LinkedIn: 37 Usage Tips You Need to Read

Do you use LinkedIn? If you don’t then you may be missing out on the best social media opportunity out there today.

This weekend, I took another look at LinkedIn on the recommendation of Darren Rowse (@problogger). Like most people I know, I joined a few years ago, filled out my profile, and then never did anything else.

At the time, it appeared to me that Twitter and Facebook was where social media was at; I didn’t know too many people who did much with LinkedIn except to set their profiles up and then forget them.

Speaking of Twitter, why not connect with me there? @NacieCarson

So I was intrigued to hear that many of the most successful people I know use LinkedIn, and use it religiously. On a quest to figure out exactly how to make this networking tool work in a successful way, I started asking around.  The responses I got where overwhelming and incredibly informative.

I present them to you here, in the words of people who have had major success with this interesting networking tool, from lawyers to writers to PR moguls to small business owners. Have you figured out how to maximize your exposure and reap serious benefits? Share you tip!

(Oh, one thing I’m sure you’ll notice as you read through these is that groups are a big deal – think about joining my newest group on LinkedIn, The New Opportunists, and we can discover together just how they work!)

37 Tips for Absolutely Ruling LinkedIn from People Who Know

Here’s a great tip for journalists: The editors at magazines are always changing, but thanks to the search feature you can search by position and find the current name of the editor you’re looking for. I’ve built most of my editorial contact database this way–and have landed some assignments from getting the right contacts. -  from Kristen Fischer

Use LinkedIn as a platform for conversation. Get involved in groups, whether through posting of relevant articles as topics of discussion or by sharing expertise with the most appropriate group for your audience. – from Christopher G. Hill of Construction Law Musings

I’ve been using Linkedin for several years but it wasnt until January when I started a Linkedin group: Member ROI for Associations & Societies. There is gold in the groups if you use them right–provide lots of niche value and let your content be the promotion devise. Already have received one association speaking engagement as a result. – from Ed Rigsbee

I find that answering questions on LinkedIn helps my business stand out from the crowd. In a business consulting field like mine, potential clients either find us on LinkedIn or check out our profiles on LinkedIn on their way to deciding whether to work with us. By answering questions in my field, I get a chance to demonstrate expertise and make that lead more comfortable in working with us. – from Ben Lloyd of Amplify Interactive

Using LinkedIn has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for me. My recommendation are simplestart groups and answer questions. Starting a group is the best way to connect with like-minded people in your business. – from Ryan May

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The key is (after preparing a full detailed profile) joining appropriate groups in your area of expertise, following the discussions closely and making substantive, intelligent and novel contributions to the discussion. Maintain a blog; where your blog contains a substantive discussion of the subject, provide a link. Nothing unique to add? Say nothing. Thoughtful fresh contributions invariably creates separate links and dialogues with potential clients and colleagues with whom you can create collaborative business ventures. – from Jerome Kowalski of Kowalski Associates

The key to successful Linkedin use is harnessing the power of Groups. I currently run two LI Groups: one for a client: the Illinois State Council of Human Resource Executives and the other for my own PR practice on Social Media and Healthcare. I believe this is where you can take advantage of niches of common interests and leverage the best of LI. – from Chris Martin of Chris Martin Public Relations

Use keywords to make sure your profile is searchable and easily found. Keywords can be built into your profile and even your title. Obviously, don’t overdo it but include relevant keywords and phrases throughout. – from Sacha Cohen of Grassfield Media

Post updates on a regular basis (at least once a week) about your business or company, what you’re working on or an interesting tip related to your job or industry. I have found this has most kept me and my services top of mind with my connections. It’s important the tips are not spammy; they must be of value to your connections. – from Arden Clise of Clise Etiquette

Building connections is the key to maximizing LinkedIn. Want to know how to do it? Click people you’re connected to that would vouch for you. Go to the their profile and click “Connections.” Review the names listed under, “Other Connections.” Click names of the people you want to be connected to. Click “Get introduced through a connection” link on the right side of the page and choose the persons name you have in common. Its that simple. Keep doing this again and again and you’ll create yourself a great LinkedIn network. – from Gregg Murray of Website Blueprint

To send out news about your company, join Groups that target your audience, like Entrepreneurs or Attorneys. When you become a member of these groups you can submit press releases, event information, news articles, etc. to the group. The group also sends out a weekly email newsletter to its group members so all will see the information. Ive gotten several leads for my clients this way. – from Becky Boyd of Media First

My best tip would be to join your college alumni-related groups. I joined several of my Babson College alumni-related LinkedIn groups. As a result, I was able to recruit board members to the national nonprofit I run; gain visibility for my nonprofit by connecting with Babson Public Relations staff who wrote a blog article about a campaign we were running; and connect (and meet) directly with the Babson College President who is supportive of a formal collaboration between Babson and my nonprofit, Everybody Wins! USA. – from Rich Greif of Everybody Wins! USA

The New Opportunists

Join LinkedIn Groups: After launching a new website and blog in late December, I knew that it would take search engines a while to crawl and digest the information, no matter how well the content was search engine optimized. In the interim, I decided to use LinkedIn Groups as a way to promote my website and blog.  I joined groups that were a good fit for legal public relations and attorney website content writing. I focused on a variety of topics such as LEGAL MARKETING, public relations, law and media, alumni networks and business owners and entrepreneurs in my geographic area.  In approximately seven weeks, the LinkedIn campaign has: Generated almost half of the traffic to the Legal Media Matters website, resulted in reprint requests for Legal Media Matters articles, triggered new connections with lawyers around the world, and produced business leads and inquiries about the legal public relations and content writing services. – from Geri Dreiling of Legal Media Matters

Once I joined professional groups on LinkedIn that were in my industry of interest and I started answering questions – I made a lot of good contacts. I had just been answering random questions in marketing and didn’t really connect with anyone. I got a lot more personal in the groups I participated in. – from Margot Chapman of Zoom Unlimited, Inc

Make sure that you are active on Linkedin. Do at least one new action item every day. This will make them appear on the front page of every person that they are connected to. This can be a recommendation, a connection or to change their status update. If they can’t think of something to say, they should come up with an inspirational quote. People will be reminded of them every time they see them on their home page of Linkedin. – from Patricia Ellis of On Target Career Coaching

The best thing one can do on LinkedIn is to join groups related to the industries you are trying to target. Answer and post questions, etc. By being a member of a group you connect without having a contacts email. The larger the group, the more contacts. – from Christine Taylor of JTMarCom

I use the groups feature in linked in to create and manage special interest groups of my customers. So if I have a number of customers interested in social media, I can put them in a group and update the entire group with links to relevant articles, observations, etc. It keeps me close to them on topics that are important to them and doesn’t fill up their email box with messages that don’t get read. – from Dan Kraus of Leading Results Inc

Use Linked in with the mind-set that you’re not communicating to a faceless stranger; approach people as you would face to face at a networking event or at your table at a luncheon. In approx 200 characters, establish common ground, tell them why you chose them, ask clearly for their help and distinctly what you are requesting. People respond well to requests for help or directions, but don’t like to feel obligated or pressured to do so.  Offer them to expand their network by connecting to you, give them your contact info and thank them. The results will show! – from Marie Guillot of ABACO International

LinkedIn is a social media tool for business, so it should be used like any social media tool – to build, maintain, and deepen real human relationships.  Comment on people’s updates, join groups, regularly ping past co-workers, and enjoy the contact with others.  Truly enjoying LinkedIn like any good networking experience has been helpful to me as I always have people who remember me if I need advice, have a friend out of work, etc.  Everyone is a person to me on LinkedIn – and do I meet some great people! – from Steven Savage

My favorite way to use LinkedIn is to focus on providing a tip in my unique niche every day. Providing useful, quirky or fun tips that speak to a certain unique niche will attract the attention of others. As a motivational speaker I have the opportunity to motivate with my words. Every day I post a Business/Life Renovation Tip. I now have a regular following for my tips and have booked business as the result of my tips. – from Michelle Neujahr

Social media is all about connecting people and helping one another. I have used Linked-In to connect valued suppliers to my consulting firm with one another, creating interactions where great synergies have occurred. Linked-In has also brought quality freelance experts to my company which translates to results for clients-all secured through simple inquires within the network. – from Jack Maholl of Wisdom Bridge Marketing

If you post a discussion in a group, make sure you respond to comments to that discussion. Not only will this show up in your activity, but it also helps you connect with people in that group and can sometimes lead to business. – from Taylor Ellwood of Imagine Your Reality

When crafting your profile, ask yourself that question: “What’s the value to others in connecting with me and my network?” A variation on that theme is this: “What do I bring to the table that is unique and valuable to others?” – from Catherine Bryers Breet of Arbez

Be brave, link in with contacts and connections from introductions from others- your business is only as big as your contact list. - from Alexis A. Moore of Survivors in Action

Ask and Answer Questions! Giving advice and asking for advice is the best way to get noticed and notice others. Unless you ask and answer questions your profile is simply hiding in the dark waiting for someone to “bump” into it. You have to give your opinion, even at the risk of giving advice that you’d normally charge for. Here’s what it did for me. It sold books! I use LinkedIn regularly both connecting with people and asking and answering questions. It made my book go from a non-starter into a world selling book. I answered a question about marketing, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about graphic design, I saw book sales on Amazon. I answered a question about PR, I saw sales on Amazon. I also received emails from people who said they liked my answers so they bought my book locally and wanted to connect with me via LinkedIn. – from Gary Unger

Next time you’re at a networking event, trade show or just making a new business call and want to make an impression after the fact here’s a suggestion: When you get back to the office look up the contact on LinkedIn and if he’s there send him a note saying how nice it was to meet him and ask him to link in with you. This will not only set you apart from everyone else but now every time you put something on LinkedIn your new contact will be aware of it. It makes more sense doing this than bringing the card back and putting it in your database and never doing anything with it again. – from John Sonnhalter

The best way to get the most out of LinkedIn is to join groups, once you’re a member of those groups: start discussions and participate in discussions (to share and establish your expertise), then connect and network with people you meet in those groups and discussions. – from Robert Wilson

Position yourself as a subject matter expert in whatever field you work or are interested in. Do this by joining a few and select special interest groups. Also, answer questions that are posted both in these groups and on the overall LinkedIn web site. – from Patricia Lenkov of Agility Executive Search LLC

I’ve had a lot of success using LinkedIns “Answers” section. Throughout the week I respond to questions others have about digital marketing and social media strategy. By doing this it has been a great way for me to get my foot in the door with businesses that need help leveraging the web. – from Jillian Koeneman of Freshlime Marketing

Research and sign up for Groups that will get you what you are looking for which is not necessarily the same as groups that you would normally think of. Be sure to utilize most of the (50) that you are allowed and continually post questions, ask for feedback on your product, marketing messages, etc. and be amazed how many professionals just want to help. – from Carl Restivo of Scare Me Not

Answer questions and share your expertise. Linkedin updates your network when you do, and also notes it when you receive a best answer. This has led to other Linkedin members who I don’t know, contacting me for advice, recommendations, etc, further building my network and leading to referrals. Additionally, my answers have been used in a few news articles/blogs, leading to hits and inquiries on/from my business’ website, which is typically linked to, in the article or blog. These links also increase your website’s popularity with the search engines, putting you and your business in front of more people. – from Bob Steinkamp of Finger Lakes Media Strategies

Be active — but be genuine. Take the time to reach out to individuals. Join groups. When you find a group posting that interests you, research the profile of the person who posted. Then respond personally. I’ve doubled the group size of the Social Media for the Blogger group on LinkedIn by using this very technique. Reaching out has also landed me an as a guest speaker for a regional presentation on Social Media. It works! A little effort to reach through the clutter and personally respond to an individual does wonders! – from Karen Emanuelson

The outlook tool bar from LinkedIN is one of the best values in networking. It allows you to see who you haven’t invited to connect with. The grab feature lets you turn anyone’s email auto signature into an address book entry. Furthermore the Dashboard is a great tool for helping you keep in touch as well as reminding you of who needs a reply and who doesn’t.  - from Chris Reed of CREED Improvements

I was able to land a freelance position as a social media consultant through the jobs section of Linked In. Now I use the group discussions on Linked In to promote my business as well as my client’s. – from Carrie Lee

By being active in the groups, I have collaborated with people in articles, exchanged links, and been featured in the Art Calendar Magazine, interviewed on Blog Talk radio. There have been many opportunities, I would say, it’s about building relationships, being able to ask for help and share my expertise to expand my own network. – from Mari-Lyn Harris

Each time I correspond with someone for the first time, I make sure to include a link to my LinkedIn profile and encourage everyone to go to LinkedIn for my references. I am humbled to have over 80 recommendations which help me stand out in the crowd and give potential clients the confidence to work with me. Potential clients and associates can read in people’s own words how their experience was working with me. As a mortgage broker this is especially important since my industry has been under attack for a few years. – from Gary Parkes of NorStar Mortgage Group

I found one of my largest clients through a relationship I created through LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, I was able to grow my book of business 166% in one year. Being able to build relationships with Second Degree contacts has been so successful, that I have now created a company that trains other professionals how to prospect on LinkedIn. – from Darrah Courter of Rippling Effect

Have you had success with LinkedIn? Share it below!

Here’s to your Uncommon Life,

Written by Nacie Carson

Nacie Carson is a the author of The Finch Effect (Jossey-Bass), founder of The Life Uncommon, and CEO of Working Life Media, LLC.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow, what a great list you put together here! There are so many ways to use LinkedIn and it seems that the experts above give key tips and advice. I’ve answered questions on LinkedIn and have found it successful just like Ben Lloyd, have also joined groups and participated in discussions like Geri Dreiling. The thing I need to do more of is what Gary Parks discusses, sending a link to your LinkedIn profile when you first make contact with someone. I have a link to my profile on my company staff page, and in my e-mail signature but I need to start connecting with more people, which will help if I send out direct links upon first contact. Great advice in this piece, thank you!!

    • says

      @Kaila – So glad to hear that you’ve used some of these tips! They are definitely on my to-do list, I’ve got lots of LinkedIn work to do myself. It is so exciting to hear that some people have had such success!

  2. says

    Nacie,

    Great collection of advice! Thanks for compiling and sharing with everyone!

    Since you mentioned you have a lot of LinkedIn work to do, just wanted to let you know that I have more than 100 blog posts just dealing with LinkedIn and also published a book about LinkedIn that you might be interested in. http://windmillnetworking.com

    If you ever have any LinkedIn questions feel free to contact me and utilize me as a resource!

    Looking forward to your future blog posts ;-)

    @NealSchaffer

  3. says

    Right on point.

    One of the great features of a WordPress blog are the stats which indicate where a visitor originated from. I have found that LinkedIn is a great referrer source to my blog: http://www.lawbill.com/blog . While I have over 2,100 Twitter @LawBill followers and only 148 LinkedIn Connections, the latter appear to be more relevant to my legal software consulting work with PCLaw™, Time Matters® and Amicus Attorney®.

  4. says

    I have a Linkedin account, but I will be honest and say that I do not use it nearly enough – I find it difficult to keep up with all the social networking sites, with Twitter, FaceBook etc etc. How does everyone else cope with this?

  5. says

    Good article and nice to know that I’m doing the right thing!

    Russell asks a good question. Personally I have dropped regular activity on Twitter, I don’t do Facebook and I focus on Linkedin. I actively use Linkedin as a business generation / marketing tool daily and do general research and activity on it twice or three times a week.

    I think the key is to set some limits, do the more background research / marketing outside of core work hours. And limit the number of different sites that you are on. It does all start with considering where your clients are likely to me. Mine will be on Linkedin (I’m a corporate trainer on various topics including Linkedin!) Russell yours might be on Facebook, it depends what you do. You have to decide that first then divide your time appropriately.

    Regards

    Stephen

  6. says

    Great list you’ve got there! I’ve built up a huge following just using Facebook but LinkedIn is definitely my next project to tear apart. So many great tips to help get me started!

  7. says

    Hi Nacie,

    Yeah, LinkedIn have certainly improved in the last couple of years.

    I now use LinkedIn for customer reviews for my construction / design company. Although I only began asking customer’s to post there recently, I believe LinkedIn is a much better and more trusted forum for leaving feedback than for example Google or say, Yelp.

    Martiin, Preisler Construction Ltd.

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