10 Ways To Utilize LinkedIn for Industry Networking
LinkedIn is the original – and still the best – social networking site for business people looking to connect with other business people. It has millions of members, and – yes – many are in the construction equipment industry and the heavy duty truck industry. Join LinkedIn, and you’ll be in good professional company. But how can you actually benefit from LinkedIn?
Here are ten ways you can use the platform to improve your industry networking.
Under the Network tab, you’ll find several tools you can use go expand your cadre of trucking or equipment industry network with new people or folks you know in other ways. You can also get back in touch with industry friends and colleagues you used to know or work with. Import contacts from your email accounts using Add Connections in the drop-down menu. The Contacts tool suggests new contacts for you and allows you to track communications with your contacts and receive alerts when they have a job anniversary, new job, birthday, etc.
Let people know who you are.
You have to deliberately allow others to see your identity when you look at their profile. Do this in your settings — check both your name and headline, and you’ll also be able to use the next tip.
See who they are, too.
Use the Who Viewed Your Profile feature in the Profile drop-down to see other LinkedIn members who have visited your profile page. Something about you interested them, which means they could be very well be quality prospects. And now you have an “excuse” to get in touch with them. That’s what networking is all about. But you can use this feature unless you follow the above tip, too.
Send messages to people you aren’t (yet) connected to.
The way LinkedIn is organized, you can send messages to your first-degree connections and to people in groups you belong to, but not anyone else. However, Premium (paid upgrade) members can allow any LinkedIn member to contact them, using the OpenLink feature. If you have a Premium account, you’ll see an icon that looks like a circle of dots next to those members’ names in search results and on their profile.
The Network Updates feature, accessible from your home page, is a feed you can check to learn what your connections are doing and see what they’re sharing. There are several criteria you can use to limit the types of updates you see.
Add your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system.
It’s easy to export connections, as a .CSV or .VCF file:
- Under Network in your top navigation, click on Contacts.
- Click on Settings (the gear icon in the upper right)
- Go to Advanced Settings
- Click on Export LinkedIn Connections.
Get more from your groups.
Groups are one of LinkedIn’s most valuable tools, but there are hundreds of them so you have to choose carefully. You’ll benefit most by actively participating, and you only have so much time, but simply joining a group gives you a leg up. You can send messages to fellow group members and also see their profiles, even if they aren’t first-degree connections. They can do the same with you.
Use Advanced Search.
Suppose XYZ Company is on your prospect list, but you need an “in.” Type the company’s name in that field under Advanced Search, then filter by Relationship” – if you have first- or second-degree connections there, you’ll see them.
Before you click Share to post your LinkedIn update, click the Twitter option in the Share With drop-down.
Tagging other LinkedIn users or companies in your status update enables them to see your post, and see you mentioned them. Just use @JohnSmith or @XYZCompany.