In part one of this article I listed five steps to make your LinkedIn plan a success. The conclusion of the article will address the remaining five steps.
6. Join and participate in Groups. I was talking to a person who showed on his profile that he was a member of two groups. I told him this wasn’t nearly enough to conduct an effective networking campaign.
A successful plan doesn’t mean you have to join the 50 groups you’re allotted; it means joining groups of like-mined people in which you’ll participate in discussions by either starting them or contributing in a meaningful manner. Consider your groups a small community where people have the same interests and aspirations.
Join varying groups that also touch other interests of yours, e.g., career development, social media, soccer, small business development. Hint: In groups you can communicate with anyone, including those who aren’t first degree connections. Being a member of the same group as a desired connection gives you justification for connecting with said person.
7. Use the Companies feature. The Companies feature is one of LinkedIn’s best features, as it allows you to identify valuable people in various companies on LinkedIn. If I want to know who the marketing manager is at a particular company, I use Advanced People Search and type “marketing” in the Key Words field, enter “manager” in the Position field and enter the Company name. I find the person I’d like to contact, so I send her an introduction that is facilitated by one of my first degree connections.
Some companies, in addition to listing their Homepage and Products and Services, might list a Careers section with available positions at the company. These are the jobs that are listed under LinkedIn’s Jobs feature, which is explained next.
8. Use the Jobs feature. LinkedIn is making strides to make the Jobs feature a player in the job board arena. It’s not succeeding as well as LinkedIn has hoped–Monster.com and others still draw many jobseekers–so much, in fact that only about 20% of résumés stored on Monster are read. But increasingly more companies are using LinkedIn to advertise their jobs.
What’s nice about jobs is that you can apply directly to a company’s website, as well as see who’s posted the position. In many cases there is a link that directs you to the company’s page, where you can use it to locate the employees of value to you. Many of my customers have benefited from LinkedIn’s Jobs feature; if not getting a job directly, at least by networking to secure an interview from it.
9. Ask for and write recommendations. Your plan should include requesting recommendations from your former supervisors and, to some extent, your colleagues. If you find that your supervisors are slow in writing your recommendation, you may want to offer some guidance in terms of what you’d like included in your recommendation, or you may even want to write it yourself.
Write recommendations for your former employees; it’s a great way to brand yourself. This shows your authority, as well as what you value in a good employee. You don’t have to be asked to write the recommendation; simply write one and send it to your former employees. They’ll appreciate your generosity very much. You might wonder why I haven’t mentioned Endorsements. One of my valued connections, Brian Ahearn, sums it up nicely with his article.
10. Follow up. Always follow up. Every networking pundit will tell you that following up with new connections can be the most important piece of networking, both after personal meetings and connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Obviously it’s difficult, if not impossible, to follow up with everyone in your LinkedIn network, particularly if you’re a LION.
Keep in constant contact with your connections by responding immediately to direct messages or even responding to their updates. There’s nothing worse than starting a relationship and then dropping it like a lead balloon. One of my closest connections says he’ll deliver talks to groups of people, and only a few will reach out to him afterward. This drives him nuts.
If you want a street that’s plowed so an ocean liner can sail down it, or a LinkedIn profile campaign that will garner results, you have to have a plan. Sometimes we loose sight of our plan and our campaign becomes disorganized. At this time it’s important to reign it in and reestablish a plan.
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