One of the first social networks I joined was LinkedIn. Even in the beginning I felt LinkedIn was modeled after real business networks. Business professionals, small business owners and even CEO’s of large corporation’s find LinkedIn to be the go to resource for business today. Yet having said all that, most LinkedIn users never even try to take advantage of its many features. I have heard people say “it’s a lot to learn” or they feel overwhelmed by LinkedIn’s features. I call these features the “Eight Great LinkedIn Secrets”, not because someone would have to kill you if you learned about them – I say it because they are hidden in plain sight. Business professionals jump right over these features as if they weren’t there. Well, in today’s blog, I will spell out the features you need to understand and use. These must “know” features will get you in touch with the connections you seek and make your LinkedIn experience worthwhile every time you use it.
LinkedIn is the premiere business-to-business social network. There are nearly 350 million subscribers in the LinkedIn network. It was designed by business people for business people. LinkedIn has always had essential business networking features like direct inviting and messaging for building your business network. It has always provided for a comprehensive business profile, written testimonials and other features that build a professional’s credibility. And today it stands head and shoulders over other social networks when it comes to doing business online. Now let’s explore some of the must-have features.
1. Advanced Search– You need to learn how to search for the right connections to build your network. Many LinkedIn users use the standard search mode by keying in company names or industry keywords in the search box at the top of the page. This function works so well that many have never explored the ‘Advanced’ functions. This has made the Advanced Search function sort of the “secret weapon of advanced LinkedIn users. These ‘Advanced Search’ options allow you to create a focused search.
The link for advanced search is located at the center top of the search for people box, right next to the magnifying glass icon. This field lets you narrow your search for people, jobs, companies and more by clicking on the drop down selector on the right side of the search box. The ‘Advanced’ option takes you to a whole new level of filtered search. When you click on ‘Advanced’ link, it allows you to filter your search so that you can get the exact match you’re looking for. You can filter your searches by keyword, first name, last name, title, company, school, location, Relationship, industry, past company, profile language, and nonprofit interest. If you have the premium version you can also filter by groups, years of experience, function, seniority level, interested in, company size, fortune, and when joined. Whoa, now that a lot of filtering capabilities. It’s like you have your own personal prospect database containing 347 million people. And best of all, you can search and sort through them in a multitude of ways. These search filters can be combined to find the exact match you’re looking for. And your search results can be saved for future use. Here are a couple links to articles that provide more details for using advanced Search; How to Search For and Find Coworkers on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Is Getting Smarter With Enhanced Search Features & Improved Query Results. If you’re not using the advanced search features you’re really missing out on the real prospecting potential of LinkedIn.
2. Connections– Many ignore the ability to organize LinkedIn connections. They can be listed by categories you create. In LinkedIn these are called Tags. To create a Tag you click on the tag link right under the connections located next to their picture. Sometime you won’t see the tag link until you move your cursor over it. (That could be why it’s often seen as a secret item.) You can Tag your connections under multiple categories. I have created categories like “Chamber Members, BNI Members, Vendors, College Friends, Customers and Prospects”. Your flexibility is only limited by your willingness to set up your Tags and then add them to your connections. Once your tags are set up you can sort and search through your tag categories with ease. More importantly, you can communicate with them by messaging tagged connections you have selected. Tagging members give the LinkedIn user lots of efficient communications capabilities. Don’t miss out on the functions. Spend the time to create your tag categories and organizes your connections. It will make communicating with them en masse a blessing.
3. Groups– Groups are a God-send to your business, particularly if you’re new to LinkedIn or social networking. Social networking works best when you are connected to lots of people. For your message to have massive impact, it must reach thousands of people. But when you’re new to social networking this seems impossible. That is until you realize that by joining groups, you can reach literally thousands of people. It’s a great way to instantly connect with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of new connections. You can enter into conversations to expand your reach, influence and connections. Once you join a group, you can easily engage other group members by asking questions of the group, share your favorite articles with them and posting your own authoritative articles for review and discussion. Best of all, you can direct message anyone in your groups. In LinkedIn this is called sending them and ‘In Mail.’ Normally you can only send messages to connections on your firstlevel. That is, those you have invited to connect with you and they have accepted your connection. Those outside of your contacts can only be in mailed by you, after you ask one of your connections who is also connected to the person, to contact them. Your contact would then make an introduction via their in the mail. However, if the person is a member of your group, you can invite them to connect directly with and In the Mail. You can join up to 50 groups, and their usefulness cannot be underestimated. Just make sure you follow the rules of the group and be respectful of the purpose and relative focus of the group. Otherwise, you may find yourself being kicked out of the group. These groups can be very active and quite large.
4. Companies– The vast majority of business professionals will have their profiles about 90 percent complete on LinkedIn, but very few will have a company profile setup. This just seems crazy to me. When I ask why they haven’t set up their business profile, many business owners say I didn’t know I could create one. I know this is finally changing but any business that doesn’t have a LinkedIn company profile is really missing out. LinkedIn business profiles are designed to be search engine friendly. Most importantly, you can portray your company in the most positive light possible, regardless of your size. The first feature is the showcasing of your content, both curated and authoritative. This shows up as in your “Recent Updates”, right below your profile. You can then sponsor these posts, (paid promotions) to test your messages to see what works best. This is another great way to engage in A/B testing before you fully commit your financial resources to any particular marketing message. Here’s the thing that really gets me excited. You can select exactly who you’re trying to get in front of because you can enter psycho/demographic filters to target your ideal prospective audience. You can select the location/s (down to the city level), all companies (or by name or category which include industries, company size and by Job Title, (you can select All, by Title and Job function or Seniority). You can even select Schools they have attended, Fields of study, Degrees, Skills, Groups there in, Gender, Age and much more. These are just some of the filters. Again, anytime you can create a web presence that is search friendly, highly targeted and that also allows for highly focused, cost effective A/B testing and promos (both pay per click and sponsored post), you can go wrong.
5. Education: Youniversity— Under the Interest – Education link Youniversity can be found. LinkedIn is used by both businesses and Job Seekers. One of the best ways to get a great job is to get educated at a great University. Check out University rankings — Find the best University — Check out fields of study — create a decision board — Check out Alumni, Employers and more. This is also a great way to network with your old school mates and Alumni. Many employers target specific universities and here is a great place for companies to start their recruiting programs. This is a separate employer section than the ‘Jobs’ section of LinkedIn. Here a company can create a home on LinkedIn to highlight their jobs, featured employees and build their employment brand, regardless of their size. They can also run ads targeting students on LinkedIn who exactly match their ideal candidates. And remember, LinkedIn cover every corner of the Globe so your chances of finding the right candidate, who’s still in school, goes way up. Better to compete for the now than when they are on the hunt for their idea job. Here are a couple of great links to help you learn more;Youniversity-hub and social-data-better-decisions-for-students.
6. Business Services– Under business services, we have a lot of mostly ignored features (that is mostly ignored by small business and professional). Many medium and large corporations have been taking advantage of LinkedIn job posting services for years. You can “Post a Job” – create a “Talent Solutions” – “Advertise” your product or service – and create a dedicated “Sales Solutions” using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The Sales Navigator program allows sales professionals to increase their social selling with tools designed to help them recognize opportunities and then make connections through warm introductions.LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps sales professionals be more successful at social selling by leveraging 347M+ professional profiles. Here is a link to a LinkedIn white paper giving you more details and a series of articlesyou may find useful.
Sales Navigator Major features include:
- Designed for Sales User Interface
- Lead Recommendations
- Advanced Search with Lead Builder
- Real-time Sales Updates
On average, social selling professional and teams enjoy these benefits:
- Forty-five percent more opportunities created
- Fifty-one percent more likely to achieve quota
- Eighty percent more productive
- 3X more likely to go to club
7. Premium– This feature may not be a secret, but most professionals don’t understand that it’s more cost-effective to learn how to use this tool to find the right prospect than it is to scour other resources to get leads and make connections. Premium is the tool most
professionals should all be using. If you’re in team sales, the Sales Navigator could be the tool for you. This upgrade over the free version gives you all of the above features plus the ability to store search results – directly contact people with up to 15 In-Mails per month included with your plan, plus the advanced search features mentioned earlier, See who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days and created unlimited profile searches — up to the third degree. (In-Mail is a direct email service that allows you to connect outside of your 1st level connections regardless of how far they are removed from your connections). If you’re a professional looking for a job, you can get your application listing displayed at the top of the heap by subscribing to the Premium. Job seekers also get additional capabilities in talent and sales solutions as well. Here are some links to articles you may find useful; Linkedin/why-linkedin-premium-is-worth-the-money andforbes.com – 22-linkedin-secrets-linkedin-wont-tell-you.
8. Pulse— This feature allows publishers of articles (this includes bloggers), to have their articles featured on Pulse, LinkedIn’s news and insight center. This LinkedIn feature allows the subscriber to follow specific writers of influence who are either chosen by you or show up in top post as chosen by Linkedin readers by being read and shared. If you’re a writer or a blogger who produces quality articles this could be your ticket to the big leagues. I could devote a lot of space to this feature, but instead I recommend you check it out thoroughly and get your blog or website set up so that LinkedIn subscribers can read and share your articles. This could be the big break your looking for. Here are a few articles to wet your appetite; ‘Is LinkedIn Poised To Be The Next Media Giant?’ and ‘5 Actionable Tips To Use LinkedIn Publishing To Get More Blog Traffic.’