Four Rules for a Successful, Professional LinkedIn Network

by Alyse Mitten

When teaching Social Media Mastery to my classes, I have a few rules I share with them that have been my practice in building and maintaining LinkedIn. It’s also important to note, if your clients are businesses and not consumers, you want to concentrate on LinkedIn as your social network of choice. With that said, these are four rules to build and manage a successful LinkedIn network.

Create goals for what you want to achieve on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, unlike many of the other social networks, is all about business. You are expected to talk about your career. Talk about your business, if you own a business. You can do business on LinkedIn and will not be chastised for doing so.

Suggestions for goals might be: Stay connected with current contacts; Find a new job or career; Promote your business; or Find businesses who have services or products you need.

Create a profile to align with your goals. Recently, I helped a client rewrite his profile to reflect a totally different focus of work. We eliminated certain details from his summary and work history. We then hide any of the skills that didn’t reflect his new job and kept those that made sense for people to endorse.

It is not necessary to include “everything” you have done in the past. My expertise is to help small to mid-size businesses market their businesses in print and online. My profile does not include that fact that for over 10 years I owned a successful gift and craft shop. It is not in alignment with my current goals to reach out to decision makers of small to mid-size businesses. Know your goals.

Connect with at least 12 people each week on LinkedIn. Those people may be in your 2nd or 3rd level of influence and you might not know them. That’s ok, you are allowed to reach out to them. They know someone you know in your 1st level. Again, if they are in alignment with your goals, reach out to them.

By establishing this habit for the past year, I have been successful at building a network of over 1,000 1st level contacts with close to 10,000,000 contacts of influence.

Spend an hour each day on LinkedIn. I know that seems like a lot of time for one social network but, if you are doing business with businesses, this is where you need to be. By looking at it in 15-minute segments, you are able to manage your time and touch on everything that will make your hour productive.

First 15 minutes, review profiles of any new connections you have added. Look for reasons to endorse them, send a message to do business together, or write a recommendation about their services.

Second 15 minutes, become a part of conversations on groups you have joined. Organizers appreciate participation. Being proactive and providing information beneficial to the group shows you as a subject matter expert. If there isn’t a group in your wheelhouse, create one.

Third 15 minutes, read through articles found on Pulse. These articles are relative to your interests and provide the latest information for you to stay informed. Plus, it’s another way to comment and be discovered.

Last 15 minutes, congratulate your contacts for their business anniversary and wish them a happy birthday. It’s amazing how just this little gesture can revitalize connections and generate business. I actually use an app on my iPhone called Connected® available through LinkedIn. It makes this task a breeze and I never forget these special days.

I assure you by making these four rules a part of your social media mastery for LinkedIn, it can make a positive change for your business. Next month, we will discuss your LinkedIn Company page and how beneficial it is for your business.