Maximizing LinkedIn, Part 4: Building Your Network: Advanced
The following tips will help you begin to use LinkedIn effectively by showing you how to actively use the site rather than sitting around waiting for people to reach out to you. Try one a day and build up your LinkedIn chops from “novice” to “expert” status in a short period of time.
People Search: Use the People Search link in the upper right hand corner of nearly every LinkedIn page. Using the quick-search feature may not be as effective as the Advanced People Search. You can search the LinkedIn database on every imaginable field, from a person’s name or industry to his or her virtual proximity to you. Searching LinkedIn is a free and easy way to build up your prospect business-intelligence and gather information about them.
Companies: LinkedIn’s Companies database is another treasure trove of useful information for insurance producers. When you find a company that interests you, click once to “Follow” that company and receive updates on its hires and other news.
Connections: Browse your first-degree connections’ connections (2nd Degree Connections) to find someone you’d like to talk to. Make sure you appeal to the recipient and aren’t just asking a favor. You can make contact with the one-hop-away networker using the “Get Introduced Through” function.
Answers: LinkedIn Answers is a feature that lets you ask and answer questions among the massive LinkedIn user community. You should begin to explore using Answers to inquire about questions people have regarding insurance. You should also respond to queries posted by others on insurance related topics. Answering and posting your own LinkedIn questions adds to your understanding of various topics and increases your networking visibility and credibility.
Groups: LinkedIn Groups are magnificent idea-sharing and networking tools because they bring together subsets of the overall LinkedIn population, making it easy to converse and view one another’s profiles. Some Groups require approval from the moderator to join.
Updates: Just like other social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn updates keep your network current on what’s new in your life and work. Remember, your audience is other business professionals. Your updates should not sell! They should provide good information.
Recommendations: LinkedIn recommendations are an essential piece of the online networking-and-branding puzzle, but they require a bit more thought and care. It’s possible to ask people to recommend you on LinkedIn, but I recommend endorsing others first and letting them return the favor for you (LinkedIn prompts them to endorse you once you’ve completed a Recommendation for them).
You must have a first-degree connection with someone in order to endorse them. Make sure your endorsements are pithy and specific. The presence of Recommendations on your LinkedIn profile improves your results in database searches… and LinkedIn endorsements have their own power, especially if they’re well-written.
Following these tips will help you reap the benefits of networking using LinkedIn.