Adding connections is not enough. To get the most from LinkedIn, you need to define your own strategy. Adding connections on LinkedIn is like getting leads to an offer with no backend monetization method. What sense does that make? Use the following questions to ask yourself as you develop your LinkedIn strategy:
Look at yourself and your own Industry and define the questions that you would ask LinkedIn to see if they are fit to answer them. Don't spend time on LinkedIn until you outlined what you hope to accomplish. Otherwise, “flying-blind” is where you will find yourself. Once goals are identified, then you can identify your strategy that will best help achieve those goals.
Here's a list you can use that will help expand your business, add value to every relationship you develop from LinkedIn and improve your overall effectiveness on LinkedIn. Some may be important to you than others, and don't be afraid to define your own steps that tailor to you personally, your brand and your business.
Create Your Own Group – Being a part of LinkedIn Groups is absolutely amazing to meet, connect and network with other people. Being the owner of a group automatically makes you the “authority” figure of the group. Setup as a closed group (at first) and only allow those you want in. Add value on a consistent basis – helpful articles and links
Recommendations – Be helpful and ALWAYS share on LinkedIn. Write as many recommendations for people you know as you can, and ask for them to do the same. Recommendations on LinkedIn work as testimonials anywhere else. They are the most popular form of “authority” and “trust” boosting that you can find and get.
Status Updates – Post them as frequently as you can find helpful information to your LinkedIn network. Tip: LinkedIn will alert your first degree connections on the new items you post. Consider posting not only articles and helpful links but slideshows, videos, pdf's. In your status updating telling people about the helpful information –Encourage them to share
Create Saved Searches – Make sure that you create “Saved Searches” on LinkedIn that uses the keywords that are most important to you. LinkedIn will notify you when someone who meets those search criteria enters your extended network. Using this tool on LinkedIn, literally brings related connections to you on AUTO-PILOT!
Profile Printing – If you are a power user, most likely you will have 500+ connections an some can get lost very quickly. Print the Profiles of those who seem most relevant and important to you. You can literally create an offline rolodex of people who can help you just by printing the profiles of those who interest you and putting them into a simple, organized folder.
Whether you choose to implement these, add to them or even create your own steps, you will be working towards expanding your business, adding value to the relationships you start to develop and improving your overall effectiveness on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is literally my #1 network to find new relationships, buy and sell leads directly. It beats any “paid traffic” source I've ever used.