Establishing yourself as an expert using LinkedIn is a great way to build your business, whether you work for yourself or you are a CEO of a business. The trick is using it correctly, consistently and creatively. Here are 10 Steps to Build Your Expertise & Reputation On LinkedIn
1. Build a Standout Profile
I often compare a LinkedIn profile to a mini-website that drives traffic to your maxi-website. Your profile is often the first place a potential customer goes to check you out, even before they visit your website. Your profile needs to stand out from all the others and it needs to explain the customer why they should be working with you. A well optimized profile confirms credibility in you and your offering. If you need help building such a profile, check out the LinkedIn Profile Quick Fix.
2. Publish Original Articles
Whether you publish directly on LinkedIn with LinkedIn Pulse, or you publish on your blog and link to them via your status, it’s important to publish articles that show your expertise and establish your knowledge on a topic.
3. Engage in Discussions
Demonstrate your expertise on LinkedIn Groups. Join ongoing discussions and show people what you know by discussing information intelligently, without trying to sell anything. Let your personality and expertise shine through in all your answers and questions.
4. Contribute Constructively
It’s imperative that your contributions on LinkedIn are professional and constructive. Don’t share anything which does not relate to business, such as information about your cat or your kids. Make sure everything you share or do has a goal or purpose.
5. Connect Strategically
While it’s tempting to connect with everyone, don’t do it. Connect with people that you feel that either you can help, or who can help you. There is no reason to connect with people just for the sake of being connected to a lot of people. But also don’t restrict your network only to people you’ve met in person. LinkedIn is like an offline networking event. You go there to meet people. Read this post where I go over my connection strategy.
6. Build Real Relationships
The most important aspect of a social network is to build relationships, and that includes a professional social network.
7. Resist Making the “Big Sale”
Do not send an InMail upon connection, trying to sell anyone anything. Take the time to get to know people before you try to sell anyone anything. People do not like being “sold” to. In fact, the sale never happens on LinkedIn. Take the sale conversations offline (email, phone, meeting).
8. Recommend Others
When given the opportunity, and knowledge, offer recommendations for others without being asked. If someone did a good job for you in the past, connect with them and recommend them. Read this post on ‘How to give a top quality recommendation on LinkedIn.’
9. Get Recommendations
Ask people you’ve worked with and for to give you recommendations by sending a personalized message to them through LinkedIn. Remind them what you did for them, and ask politely for the recommendation by providing a link. Read this post on ‘How do I ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn‘.
10. Create Your Own LinkedIn Group
A really great way to establish expertise is to create a group that would attract your target audience. By starting a group, and keeping it active with ongoing discussions, job boards and more, you will become a thought leader on LinkedIn. Read this post on ‘How to use LinkedIn Groups to generate leads‘.
LinkedIn is a well-respected social network for business people who are serious about making things happen. Building your reputation as an expert on LinkedIn may take some time and effort. However, it will be more than worth it.