professional development

How to make the most of your LinkedIn connections

Catriona Pollard /

Last time, we looked at how to build contacts on LinkedIn, the  key social media platform for professionals.

But once you have built your connections, how do you maximise the opportunities of your new, expansive network? Here are some ideas.

Start a group

You may be a member of many LinkedIn groups, but have you ever thought about starting a LinkedIn group? It’s an effective way of showcasing your expertise and building your profile as a thought leader in your industry.

You can name your group after your company, such as LeadingCompany, or your industry, such as Australian Marketing Group. I started the group, PR & Social Media for Businesses, which relates to the work we do and so we can have genuine discussions around these topics.

Think strategically about what your target audience will be searching for.

When you start a group, invite all of your contacts to join, and ask your team members to do the same. This is a great way to build up membership quickly.

Groups are not ‘set and forget’. You need to start interesting discussions by posting articles or blog posts to highlight your knowledge and further build your profile as an expert in your industry.

Get involved

There are thousands of groups already created on LinkedIn. Even if you have your own one, you should join others relating your industry, and the industries of your clients or customers, and become an active member.

Other LinkedIn groups are a great place to share your expertise and knowledge with people outside your contacts through either posting your own articles or blog posts, or commenting on others’.

Don’t just share your own links though; ensure you are adding value to the conversation by commenting on other posts and answering questions if you know the answer.

Share updates

This is an often ignored feature in LinkedIn. Use the “Share an Update” box at the top of your LinkedIn home page to add valuable information.

You should be doing this once a day as it will show up in the feed of your connections, ensuring you stay top of mind.

You may like to post an interesting article, blog post or quote relating to your area of expertise or industry. When sharing a URL, simply paste the URL into the status box and the article link and image will automatically appear. You can also post news about your business or your own career, such as award wins or a new business win.

Link your blog

In LinkedIn you can add your blog to your profile through the BlogLink application, so every time you post on your blog it automatically posts to LinkedIn as well.

This will help build your profile and increase your role as a thought leader to your connections. It also means you don’t have to remember to post your blog to your LinkedIn page each time you add a new post!

Media contacts

Journalists use LinkedIn too, just like other professionals.

If you have done a media interview, or interacted with a journalist in some way, connect with them on LinkedIn.

Next time they are writing an article about something within your areas of expertise, they may remember you and ring you for some quotes.

Don’t barrage them by trying to communicate with them every day, but an occasional comment on something they have posted will go a long way in ensuring you are remembered by them.

The key to LinkedIn (and all social media) is to treat it as real-life networking. Don’t just talk about yourself but add value to your connections, and you will start to reap the rewards.

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Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard is the director of CP Communications and the author of From Unknown To Expert,

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