they are on LinkedIn.  If you find their profile, send an invitation to connect.  These days however, they might send you one first and if they do, accept right away.

4.  Browse the status updates.

At least once every day, browse through all the updates on your LinkedIn home page.  This will let you know when one of your contacts meets someone new, changes position, or posts an interesting link or comment. These insights into the activities and interests of your associates can strengthen your relationship both online and off.  

5.  Send and receive messages.

As you become known within your LinkedIn community, some of your connections will send you messages using LinkedIn instead of email. Be sure to respond to these quickly, just as you would an email message.  If you are not checking your LinkedIn messages frequently, make sure you set LinkedIn to send you an email notification when you get a LinkedIn message.

6.  Highlight your own expertise and interests.

When people look at your profile, they should get excited about learning more about you and from you.  When you initially join LinkedIn, put some real time and effort into building a complete profile then keep it regularly updated.  Creating your profile is so important that I will dedicate a complete post to it next week.

7.  Share interesting links.

Whenever you find new and interesting articles about developments in your field of expertise, share those links as status updates on LinkedIn.  This helps establish your expertise and authority while providing valuable information to you associates.

8.  Join in the discussion.

Join LinkedIn groups focused on your field.  This will help you stay up-to-date on current hot topics and it's a great way to discover people with similar interests and concerns.  Any comments that you add to the discussion can also help build your reputation as an industry expert.

9.  Ask or answer a question.

LinkedIn’s answer page is a powerful way to leverage the expertise of the LinkedIn community by asking a specific question. Or demonstrate your own expertise with an insightful answer to someone else’s question.

These are just a few ways to use LinkedIn to become more interested in the people you meet and more interesting to them.  The first step is creating a LinkedIn account and building your profile. Check here next week for tips on a creating a compelling profile.

How are you using LinkedIn?

Here is a brief video from GrowSocially on getting started on LinkedIn:

You may also want to check out these Creativity Paradox posts:

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