Chances are, if you are a business or a business professional you already have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, you want to!

Today, there are more than 300 million people on the platform, building their network and engaging with their audience. It may be “just another social platform” to you, but we highly recommend LinkedIn for every business or business professional.

If you have been on the mobile application recently, you may have been walked through some new steps (or you may have pressed “Skip” a bunch of times!). LinkedIn wanted to take the time to show users what is possible through their service.

If you weren’t prompted, here’s the steps we are referring to:

Step 1: Connect with people you already know

LIMG_8436inkedIn will use your address book, resume, and your other connections to help you build your audience on LinkedIn with the people you already know. With over 300 million people on the platform already, chances are you have quite a few people within your network using the platform.

LinkedIn allows you to keep track of what is happening with the people you are connected with. This includes:

  • Anniversaries/milestones at a job
  • A promotion
  • A change of job
  • New contact information

Step 2: Connect with people you already know – Part 2

IMG_8437LinkedIn wants to make the process easy. Instead of you going through your address book one-by-one, searching for each person individually, they list the people you may know. To add, the person, you simply press the blue plus sign button – connect with ease!

Now, you may be saying “that name sounds familiar!” or “they look familiar!” Don’t worry… LinkedIn understands (and so do we!). As business owners, we network with a lot of people. The social platform tells you how many connections you have in common.

If you click through to their page, you can even see what degree of connection you are (put more simply, how are you connected?). A first degree connection means you are already connected. A second degree connection means you are connected with someone who is connected with them, and so on.

See someone you don’t want to connect with? Simply skip over them.

Step 3: Join groups relative to your industry

IMG_8438IMG_8439LinkedIn offers more than just individual profiles. They give you the opportunity to join and create groups. Think of a group as a online networking group; allowing people to connect with people that are like-minded with similar interests and information to share.

Join groups such as Social Media Marketing, TED Talks, etc. LinkedIn has groups for nearly every industry. If you see a group that you are interested in following and want to contribute to, click the same blue plus sign as you did when adding individuals you may know.

Groups are another great opportunity to share your expertise and knowledge. As people post comments or discussions in the group, you have the opportunity to chime in.

Step 4: Follow LinkedIn’s Influencers

IMG_8440What is a LinkedIn Influencer? “LinkedIn Influencer is a designation given to approximately 500 professionals who’ve been invited to publish on LinkedIn. As leaders in their industries, geographies, and seniority, they talk discuss topics of interest, such as leadership, management, hiring and firing, disruption, and how to succeed.” (Learn more about the Influencer program)

Who is it that you look up to? Whose opinions and business decisions do you trust and model your own after?

Also, who within your industry is the go-to person? Who is it that everyone knows and talks about within your specific industry? These will be your LinkedIn Influencers.

Note, however, these people do not appear in the same area that your personal connections appear in. Visitors to your page will see these Influencers at the bottom of your page so choose wisely. Who you follow says a lot about you and your business.

Step 5: Follow the companies you like & value

IMG_8442IMG_8443We all have certain companies that we like, whether in or out of the industry we work in. Or, if we are looking for a new job, we may want to stay up-to-date with what a specific company is currently doing. LinkedIn allows you to follow companies, too!

Not only is this a great way to stay updated with news from your favorite companies, but it also provides a great way to learn! See what they are doing and what is successful. What is being liked or commented on most? What is being completely ignored? See what industry leaders are doing and adapt your strategy to incorporate similar tactics.

If LinkedIn doesn’t give you some recommendations, you can always search for them later!

Step 6: Are you really done?

IMG_8444If you blew through these steps, you may have forgotten a certain individual, Influencer, or company that you may have wanted to follow. LinkedIn prompts you to go back and add those people now (again, don’t worry if you don’t have the time to do it now – you’ll have other opportunities!).

At this point, it’s a good idea to briefly go back through the above steps – just to make sure. The more well-rounded your network, the more you’ll benefit from being on the platform.

This is also a good excuse to go back and review your profile. Are there sections you need to update? Job descriptions you want to beef up? Contact information that needs updating? Or maybe you have a more recent headshot to add. It’s always a good idea to review your profile every few months to make sure the information is current, accurate, and representing who you are and what you do well.

Step 7: Add your phone number in case you get locked out

IMG_8445Some people prefer not to give their phone number on social platforms in fear that they may start getting phone calls (or cold calls) from the platform or that their information may be leaked. While this hesitation is valid, adding your phone number also has a key benefit: LinkedIn has incorporated a feature that in the event you forget your password or are unable to get into your account, they can help you get back in using your phone number.

Getting locked out of your account can be a hassle, and we recommend utilizing this feature. We all have more accounts, usernames, and passwords than we know what to do with. Having your phone number listed as insurance for accessing your profile will save you the time it might take calling to regain access.

You can also use your phone number to incorporate two-step authentication to your account, making it more secure than just using the usual username/password combo.

Are you using LinkedIn for either yourself or your business? We’d love to connect with you!