10 key ways to use LinkedIn strategically to build better business

There are many more than 10 ways to use LinkedIn more optimally (which at the time of writing reaches almost three-quarters of a billion people) in a highly strategic way to help establish new relationships and grow referrals and, in so doing, build your business. However, the 10 steps that follow are a critical foundation, especially for the many people who seem to make low/no use of this great professional tool that is available to them.

  1. If you don’t have a profile get one and if it’s “light” then spend at least an hour of two of quality time to edit it. It MUST have an up-to-date and clear picture and have some substance to it. Use the summary to describe what you are passionate about, is unique to you and offers benefits to those you wish to serve.
  2. Fill in your working history with substantive descriptions of the jobs you did in the past, who you served and what specific benefits you provided. Have at least 2-3 lines per job role (and 4 or 5 is better) and aim to have at least one great testimonial per job role – reach out to existing colleagues and clients to help you get a great set of testimonials – people will read these.
  3. Carefully list in priority order (at least initially) at least 10 skills you have (and 20 is better) and ask friends and colleagues to endorse you.
  4. Consider an upgrade to the premium version of LinkedIn (and/or using browser plugins). LinkedIn premium provides many search and other benefits as do browser “plug-ins” which can give you even more information as part of someone else’s profile (connecting their Facebook or Twitter account for example). You don’t have to do this but it will save you lots of time and increase your reach.
  5. List all of your qualifications and Professional memberships including school and institutional locations (and include at least 3 hobbies/passions too). This helps to credential you and provides useful connection points for others.
  6. Join at least 6 groups (and 10 is better). Use the groups search tool to find groups that are relevant to what you do or what you are interested in. As a general rule half of these should be related to your profession/realm of operation and half should be groups that your main clients belong to and/or are participating in – if you don’t know which groups these are – check on their profiles and look at the bottom.
  7. Do an “update” on the LinkedIn home page at least once a week. This can be a short professional comment about something in the news, a helpful hint or a link to a third-party article you think is helpful or, even better, one that you have personally written. This all helps to drive your profile views.
  8. Add at least a connection a week by reaching out and searching for potentially good connections (using search strings in LinkedIn intelligently). Research is key here as this is about quality and not quantity – you want to add connections that matter (and this also means accepting connections that seem to be good quality and not taking an “ivory tower” view).
  9. Start one discussion in a Group every month (and every week if you can) and read and respond to at least 2 discussions from other people. This keeps you up-to-date, helps build your perceived expertise reputation and drives profile views.
  10. Research your best client’s profiles on LinkedIn to find a deeper/new connections with them. The best way to do this is to spend 15 minutes each week looking at 2-5 profiles and making notes (this is best done in LinkedIn itself by using the profile tagging links).

In the final analysis you should try to make sure that you can tick every one of the above list as done on your profile, and you will quickly start to see a huge change in how you start to think about connecting with existing and new clients.