(Photo by Flickr user Joi Ito)
According to a recent article published by Business Insider, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman believes too many LinkedIn users are using the site incorrectly.
From Business Insider:
“LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It’s up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, ‘Would you introduce me?’ you’re in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit.”
We had a chance to catch up with Keri Betters, senior community coordinator with The Archer Group, and Heather Lumb, digital marketing specialist at Mobius New Media, who shared a few tips on how users can get the most out of their LinkedIn accounts.
Connect with people you know on a professional level.
While LinkedIn “suggests” users you can connect with based on your profile, Lumb recommends digging a little deeper and reaching out to former coworkers, classmates and professors and anyone that you may have networked with previously.
Betters encourages LinkedIn users to personalize their messages, before requesting to connect with other professionals.
“When sending a connection request, customize the message that goes along with it. LinkedIn automatically includes a message, but taking the time to personalize it shows you are an intentional communicator,” she said.
Engagement is key.
Your work isn’t done once you send a connection. In order to get the most out of LinkedIn, you have to engage with your peers. Lumb said LinkedIn is like a game, and the goal is to see if you can get your profile to reach 100 percent.
“LinkedIn is a massive professional networking lounge or a digital co-working café,” she explained. “Ask questions if you have a particularly frustrating problem in your work day in a niche group. LinkedIn members are incredibly helpful and insightful, and you never know where the conversation could go.”
Also, be sure to acknowledge other users’ accomplishments. Whether you give someone a recommendation, or congratulate them on their latest work anniversary, simply showing interest in other people is a great way to use LinkedIn.
“Interacting with others shows you’re on the platform to not only use it as a self-promotion tool, but to also contribute in the community, as well,” said Betters.
Make sure you put your best face forward.
Update your profile picture. Have a coworker snap a quick picture of you when you are dressed in your nicest gear.