There’s more to LinkedIn than a static database of job titles and historical information. It’s also a resource to deepen new and existing relationships.
Tell Us About Yourself – Today
First of all, on your profile page, answer the question “what are you working on?” with any information you want – and keep it current. Tell us about important projects, travel, personal interests, or upcoming meetings.
If you have a blog (weblog) or Twitter account, you can add a link in the Applications area. You can tell us about books you are reading … upload a Powerpoint or SlideShare presentation about your business or area of expertise … and much more.
Go Home Regularly – Visit Your Home Page, That Is
The reason to familiarize yourself with your LinkedIn Home Page and visit it regularly is that this provides a window into your connections’ activities in real time, within (and sometimes beyond, depending on their application choices) LinkedIn.
As your connections update the same information on their Profile page we mentioned above – or when they ask or answer questions, or join new groups – you will see it reflected on your home page.
What can you learn besides the obvious?
When you see lots of changes, someone has decided to double down on LinkedIn. Something is up – it may be a promotion, preparing for a (possible) layoff, or a new job.
In addition to the obvious, you can sometimes spot something interesting. Once I realized a contact was adding the person who would replace them in their current position, which tipped me off to their next career move.
See someone added you know? Send them an invitation.
Keeping an eye on which groups your connections join is informative … and can tip you off on good possibilities for you.
Questions and Answers:
You can also see questions being asked and answered by your connections.
You can opt for emailed updates instead of, or in addition to, visiting your Home Page.
You may simply use it to keep informed, or you may learn information that primes you to contact a prospect at the right moment. Or you may discover that you have information that can be of use to someone in your network.
In the end, online networking is no different than in-person networking. It’s largely a matter of being in the right place at the right time to perceive a need.
And it’s a whole lot of offering help – answering a question, recommending a resource … and maybe even, when you see they’re on a trip to your old home town, recommending a great restaurant for your contact to take their clients or family.