I’m a yogi. I’ve practiced for a while now. In fact, I’m finally ready to dive a little deeper—maybe with a weekend retreat or even an attempt at hot yoga (hoo boy!).
Everyone gets to this point with something, am I right? The place where you’re ready to push past the basics and into the stuff that will take you to the next level?
For many of my personal branding clients, this means wanting to change up what they’re doing on LinkedIn, and not just by sprucing up their summaries.
Here are the three next-level secrets of expert LinkedIn users that I share with them:
1. They Break The Mold
I’m sure you’ve heard the advice that you should craft a custom message for every connection request you send (here are 10 personalized LinkedIn templates to bookmark)—but don’t stop there! You should customize everything.
Take for instance the “Thanks for endorsing me for…” prompt you receive after a connection endorses your skills.
What good does sending that message really do anyone?
I’d much rather receive a couple of skill endorsements in return or even a “Hey! Thanks for stopping by my profile, how‘ve you been?” note in place of a robotic thank you.
And I’d bet that your network feels the same way.
If you really want to make an impact with what you’re doing, give your interactions the human touch as often as you can (translation: every time). From work anniversary congratulations to the way you accept connection requests, adding even just one to two personal lines will result in a marked difference.
2. They Don’t Save it for Job Searching
Yes, the platform can be a powerful ally when you’re looking to leave your company. You can optimize your profile to appeal to recruiters, reach out to others and set up informational interviews, and view the profiles of (and learn more about) employees at your dream company.
But, if you’re only using it when it’s job hunt time, you’re missing out on some serious career firepower.
Think about it: Listening in on relevant LinkedIn groups can help your team develop new products and services. Following the news feed of your competitor allows you to stay updated on their biggest wins and the market gaps they’re not filling. Stopping by the profiles of those who have RSVP’d to your next Meetup gives you an advantage before your first handshake.
The information is just sitting there waiting for you, so you’d be silly to let your account gather dust until you’re looking for a job.
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3. They Think About Others
Some people treat LinkedIn like a billboard on a digital road—a place to post and broadcast information about themselves for a passersby. But, when you think about it, that’s a little one-sided.
Ready to get more out of what you’re doing? Here’s the mental mind-flip I’m going to ask you to make: LinkedIn’s not a billboard; it’s a bulletin board!
Start thinking of it as a dynamic place where you’re sharing resources, ideas—and most importantly!—yourself with the world. This means it’s not enough to just write updates—you should be actively commenting and sharing others as well. Make a proactive effort to engage with what they’re doing.
This also applies to connecting. Building out your base of contacts is important, but it’s level one. To move up, you need to think about like-minded folks you can introduce to each other. They’ll see the value your adding to their networks—and want to add more value to yours, too.
So, for every recommendation you request or follow-up message you send after a cocktail hour, think on how you can connect people you know in ways that will serve everyone involved. Balance your “me-me-me” activities with some “we-we-we!” introductions.
There’s no question your power on LinkedIn lies partly in well-placed keywords and a carefully crafted profile. But content can only get you so far. To truly stretch yourself—and see even bigger results—get active in new ways.