photo credit: danksy
LinkedIn Guide:

If you have not figured it out by now, LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool. The possibilities really are endless, and if I can become successful from using it, then anyone can. But somehow, people just don’t understand why it’s useful, and how to use it to achieve their professional goals. I know I was unsure about how to use it, and in the first few months I still couldn’t figure out how to import my contacts. Sound familiar?

What does it mean to generate success on LinkedIn?

Success is determined on each individuals professional goals; finding a job, driving massive traffic to your website, generating quality targeted leads, increasing sales of any kind, finding a business partner, finding investors, promoting a company/product/event/service, finding the right service provider, becoming a globally recognized industry leader, and generating more income.

If the above paragraph describes something you are looking to achieve, then read on to learn about how to do this on LinkedIn.

How I Started Out

When I first got “LinkedIn” I didn’t have a job, had zero products or services to provide, and had very little work experience. I was a twenty four year old struggling professional athlete without a college degree and just got out of the hospital from a near life threatening surgery. I would say it was one of the lowest moments of my life, and I wasn’t sure what the future would hold.

One day, however, my most trusted mentor sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. This was the first time I had heard about the business-networking site, but I figured if my mentor was on it, I knew it was something I should be using as well. I was right. I noticed the potential when I first “linked in”, and the opportunities continue to overflow in abundance today.

The more I figured out how to use LinkedIn, the more opportunities unfolded, and it came to the point where there were to many to manage.

Where You Should Start

I have seen different people succeed from the way they set up their profile, so I am not going to tell you specifically what YOU should write in your summary, specialties, interests, awards, etc… However, I will tell you it is important to fill out your profile 100%. Once you do this, you will want to go through all of your e-mail accounts and add all of the people in your address book that are already on LinkedIn.

I would not recommend inviting people who are not currently on LinkedIn to join, unless you feel they could benefit from doing so. If you have Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, and anything else, see who is currently on LinkedIn, and send them an invite. If you have an Excel sheet with a list of e-mails, check to see who is on LinkedIn there as well, and add them.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to fill out your profile, and add all of the people you know to your network. After you complete your profile and build up your connections, start making recommendations for quality people in your network. The more recommendations you make, the better.

5 Steps To Creating A Rockstar LinkedIn Profile

These guidelines are the bare necessities for a LinkedIn profile. There are a million ways to make your profile phenomenal. But with these 5 pillars, you will start to build the foundation for a successful profile.

1. Headline

Be descriptive! Pack your headline full of descriptive words that will help people find you. Having “Financial advisor at a lame old company” doesn’t cut it. Instead write something more interesting like “Money Making Expert: Helping Individuals Become Financially Free”.

2. URL

Customize your URL with your name! LinkedIn provides you with a generic URL of numbers and letters. By customizing it to your own name, you brand yourself and also bump yourself up on search results when someone searches for your name. You can also add this to your email signature and other social networking sites for reference.

3. Picture

Let people associate your face with who you are! No one wants to connect with a blank image. So by putting up a photo, you humanize your LinkedIn profile and let people know that there’s a real person behind the profile.

4. Websites

When adding your websites, always click “Other” so you can customize the title of your links. You want to describe the actual URL. For example, instead of clicking “My Company”, I put “My LinkedIn Book”.

5. Summary and Specialties

These are easy to skip over, but they’re very important! In the Summary, tell people a bit about who you are and what you are passionate about. Instead of the “real world” resume, you can be a little more personal on LinkedIn and it actually benefits to your cause. The Specialties section is where you can list all of the things that you do best (ie. Blogging, public speaking, online marketing, sports management, inventing, product development)

There is obviously more one should do once they finish these 5 steps, but this is a must for every profile and a good place to get started.

What’s Next?

Continue to update your profile and add new connections. The more updates you make and connections you add, this will do three things:

1. When you update your profile you are making it more complete and in tune with what your current goals are. You want to make sure you don’t have something on there from six months back that isn’t relevant to your work experience today.
2. When you add new connections you make, this increases your 2nd and 3rd degree connections. For those of you new to LinkedIn, this increases your reach to a larger network where you can find and be found be more individuals.
3. Every time you update something on your profile, or add a new connection it shows up on all of the home profiles of your direct connections. This creates another opportunity for people to read your name, build personal brand equity, and think about your for a possibly opportunity.

Reach The Next Level

The best way to really utilize LinkedIn is to get involved with groups, and Q&A. Lets start with groups. Groups are extremely important when trying to achieve your goals on LinkedIn. We are all trying to achieve something whether its finding a job, finding more business leads, promoting a service or product, reconnecting with friends, etc. The best way and easiest way to do this is to join the groups where the people you are targeting are in.

All you need to do is search groups in your industry, niche, interests, hobby, etc… and join them. It’s that simple.

Why is this important?

Unless you have someone’s e-mail address, you went to school with them, or you are a current or past collogues, you will need to upgrade your profile to contact these individuals. However, you can connect with these individuals easier by joining the same groups and sending them a thoughtful personal message within the group. And if you can create a group and build a large targeted following then you have even more opportunities to enhance yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Questions and Answers is the other section of LinkedIn that proves to be extremely valuable. The more thought provoking questions you can ask, the more quality answers you will receive and likely make quality connections from those same individuals.

By asking compelling questions, you open yourself up to receive top advice from some of the leading experts on the subject matter. You would have to pay someone to receive some of the great advice you receive in these answers, but on LinkedIn, people freely give you their advice.

Why do they do this? Because answering questions allows you to increase your chances of being thought of as a thought leader, and build your personal awareness with those in your industry. I have encountered a number of individuals who only spend their time answering questions, and in return they receive countless consulting jobs for some large paying fees.

There is much more to LinkedIn including the events section (which I use to promote events and get over 500 people to attend), the news section within the groups (which I use to update articles and drive organic traffic to my website), or any of the well-developed advanced applications that LinkedIn provides. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool – there is no doubt about that. And as LinkedIn continues to develop and modify its model and applications, it will only benefit you during your quest to achieve your professional goals.

Connect With Me

You can find me on LinkedIn and many other social networking platforms. I look forward to hearing from you!

Lewis Howes

LinkedIn Website: http://www.linkedworking.com
LinkedIn Book: http://www.LinkedWorkingBook.com
LinkedIn Toolkit: http://www.ultimatelinkedintoolkit.com
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lewishowes
Connect on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lewishowes
Sports Networker: http://www.sportsnetworker.com

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