LinkedIn for Business – Follow, Connect and Engage
In our first article “LinkedIn for business”, we looked at “How to Create a Polished Profile". In Part Two we’ll take you a step further and look at:
- Following individuals and companies
- Connecting to the right people
- Composing messages
- Endorsement and recommendations
Let’s Get Started:
Following Individuals and Companies
A fairly new addition to LinkedIn is the Follow button. That's good news, because "Following" allows you to see updates on recently posted content on other people's profiles - quickly, conveniently and without the requirement to connect or be introduced.
Follow others who are:
- Active in your field / industry: Influential people in your industry – Helps you to gain insights and ideas
- The connections of influential people
- Your competitors – Helps you to keep tabs on what they're up to
Encourage followers by:
- Posting interesting, relevant content and always checking for spelling and grammar
- Posting regular updates about your articles and blogs, videos etc to encourage others to follow you
- Blogs and articles – Posting engaging titles with descriptions that link to your blog or website
- Adding engaging and brand-driven images to each post / update
- Making titles and summaries succinct and interesting
- Adding keywords and keyword phrases within your industry and experience descriptions, summaries and titles
How to Follow an Individual
The type of account and who the user is will make a difference to how you can follow them. The follow button is not always easy to find. For a high profile public figure you can click the follow button from their main profile page.
If you want to follow a regular LinkedIn user, it’s a little more difficult. Here are two ways to follow:
1. Go to a user’s profile and click onto one of their posts: there you'll find the follow button
2. Go to a member's profile and hover over the arrow icon, positioned next to the send an InMail button: from there click the drop down “Follow" option
How to Follow a Company
From the main navigation bar at the top of your profile page, hover over the drop down and click “Companies.”
Type in a company name in the search box – Once you find the company, the follow button is positioned to the right of the company page.
Connecting to the Right People
Making a connection through LinkedIn involves sending an invitation. Conversely, you can both accept or reject invitations. Once an invite to connect is accepted, a new connection becomes your 1st degree connection and all their 1st degree connections become your 2nd degree connections.
- Only accept quality, relevant invites. Unfortunately spammers are present on LinkedIn
- Review each invitation request carefully – make sure they have completed their profile and added a photo of themselves
- Make sure the connection is relevant to your brand
- Decide carefully if they offer you a good reason to connect
- Always reply to genuine and interesting connections: it’s the best way to form relationships
How to connect
On a member's profile – From the drop down, choose connect.
From here you'll get a few options - Tick the required fields and send your message.
Through the "Add Connections" page - You'll have the option to search your email address book to find contacts or invite members by typing in their email address to the search box
Through the "People You May Know" page - Click the connect button under their name.
Through your search results - Just click the "Connect" button to the right of their profile photo.
Composing a Message
- Avoid sending a default message – Add a short note which personalises the message. e.g. You have met them at a networking group or tutorial
- Avoid the sales pitch – Connecting is about building a relationship; selling comes later down the line
- Be genuine - Compliment them / ask a question about an article they have written, or a seminar which you've attended
- Offer a valuable resource - Free ebook, article, advice and tips with a link to your website
- Use a compelling reason to connect - e.g. You may have a lead for them or want to ask a specific question
- Follow up once you’ve connected - When the relationships gets stronger, move it forward by suggesting a face to face meeting
Endorsements and Recommendations
The skills listed on your profile can be endorsed by your 1st degree connections with just one click. This helps to strengthen the skills listed on your profile which can be seen by others.
Making Endorsements is a good way to stay in touch, letting connections know you see them as valuable. A user cannot ask for an endorsement so it's up to you to be active on LinkedIn and add as many relevant skills to your profile to encourage endorsements.
A written recommendation can be requested by you to your connections or vice versa. The best recommendations come from people you have worked for / with. i.e. customers and clients or recommendations for a service or product you provide. Recommendations are unlimited.
Be active on LinkedIn, credit your contacts in the form of recommendations and endorsements.
Every time you receive an endorsement it will appear in your network's news feed, which means more visibility for you and your business. You can showcase your skills to potential contacts by moving your endorsements towards the top of your profile
- Don’t wait to be asked to recommend or endorse colleagues, it will serve you well in the future by encouraging contacts to return the favour
- We’d even recommend you endorse and write recommendations for competitors, if you genuinely think they deserve it
- Be authentic - Don’t over-endorse one person; spread endorsements around so it they come across as being spammy
- Be timely when asking for recommendations - Ask for a recommendation as soon as you have completed a commission or worked with a colleague
For more info on "Accepting and Displaying Recommendations" go to LinkedIn help centre, where you'll get step by step instructions.