Part one of our two-part series on finding success on LinkedIn focused on the basics of the networking platform. Part two aims to present a more in-depth review of using your account to build your network and help achieve your professional goals.
One of the main issues with LinkedIn is that it’s easy to misuse. According to the Unofficial LinkedIn user’s guide for executives and professionals, there are four models of LinkedIn investment. In order to maximise efficiency, you need to identify which category you fall into and how you should invest your time online.
1. Professional presence
Professional presence is exactly as it sounds. You have a presence on LinkedIn, and not much else. This involves spending minimal time (1-2 hours per month) inviting people to connect with you and updating your information.
2. Network management
Network management is a step up from professional presence, and involves spending around 2-4 hours per week online. This time is used building connections, writing recommendations and communicating with other users.
3. Network building
If you are aiming to build secure, ongoing relationships through LinkedIn, you might spend 4-6 hours on it weekly, focusing on building relationships with both those you already know, by requesting recommendations and endorsements, as well as new connections within your industry.
4. Network living
Those who fit into the network living category are rare and find themselves spending around 20 hours per week on their profile, focusing on all aspects of LinkedIn. Most of this time is spent making relative industry connections and researching industry leaders and their movements.
Once you have identified which of the four categories you fit into and how much time you should be dedicating to the platform, you can then start to build your professional online profile.
In order to do this effectively, focus on sharing news, providing recommendations, participating in industry discussions and following industry groups.
As your online presence grows, and as time permits, you can start to use LinkedIn in different ways such as posting job ads, finding recruits and raising or answering questions in industry discussions.
Here are some additional tips to help you identify ways to get the most out of your LinkedIn efforts:
- Review your strategic objectives and think about how LinkedIn can help you achieve these.
- Define exactly what it is you would like to get out of LinkedIn and determine how much time you are willing to invest.
- Review your profile regularly to keep it up-to-date and informative.
- Make sure you have a professional profile picture that doesn’t resemble a ‘selfie,’ a mug shot or a weekend happy snap.
- Be selective with who you connect with, as your connections reflect on you. Don’t be afraid to decline a request to connect if you believe it is inappropriate.
- If possible, assist your connections to broaden their networks, and work to broaden yours as well.
- LinkedIn is a two-way street – be sure to endorse your connections and make recommendations where appropriate as well as asking people you have worked with to do the same for you.