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Building a Network on LinkedIn : Top Tips from an Expert

This is a guest contribution from Jessica Jones  who is a LinkedIn coach, social media content writer and trainer living on the Isle of Man. Known for using hashtags such as #Linkydinks, #weenuggets and #Thlinking, Jessica’s mission is to increase accessibility to LinkedIn and remove the barriers to joining the platform.

LinkedIn has traditionally been known as the place to go to create a digital CV, read professional articles and engage on dry topics – a platform for professionals.

But things have changed a lot over on LinkedIn. This is no longer a platform restricted to ‘suits and high-level qualifications’. It is now being used by everyone and anyone – from marketing managers to solopreneurs, job seekers to those running charity projects.

People no longer check in on LinkedIn just once a week or so, they are spending more time there – engaging daily, finding leads and opportunities, promoting their missions and values, and even socialising.

Clearly, there’s a lot more to LinkedIn than you once might have thought. It is home to a wealth of talent and variety to entertain, inspire, motivate, nurture creativity and add value to your life or business.

So how can you go about building network on LinkedIn when it is already so huge to build a solid audience, access more potential clients and bring more value with your skills?

Using LinkedIn to build an engaging network

With LinkedIn you get out what you put in.

When it comes to building a network who support you, your content and objectives, you’ve got to put the work in to reap the rewards.

Linkedin Connect Graphic

  • Connect with similar industries and like-minded people to help build up your confidence on LinkedIn and ultimately feel connected, supported and engaged. This is especially important if you work as a solopreneur or freelancer.
  • To really get the most out of LinkedIn, connect with other industries and different profiles. The beauty of this platform is that it is so diverse with so many different viewpoints and individual missions – you never know who you will connect with, learn from and build relationships with.
  • Don’t just connect locally – start conversations with people in different countries. Again, it’s amazing who you can meet.
  • Use LinkedIn on a daily basis – checking it every few days just won’t cut it. That said, don’t feel pressurised to post every single day as this can take up a lot of headspace.
  • It’s not just about creating content, you also need to engage with the comments and likes you receive. Don’t worry if you aren’t receiving any likes or comments straight away, these can take a while to build up.

The art of posting great content

To attract and maintain engagement with your profile you should aim to post a variety of content.

Some of the main types of content are:

  • Opinion on profession/skill/industry
  • Tips and advice
  • Inspiration, stories, personal updates, conversation starters, quotes
  • Promoting others, ‘movements’ and arranged projects
  • Entertaining content

Generally speaking, content should be 80% value-based and 20% any kind of self-promotion. The trick is to turn your content into self-promotion naturally – without the sales pitch!

Next, there are certain points to consider when drafting a post:

  • Give information about your journey
  • Be inclusive
  • Invite others to give their views
  • Raise questions – this encourages engagement and conversation
  • Make content accessible
  • Be careful with jargon, acronyms and industry specific words – they may be second language to you, but others may not understand these terms
  • Break up your text into paragraphs – nobody wants to read through one long trawl of text
  • Vary your sentence length – too many lengthy, complex sentences are difficult to read
  • Make use of imagery, metaphors and stories where possible
  • Don’t be afraid to use emojis, hashtags, headings and bullet points
  • Let your personality and energy shine through – this can really resonate with your audience

By posting quality content a few times a week, you will really start to see the benefits and enjoy the engagement that your content attracts.

Engaging with your network

When building up a network, don’t be afraid of engaging with others:

  • First-degree connections and further afield
  • Micro-influencers – these are people with a smaller following than an influencer, but the key is that they are likely to engage and are therefore very valuable
  • Influencers

Don’t be shy and remember – profiles want you to engage with their content. This helps improve the visibility of their content as, the more engagement a post receives, the more it is shown in the newsfeed by LinkedIn’s algorithm.

Why comments are a LinkedIn goldmine

Likes on posts are appreciated, but comments are the golden nuggets.

Comments help to get your profile noticed, build relationships with the profile owner and also help to build you own reputation and ranking on LinkedIn.

Comments are the Gold Nuggets graphic

Although a simple ‘agree’ might be OK for other platforms, on LinkedIn, the devil is in the detail. A great comment should:

  • Be lengthy on in-depth subjects
  • Demonstrate your knowledge, skills and experience
  • Compliment the content, showing your own opinion on the writer’s views – whether you agree or disagree, giving reasons from your experience

Don’t limit your commenting solely to your first-degree network (your direct connections.) You should also reach out to second and third degree connections if you see these posts within your newsfeed. After all, these posts have been served up to you by the LinkedIn algorithm meaning they are likely to be interesting, engaging and quality.

In terms of what you write in your comments, I would suggest the following:

  • Give an example of something that has happened to you or draw from your current experience
  • Supply reasoning to support your comment
  • Ask a question
  • Raise a related topic that will bolster the post and increase value for people/opportunities to engage
  • Use some humour, but don’t go too far off topic in the initial comment
  • Show your appreciation of the profile and the value that they provide you with

LinkedIn Algorithm: how it can help you

An important factor to consider when building your network and raising your profile on LinkedIn is the algorithm. This is how content is “sorted and served” to you in your feed. Top tips for helping your content do well on LinkedIn on are to:

1. Engage frequently

2. Engage with profiles that are ACTIVE on LinkedIn

3. Build “inner networks” to help and support one other’s content

4. Post a variety of content and don’t post links to external sites/sources

5. Try to get engagement within the first hour of posting. Of course, you don’t want to overthink this but a few hints definitely helps!”

To tag or not to tag

Tagging is simply the process of using the @ sign in front of a profile name to make the name clickable. This means others can view that person’s profile, follow them or send them a connection request.

The person being tagged will receive a notification, so in essence it is like a call to action for them to engage.

This helps your content get likes as it increases the chances that your post will receive likes early on. This is something the LinkedIn algorithm considers when grading content.

There has been a lot of talk about tagging on LinkedIn, so exactly who do you tag, why do you tag, and should you even tag?

In my view, tagging should be used when:

  • The post contains information you are responding to
  • You are working together as colleagues on a project or movement
  • When asking for a professional opinion from profiles to build on your content
  • You have a relationship with the person and agree to tag freely
  • A micro-influencer has offered this – maybe to help give feedback to you on a first video or an article for example

Of course, you can tag who you like and be tagged by any number of people. A big influencer wouldn’t complain about being tagged because this is one of the many reasons they have become an influencer.

LinkedIn is an open platform, and with your own profile you can choose to tag or not to tag. My advice would be to limit your tagging to the reasons above.

Next Steps – ready to start building up your LinkedIn network?

We hope you enjoyed Jessica’s tips and advice on how to successfully build up a network on LinkedIn. For more guidance follow her profile or search #Linkydink, #weenuggets or #thlinking.

If you are using LinkedIn and other social media platforms for business why not check out Report Central’s guide to 5 essential time saving templates that make your life that little bit easier?

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