How to Use LinkedIn for Business Intelligence

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Long gone are the days where the only people who cared about social media were your little sister or the next door neighbor posting pictures of her fifty cats.  With the introduction of social media sites for professionals, such as LinkedIn, an increasing number of people are using these sites for job searches or recruiting.

 Don’t believe me? Just type in “social media marketer” or another job title into the LinkedIn search bar and you’ll find 10+ pages of top companies like Microsoft and Amazon who are looking for the perfect person to fill that position.

Regardless of whether you’re an employer, recent college graduate, or a sales person trying to get in touch with new leads, LinkedIn holds a wealth of information for you. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn for BI, more specifically how to use LinkedIn to gather the information you need:

Personally reach out to people of value

One of the great things about any social media site is the ability to reach out to people you haven’t actually met before. Say you’re a sales person trying to turn a cold prospect into a warm prospect. Sending a personalized LinkedIn connection request can put your name on their radar so that when you do call them, there is a better chance they will know who you are. But don’t just use the generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” invitation. Send a personalized invitation that mentions a common connection or interest. Don’t have anyone or anything in common? No worries, keep reading. Don’t just invite people to connect, stand out among their connections.

Follow people and pages with common interests

A great way to get in touch with someone you don’t know is to find something in common. If you already have a common connection, that makes it easier. Send an invitation like “Hey James, I see we both worked at LinkedIn Advisors & Co. and are part of the Entrepreneurs of Seattle group. I would love to connect with you more in the future.” If you don’t have anything in common already, follow a group they are in and you’ll be allowed to connect with them. Boom, connection made. Don’t be a stranger, find a common link. Not quite ready to connect with someone yet? That’s okay, you can follow them and they won’t even be notified.

Fully update your page

Now that you’ve found more ways to make connections, be a real person when others come looking for you. A skimpy page with a profile picture of a mountain, only 3 connections, and short job history won’t make you a credible connection. Make it so that your page reads like a summary of yourself –with only relevant and up to date information, of course. LinkedIn is not the place for cute pictures of a rabbit you found in the backyard or that bussing job you had when you were 16. You’re not a stranger anymore, but are you a credible connection?

Post frequent updates

The more updates you post, the more likely you are to show up in someone’s News Feed. This is your chance to add value to your connections’ lives. Tell them about your company’s new product release, but also post fun and relevant information like where the world’s biggest cup of coffee resides if you’re a coffee company – it’s in South Korea, by the way. Use the 4-1-1 rule. For every 1 piece of news you share for your benefit, you should re-share one relevant post and share four pieces of relevant content written by others. This prevents people from getting annoyed by your solely-selling tactics. It also adds diversity to your page and can allow for more favorable connections. You’ve made the connections, so keep yourself top of mind.

Personalize your News Feed and check it daily

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t know everything 😉 What else is happening in the world right now? Because you can’t possibly have time to read every single article that pops up on your News Feed, you need to personalize it. You should change the settings for your feed until only information you are interested in and would potentially share on your page shows up. Katrina Collier offers some good tips on how to fix your feed. It is important to check this daily to keep on top of what topics are trending and what people are interested in reading. This will help keep your own posts relevant and up to date.

Take advantage of the analytics and ranking features

LinkedIn has this cool feature that ranks you against the other profiles in your network. You can see how many people have viewed your profile, what industry they are in, and how you rank for profile views among your connections. If you are managing a company page, LinkedIn will tell you the organic response to each of your posts –number of impressions, clicks, interactions, and percent engagement. This can show you what posts garnered more attention and what kinds of things to post in the future. Your page is at All-Star status, so who’s looking?

One last tidbit of advice: Assign all of this to someone who genuinely sees the value in it and will make the most of it, not just someone “important” or under the age of 25 – not everyone is a social media intern.

Good luck, and let me know what tips have worked for you on social media. Comments are always valued.

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