Your prospects are already on LinkedIn. It’s just a matter of finding them and communicating with them in a way that opens the door to a sales conversation. Additional stats: Most users are 25-54 41% of users work for companies with more than 10,000 employees 12% of users are in sales
First, go to LinkedIn.com. From there, you’ll enter your first name, last name, email address, and a password you can remember. If you like, you can also use the information you already have in Facebook to create your account, but usually we recommend that you create a new account from scratch, just to make sure no personal information from Facebook is incorporated into your LinkedIn account. Once you’ve filled out all fields, click “Join LinkedIn”
Next, LinkedIn will ask you to fill in information about your current position. Fill in the required information and click “Create my profile.”
One of the best ways to increase your connections quickly is to search your email contacts. LinkedIn will scan your address book to see if your connections are on LinkedIn. Simply enter your email address and the password you use to access your email.
Here’s an example of a list of contacts pulled from an email account. Go through individually and choose who you’d like to connect with. By default, all boxes are checked, but you can simply uncheck if you’d rather not connect with someone.
LinkedIn will also identify people from your address book who aren’t on LinkedIn. You can choose to invite them to join LinkedIn as well, or skip the step.
That’s it! You’ve finished the first few steps of creating a LinkedIn profile. You can choose to advertise that fact on your Facebook and/or Twitter account (if you have one). If not, just click “Skip this step.”
LinkedIn offers several different kinds of premium accounts, starting at $19.95/month. They allow you to see extended profile for every member, more search results, use special “InMail” to reach out to people outside your circles, see everyone who has viewed your profile, and a few other perks. In general, we do not recommend the premium accounts. You’re usually better off using your circles to reach out to people, and the benefits are fairly negligible for most people. If you are interested in a pro account, we recommend spending a few months getting comfortable with LinkedIn first. If you like it and find it useful, consider adding a pro account.
This is the main screen you’ll see when you log into LinkedIn. For now, we’re going to work on completing your profile. At the top of the screen, click on “Profile”
This is your profile. Currently, it’s missing a lot of information, and we’ll work on filling it in. Take a look at the completion bar on the right side of the screen. This offers handy tips on how to “complete” your profile. The more information you provide, the more complete your profile—and the easier it is for people to find and interact with you.
Adding a photo is critical to your LinkedIn success. For people who already know you, it helps them identify you. For new connections, it helps them see you as a real person, rather than just a faceless profile. When choosing a photo, make sure it’s a current, professional-looking headshot with you in business attire. Avoid photos that are too casual or have other people in the shot. Never use a photo that doesn’t show your face, or that has a child, pet or logo. Let everyone see you!
Once you’ve hit upload on your photo, you can choose to crop the photo to remove distracting background elements or other people in the shot so we can focus just on your smiling face.
Next, we’ll focus on completing your professional history. The fastest way to do this is to upload your resume. Simply take a Word document (or PDF or HTML file) with your current resume, and upload it as you would any other document.
Once you’ve uploaded the resume, LinkedIn will pull all of the relevant information. From there, you can go through and edit, add and format your profile to your desire. Make sure you do go through it at least once—sometimes formatting can be imported strangely. Take the time to make it look good!
Make sure to take the time to fill in your past positions. Don’t forget to include a description telling everyone what you did—these are a great opportunity to include keywords to help you get found in search.
Skills are another way to incorporate rich keywords into your profile. You can add up to 50 skills that help showcase your expertise. Take the time to add some now!
Under your basic settings, you have the option of adding a headline. This is the tag that shows up next to your name in search. For instance, you might use your job title and a sentence about what you really do. For instance, “Vice President of Business Development, Helping People With Their Energy Needs”
LinkedIn’s Outlook Connector tool allows you to easily integrate LinkedIn with your email. A quick download (see the link in the slide to download) will allow you to: See your connections’ recent LinkedIn activity from within Outlook Automatically gathers contact information as connections update it on LinkedIn and stores it within your Outlook address book Add connections from LinkedIn just by clicking the “add” button next to a connections name The Outlook tool is a great way to keep LinkedIn in the forefront of your mind and keep you current on your connections’ activities.
Once you’ve completed your profile, it’s time to start searching for connections. You should have already added some using your email address book, but you can also search for individual people. Simply use the search box at the top of the screen to search for the name of the person you wish to find. If it’s a common name, try narrowing it down. For instance, instead of simply searching “Lorraine Ball,” search for “Lorraine Ball, Indianapolis” or “Lorraine Ball, marketing”
Once you find the person you’re looking for, this is what you’ll be presented with. You can view some, but not all of their profile if you’re not connected with her. There are three kinds of connections on LinkedIn: first, second and third degree. A first degree connection is someone you have added to your network. To do that, click on “Add Lorraine to your Network”
From there, you’ll be taken to a page where you can classify how you know this person. Be aware—if you choose “Other” or “I don’t know Lorraine,” you’ll be required to enter that person’s email address to prove you know them. As you can see, LinkedIn will supply a generic connection message. We strongly suggest NOT using this generic message. Instead…
Take the time to create a unique message. It takes only a few seconds, but can make a huge difference in how you’re perceived. If it’s someone you know, reference something about them—the last time you saw each other, their kids, their job, something that shows you remember and care about them as people. If they’re someone you don’t know, introduce yourself and tell them why you’re interested in connecting. You can even keep a few stock requests saved in a Word document. When you want to connect with someone, just copy and paste, add their name to personalize it, and voila! You’re on your way.
It is ultimately not about what you know, but who you know. And how well you know them As you can see, there are three degrees of connections on LinkedIn. However, only the first two are really useful. Obviously, first degree connections are people you know and can reach out to. But second degree connections are where the power of LinkedIn really comes in. By leveraging your first degree connections, you can ask for introductions to people you haven’t met and expand your own professional network. For instance… First degree connections: People you’ve connected with Second degree connections: People who are connected with your first degree connections Third degree: People who are connected to your second degree connections
Another way of finding connections it to use your alumni network. When you’re filling out your profile, don’t forget to add your educational background—undergrad and grad. With that in your profile, you can choose to search for alumni.
Scan through the list and make smart decisions about who to request. Don’t invite everyone who went to your college—either limit it to people you know, or to people who would be good strategic connections. The alumni connection can help to open conversation based on what you have in common.
For each of your positions, current and past, you can see all colleagues who are on LinkedIn. Use this opportunity to reconnect with long-lost coworkers. You never know where they could be now, and how they can help you.
Again, go through the list and strategically select who to connect with. Make sure you either know the person or they’re in an industry that might be of interest to you—don’t request that everyone be your connection just because you can.
Using the LinkedIn search functionality, you can search for not only people, but for companies. For instance, if you want to reach out to someone at Twitter about their energy needs, just type Twitter into that search box and select “companies” from the drop down (it says “people” by default). The results will take you to not only a page with information on that company, but also any second degree connections you have within those companies. As you can see in this screenshot, I’m connected to two people at Twitter via two different acquaintances. How does this help me?
Once you click on the person you’d like to be introduced to, you can see their limited profile. It also clearly spells out how you’re connected to that person in the lower right hand corner. From here, you have a few options. You could just hit “Connect with J.B.” and fill out a regular connection request form, explaining that you’re interested in connecting with them and that you have a shared acquaintance (in this case, via Chuck). Or, you can use the LinkedIn “get introduced through a connection” feature.
Once you decide to ask for an introduction, you have several boxes to fill out. First, you’ll want to include both your email address and your phone number to make it as easy as possible for your target to get into touch with you on his or her own terms. Then, you’ll need to choose what “category” this request is—essentially, what you’re asking for. It could be a business deal, new venture, consulting request or one of several other options. Write a subject, just like an email subject line, and then a brief message explaining why you’re interested in connecting with that person. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to clearly describe the mutual benefit you’ll get from connecting.
You’ll also need to include a brief note to the person who connects the two of you. In an introduction, your first degree connection must choose whether or not to pass the message along to your intended target—it’s not automatic. So in your note, make sure to inform your connection why you’re interested in meeting the other person, and how it can benefit them. That will help them make a decision about passing on your introduction, or not. If they agree, your note will be passed on to your target. Please note that you can only have 5 pending invitations at one time. If one lays dormant for too long, you can withdraw it so it can be used on someone else.
LinkedIn has its own email messaging system in the site that allows you to send messages to people in your network. This allows you to get in touch with people, even if you don’t have their email address. Access the messaging system on the right side of any person’s profile, and send your message just like an email.
Recommendations are a great way to build your reputation on LinkedIn. They appear in your profile and help to establish your professional expertise in your area.
You can simply ask any connection of yours to write a recommendation. Simply select the position you’d like the recommendation for, enter the name of the person you’d like to ask, and write a personal note asking for their recommendation. Again, LinkedIn provides generic request text, but you’ll find yourself far more successful if you take the time to write a personalized request. Don’t limit yourself to asking for recommendations just from former supervisors—get creative! Ask former coworkers, clients and anyone else familiar with your work.
Another great way to garner attention, good will and reciprocal recommendations is to write recommendations for other people. Why is this so effective? Once you’ve written a review for someone, they’ll be sent a notification. Once they accept the recommendation and post it on their page, they’re taken to a screen where they’re in turn asked to write a recommendation for you. So by taking a few minutes to say nice things about someone else, you can reap the rewards!
LinkedIn offers a wealth of information. For instance, you can see how many connections you have at any one time—and how many second and third degree connections that grants you. It also gives you a chance to see who’s been looking at your profile.
With a basic free account, you can see who viewed your profile—assuming they’re a first or second degree connecting. If they’re a third degree connection or not connected in anyway, you can only see vague information, like “Someone at Microsoft,” or “A Business Development Manager in Indianapolis.” In general, we recommend not spending too much time paying attention to these stats, but they can be helpful.