Notice how much LinkedIn has changed this year? It’s practically an entirely new social network.
How can you make sure you’re profiting from their latest changes to build a profitable network? Study the Ultimate Guide to Profitable LinkedIn Networking infographic. It outlines 64 powerful tactics in eight categories; use it as a menu to pick and choose the ones the suit you & your business.
Browse the explanations of each tactic, why it’s important, and what it can do for you.
Remember to share this infographic with your own network, using the social buttons at the top & bottom of this post.
The biggest sign you’re an amateur on LinkedIn is not uploading a headshot to your profile, or using an unprofessional one. You’re here to make B2B connections, so present yourself as a professional by investing in and using a polished headshot. Your logo isn’t you: let people see you and get to know you.
Make finding you easy on LinkedIn by using the popular keywords people use when searching for your products/services. Your headline, summary, skills & expertise should all contain the most-used keywords for your industry.
This is the web address of your individual LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn initially creates a URL with your name followed by a long string of numbers, and it’s simple to change that to something easier to link to as well find in search. Decide whether you want to use your name or your keywords in your URL.
A new feature of LinkedIn is the ability to add video, photos, PDFs, and audio to almost any section of your profile. LinkedIn calls this the Gallery, and it’s a powerful way to set yourself apart using an introductory video, free whitepaper, screenshot of your website, or other key resource.
LinkedIn doesn’t consider your profile 100% complete until you have at least two recommendations. That’s critical, as your profile won’t rank well in LinkedIn search until it’s 100% complete.
Both LinkedIn free and premium accounts tell you who’s been viewing your profile recently. Reach out to those people and offer to be helpful: introduce yourself and make a genuine connection. You never know where it will lead.
You can add hyperlinks to your profile as calls-to-action. Make the most of your profile by giving people actionable steps to connect with you, get a free resource, or call you.
Each profile has a Contact Info section, and this is a hugely underused tool. You can add up to three hyperlinks here, and customize them so they are calls-to-action instead of just the standard Website, Blog, and Email links.
Think of your company page as a mini-website within LinkedIn. Yes, it’s that awesome. You can add a banner to your page, include videos and testimonials for each product, and write posts as your business.
Add your most popular product/service offerings, including keywords and a detailed description. This lets people see exactly what you offer within the traditional LinkedIn company page format, without having to search on your website.
If you have a video for each of your offerings, add it to your page. Video immediately attracts visitor’s interest, puts a human face to your brand, and allows you to make a connection.
Be detailed about what you offer, ensuring your descriptions includes answers to the most frequently-asked questions about your products. Also consider stamping out objections here as well.
Just like you can get a recommendation from another LinkedIn user for your profile, you can do the same for each of your products. Recommendations are a much stronger credibility-builder than endorsements, as your clients can include specific details about their results with you.
Write posts from your business at least once per week to keep your brand visible. LinkedIn removed the ability to do this via RSS feeds with their latest updates, so create a schedule and be consistent with your posts.
When writing posts from your personal profile, link to your product pages so readers can view your offerings within LinkedIn. This is a quick way to highlight your products/services without people having to leave LinkedIn.
LinkedIn offers excellent analytics about visitor traffic to your page, as well as demographic data about your visitors including job title, geographic location, industry, and more.
LinkedIn’s powerful search feature goes largely untapped by many a small business owner. Don’t count yourself as one of them. Search for individuals within your target demographic, invite them to connect, and start building profitable relationships.
Not sure where to start building your strategic network? Start here, with alumni from your alma mater. Don’t limit yourself to only fellow students: search here for staff and professors as well. They can be a wealth of connections and advice.
You can search for potential connections at a specific company, so if you’ve previously worked at IBM, had Coca-Cola as a client, or want to reach out to people you met at a recent trade show, LinkedIn makes it easy using the Company search filter. Reach out to colleagues you’ve worked with at past employers, existing contacts vendors and professional associations, and potential leads at target organizations.
Here’s where you can get local: if your clients are located within a specific region, you can filter your search results by location. If you know your most profitable clients tend to be in certain zip codes or cities, focus your networking by using this powerful search filter. If you’ve got an upcoming meeting in another city, search for potential leads you can connect with while you’re on the road.
Few people know about this outstanding time-saver: you can save the searches that yield the most promising target connections and have LinkedIn email the results to you weekly. You get new contacts matching your ideal demographic without having to spend time searching for them. Savvy marketers use this feature as their own sales force.
With a Basic account you can save up to three searches and have their results emailed to you weekly. Use this feature to yield the most profitable leads for your business, whether they be for potential sales, strategic alliances, or joint ventures. Premium account holders get additional searches and more results.
Get ultra-specific by searching for connections within LinkedIn Groups or specific companies. If you serve clients in the accounting niche, this is where you can search for connections within groups you belong to or by a particular firm.
Looking for a new career or need your first job? LinkedIn search will yield far better results than generic online recruiting sites where you’re resume never gets viewed by a human. If petrochemical research is your dream job, you can look for connections within that industry and start building foundational relationships that could be your answer.
The new Gallery feature is a smart and simple way to add photos, video, .PDFs, and audio to your profile. Gallery replaces the old apps that you had to use to add any external content. You can no longer import your blog’s RSS feed; instead, write an update that links to the post.
Any section of your profile, from Summary to Experience, can have a gallery associated with it (Projects cannot have a gallery). You can also reorder your sections, so if your Work Experience is what you want viewers to see first, you can move that to the top of your profile.
Add photos to showcase your most popular products, your latest conference lecture, or your brick & mortar store. Video has enormous potential here as a friendly 30-second introduction and how-to solutions that showcase your expertise. PDFs are valuable as reports or whitepapers.
You can add a short description to each gallery item. Solve people’s pain points here, and insert a URL where people can learn more. While LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to add a hyperlink to the description, people can copy & paste the URL into their browser.
LinkedIn superconnectors have one common element: a polished, brief introductory video on their profile. They greet you, give their elevator pitch, and tell you how to best get in touch with them. If you have the budget for a slick, professionally produced video, go for it. If not, an authentic one using your smartphone video or digital camera works just as well.
Solve a problem, give people a solution or an action they can take with your gallery titles, and visitors are far more likely to check out the descriptions. Tell people what your gallery resources will do for them with a compelling title that makes them curious enough to click to read more.
Include a call-to-action in the description, offering a bonus for LinkedIn users. For example, you could offer a free report with a bonus checklist if visitors use the code LINKEDIN. Make visitors feel like they’re getting something special with your call-to-action.
For best results, send visitors to a landing page (a special page created solely for the purpose of capturing these visitors and their contact information) exclusively for LinkedIn. Here’s where they can optin to your mailing list to get their special report and bonus. Welcome them with open arms, make it simple to optin, and solve their problem, and you’ve established yourself as a valuable, trusted resource.
Groups tend to have a spammy reputation because so many LinkedIn users simply blast their marketing message in the discussions without ever doing any real networking. That makes it easy for you to stand out by being authentic.
Before making the plunge to join a group, ask trusted colleagues for the groups they use the most. Notice which groups get recommended over and over again, and you’ll immediately know which ones hold value for you.
LinkedIn groups are either open or closed: open groups allow you to review their members and discussions before joining, while closed groups don’t. Search for groups related to your industry and review the open ones for what types of interactions and engagement happen here.
When you view a LinkedIn group, you’ll see which connections are members. You’ll notice a trend here: some members join as many groups as they can, in hopes of raising their profile visibility. They show up in almost every relevant group but do little to add value to the discussions. Other, more thoughtful connections, join only those groups they’re truly interested in participating in. Look for those thoughtful members in your groups.
Once you join a group, do an introductory discussion introducing yourself, what you do, and what you hope to provide and get from the group. You’ll immediately be welcomed by the group’s most active members.
Discussions are the heart of groups, and you can set yourself apart as an expert and a valuable connection by responding to member’s question. Be helpful here; don’t use discussions as a marketing opportunity. Some groups will remove your response and your discussion from the group for doing so.
A key benefit of joining a group is it immediately increases your profile visibility: anytime members search for your products/services, you’ll show up in their results. Your profile photo and link also appear in group discussions, and you’ll find you get new connections requests and profile views from group members.
Groups have many knowledgeable members who enjoy assisting others, so start a discussion and ask a genuine question you need help with. It’s a great way to find smart solutions, savvy connections, and expand your reach within LinkedIn.
While more connections do expand your network and visibility in Search, the quality of your connections will be the deciding factor in whether or not people decide to do business with you. Expand your network wisely, focus on those connections most likely to be interested in your products/services, and you’ll see the most success here.
A simple place to start expanding your LinkedIn network is with your college alumni and co-workers, both current and past. Six degrees of separation no longer exists in today’s uber-connected world, and you never know who your connections could introduce you to.
Remember to include your clients — after all, they are your biggest fans and can provide recommendations for your business. Also include any vendors you use and trust. After all, if you’re a client, it’s likely that many of their other clients would be interested in connecting with you as well.
Bosses and colleagues at past employers are some of the best connections you can cultivate on LinkedIn. They know the quality of your work and your character, and are likely to introduce you to their own network connections. Employment is no longer a lifetime guarantee, and everyone keeps their options open. Use that to your advantage.
Remember your favorite college professor? She’s likely to be on LinkedIn, as are your mentors, advisors, and counselors. Their vocation is helping others, and they often go further in helping their contacts than other professionals on LinkedIn. Be sure to reach out to them.
If you’re using Search on a regular basis — or having Saved Searches emailed to you — invite those potential connections to become a contact. You can then search their contacts for potential leads, exponentially enlarging your network.
Who are the top thought leaders and respected professionals in your field? If you could meet any one of them at a conference (if you could get through the crowds), who would it be? Why not reach out to them on LinkedIn? If they use it regularly, instead of having a profile they rarely use, they’ll almost always be open to new connections.
Superconnectors are those individuals who have large networks of diverse professionals from a wide variety of industries, and who enjoy introducing people to forge new relationships. Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, is a superconnector. Lawyers, politicians, restauranteurs, and Chamber of Commerce directors are often superconnectors open to invitations to connect and create pay-it-forward relationships.
LinkedIn’s most popular new feature is the Endorsement: a one-click recommendation of a connection for a specific skill. No testimonial is necessary: just click on a specific skill for a connection and your head shot appears next to that skill, showing you endorse them. It’s a highly visual and simple way for LinkedIn to display the credibility of its users.
The first endorsements you’ll receive are those for skills you’ve already listed on your profile. Be focused here on both your strongest skills and those critical to the success of your industry. Have talent few others do? Definitely highlight those here and your profile will stand out.
Whenever you offer or receive a new endorsement, that activity appears in your connection’s latest News Feeds. So rather than endorse colleagues in a one-time session, it benefits you to spread out your endorsements over time for greater visibility for both you and your connections.
Endorsements don’t allow you to go into detail about why your colleague is awesome at blogging or marketing. It’s one-click ease simply displays their headshot next to your skill as an endorsement. LinkedIn’s Recommendations offer the ability to write a detailed description of why you recommendation a connection, and a compelling story here definitely helps people understand the degree to which this person actually made a difference for you.
LinkedIn emails you when you receive a new endorsement on your profile. Use this as a reminder to send that person a gracious “Thank You” in a LinkedIn message. Most people don’t thank their endorsers, and you’ll stand out from the rest as someone who went the extra mile.
Start giving Endorsements with those whom you have a long-standing working relationship. They’ll be honored to have received your “seal of approval” and will likely do the same in return.
Because you cannot add context or detail to Endorsements, use this feature wisely. Only endorse those connections with whom you have a genuine working relationship and can honestly say to a connection, “You can trust this person.”
Endorsements are the “lite” version of LinkedIn Recommendations, which allow you to write a detailed testimonial of a connections work and your experience from it. The appeal of Endorsements is their quick one-click ability; Recommendations take time and thought to do well.
One LinkedIn profile tends to look the same as the next, unless you have Recommendations, which set you apart from the crowd as having earned a testimonial. LinkedIn considers these so critical that your profile isn’t considered 100% complete until you have two testimonials.
The key to getting Recommendations? Ask. Your first group to tap? Your best clients — those with whom you have a long-standing relationship.
A good Recommendation takes time and thought to do well: you can’t just whip something off and be done with it. That means your connections will appreciate it all the more when you provide a Recommendation for them. Do this consistently and you’ll have generated enormous good will among your network.
The best Recommendations are specific, not only in what skills the person has, but in how they benefited you. What character traits do they have that set them apart? General Recommendations hold little true value, but one flush with details is pure gold.
If you want a Recommendation from your last employer but she’s not a LinkedIn user, you’re out of luck. Only people with a LinkedIn profile can Recommend you on this social network. So when asking for Recommendations, ask from those who are on LinkedIn, and that they provide it in LinkedIn (instead of via email or other less visible location).
Providing a Recommendation to a client bolsters that working relationship in a way that few other things do. Recommendations are a rare currency, and can only be earned. When you offer one for a valued client, you’ve strengthened that bond and furthered the trust between you.
The savviest LinkedIn users create a systemized way of asking for Recommendations on a regular basis. I’ve seen this done in multiple places, including websites and email signatures. “We’d be honored if you provided our business with a LinkedIn Recommendation” and include hyperlink to the exact location to do so.
Recommendations are the deep dive into details that is missing from Endorsements. Recommendation = comprehensive testimonial. Endorsement = thumbs up.
Now you have the tools and advice to begin building a profitable network on LinkedIn. What was new that you didn’t know before? How well are you using LinkedIn to generate leads and new opportunities? The infographic provides you with a “to do list” of profile improvements. Identify every tactic you haven’t done yet and commit to 10 minutes a day to implement it.