Why you must always be networking – and Linkedin is the key (part 3)

So you want to be a power networker? In this economy, you need to cultivate as many positive connections as you can. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve discussed the networking site LinkedIn and how it can be an enormous benefit in helping you expand your sphere of influence. 

This week, in the last of this series (for part 1, click here, and for part 2, click here), I detail how you can use your LinkedIn homepage to its fullest advantage; think of it as a résumé on steroids. 

First, let me start by saying that your homepage is infinitely searchable, both by LinkedIn’s internal search engine (which has recently been upgraded to “super” strength) and the major search engines. Make sure all of your relevant previous positions, titles and duties/job descriptions are visible on your homepage if searched. Your “summary” also should contain searchable keywords. Same goes for your “interests” and education. 

Next, add some Web site links to your homepage. You can link up to three outside Web sites. My homepage has links to my Web site and my personal blog. Don’t just accept the default titles for the headings, either. You can add specifics. For example, instead of using the default title, “my blog,” I’ve listed, “Gilbert Direct Marketing Blog,” an easy tweak from the “edit my profile” tab.

While on the subject of blogs, LinkedIn has added some great new features in the past few months. One gives you the ability to have a WordPress blog link directly to your homepage. Other new applications include:

  • the ability to add and share files within your network;
  • a tool to upload presentations to further promote your work (portfolio, whitepapers, etc.);
  • Amazon.com reading lists to recommend books to your network; and
  • the opportunity to let your network know your travel plans and meet up with people in the area at the same time via TripIt.com.

I’m having a great deal of fun and success using the WordPress blog application. In less than a month, I’ve had 2,000 hits on my blog thanks to LinkedIn. The blog took me minutes to set up and about 30 seconds to add to my LinkedIn homepage. Of course, you need some content; mine is specific to direct marketing. 

From there, I started using the “questions” feature to ask for help promoting the blog. Many people visited the blog, left comments and offered great suggestions. I did the same thing in the groups I belong to. Now every time I add a new article, it automatically appears on LinkedIn. Also, when I publish a new article (about twice a week), I post a link to the “news” section for my groups. (FYI, my blog address is https://gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/; don’t forget to leave a comment.)

Lastly, underneath the search bar on the top right of each page is a “search for references” link. This is a great tool to use to get background info on people you work with. Want to know the real scoop about someone you’re about to hire or the new boss that just hired you? Use that tool, and make some discreet inquiries.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line at jimdirect@aol.com.

Make sure you check out my column next week, when I’ll provide coverage for Catalog Success of this week’s NCDM conference in Orlando, Fla.

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