The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

LinkedIn

Grow LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn is the professional networker’s choice. It’s the business users social media site. And business is all about people.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your career, connect with potential clients, or just develop your professional skills by connecting with others in your industry, LinkedIn is an ideal tool.

How can you make sure you’ve got the best possible LinkedIn network?

1. Get the Basics Right

Is your LinkedIn profile up to scratch? Have you written a keyword rich summary, and filled out your career history? Do you have a professional photo and a compelling headline?

Even if you’ve done all this, if it’s a long time since you updated your profile, then it’s time for a change! Switch up your photo or your headline. Why? Because LinkedIn places a premium on fresh profiles, so you’ll be given pride of place in search results.

2. Post Updates Frequently

When you log into LinkedIn, do you see updates from the same set of people every time? There’s a reason for that. Not many people make the effort to post regular updates on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn might seem like a ghost town, but the truth is that pretty much half of LinkedIn users log in on a regular basis. According to Pew Research, over a third (34%) of LinkedIn users log into the network at least once a week. A further 13% sign in every day.

That’s why posting regular updates is so powerful. You’ll appear on the newsfeed of your contacts, which is a subtle way of building influence.

Of course, as with all social networks, some of your updates will get more attention than others. But posting frequent updates is a far better way of standing out than staying silent.

Stuck for ideas? You could share:

  • A quote for the day
  • YouTube videos you found helpful
  • News items that are relevant to your industry
  • Important announcements about your company
  • Updates about your work achievements
  • Business articles you’ve read and found interesting

3. Invite Your Email Contacts to Connect

LinkedIn gives you the option to import connections from your email list, whether you use Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.

Why connect with people you already know? First, because a power network is made up of people who know and trust you. Your email contacts are likely to fall into this category. Second, inviting someone to join your LinkedIn network establishes that you want a professional relationship with them. Your family and friends can help you uncover hidden career and business opportunities. Third, with your email “acquaintances” you’ll be establishing a new form of contact, and indicating that you want to stay in touch.

Another benefit is that growing your network will help LinkedIn get smarter at suggesting people for you to connect with. When you work on growing your network, it’s easier to keep it growing.

4. Be Discerning in Who You Connect With

A LinkedIn power network isn’t made up of any Tom, Dick and Harry (or any Jane, June and Jacinda). As we’ve mentioned, creating a power network is about connecting with people you know and trust.

Focus your LinkedIn networking on people you’ve met in real life. And whenever you meet new people at conferences or exhibitions, ask if you can add them to your LinkedIn network.

That’s not to say you should ignore invitations to connect from people you don’t know. Instead, look at their profile. Do they…

  • Have a profile picture? If so, that’s a good sign they’re an active and serious LinkedIn user.
  • Have over 50 connections? Again, this shows they’re active on LinkedIn, and so they’re potentially a valuable addition to your network.
  • Work in an industry that’s relevant to yours? Or in a sector you’d like to move into?

If you’re not sure on whether to connect, we recommend accepting the invitation. Then, drop them a line. Thank them for adding you as a connection, and ask about how they came across you. No response? You can delete them from your connections list. Many people will have a good explanation for connecting with you, and you will have kicked off a new relationship.

5. Write Personalized Invitations to Connect

Want to improve your success rate when you reach out to new connections? A simple way of doing this is to write personalized invitations to connect.

A personalized invitation doesn’t have to be long or complicated. In fact, it’s better to be short and to the point.

An effective personalized invitation will:

  • Explain how you know the person you’re connecting with
  • Let them know why you want to connect
  • Ask if they’d like to connect

You can do both of these in one or two short sentences.

For example, you could say:

“It’s been great working with you on [project]”

or…

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you in [LinkedIn Group]”

Then conclude with:

“Would you like to connect on LinkedIn?”

Easy peasy.

6. Take Part in LinkedIn Groups

Once you’ve added everyone in your real life network to your list of LinkedIn contacts, are you done? That’s up to you. It all depends on your goals and how you need your network to help you.

We’d recommend that you continue to reach out to new people, so your network keeps growing. LinkedIn provides tools to help you with this, the most powerful of which is LinkedIn Groups.

On LinkedIn, you’ll find groups covering pretty much anything. Whatever your job, and whatever industry you work in (provided it’s legal!), there’s likely to be a group for you. If there’s not, you can start one.

When you’re looking for groups to join:

  • Know who you want to connect with. For example, if you’re looking for clients, then groups that only connect you with your peers are unlikely to be helpful.
  • Choose carefully. Searching for a group will likely turn up hundreds of results. Look through them, and notice the groups that have active discussions. These are the best groups to join.
  • Join the groups you like the look of. This allows you to get a feel for a group, and find out whether it’s right for you. You can join a maximum of 50 groups, but you can always leave a group to sign up for another group.

Your Call

What’s your approach to building a LinkedIn network? Are you an open networker who will connect with anyone? Or are you more discerning in your networking approach? What are your top tips on LinkedIn networking? Let us know in the comments, below.

Social Media Online Video 2015

Four years ago, Cisco predicted that by 2015, over 90% of web traffic would be from Internet video.

2015 is here. Has Cicso’s prediction come to pass? Not quite. In mid-2014, 78% of web traffic was from video. Cisco now predicts that will rise to 84% by 2018.

Video hasn’t been quite as big a hit as Cisco expected. Other content types continue to be popular.

But video is still big. In fact, we expect 2015 to be the year of video. Here are three reasons why…

1. The Stats are on Video’s Side

Over 100 million people watch online video every day. Some 90% of online consumers say they find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. And according to Forbes, three quarters of executives watch at least one work-related video per week (Stats here).

Video is fast rising up the ranks of social marketing – so other content forms had better watch out.

2. SlideShare Has Embraced Video

Back in 2014, SlideShare allowed LinkedIn influencers to start sharing videos on the network.

This year, SlideShare will extend video publishing to all their users.

Dave Kerpen – who has already made several SlideShare videos expects that SlideShare will become the business version of YouTube.

He writes:

Instagram is to Facebook as SlideShare is to LinkedIn. In other words, look for SlideShare to emerge as the key social network for business professionals to find and share bite-sized pieces of content while on the go in 2015.

3. YouTube is So 2005

Okay, we’re kidding a bit here. We expect YouTube to continue doing really well in 2015. But it should take care to protect its place as video’s monarch.

YouTube’s problem? Young upstarts are contending the king of video’s throne. Or they’re setting up their own kingdoms, and ignoring YouTube altogether.

What’s happening, in real terms?

In August 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube for desktop video views.

What’s more, Facebook and Twitter are giving priority to videos published on their own networks. Other social platforms are likely to follow this course.

YouTube is here to stay. But it can’t afford to get too comfortable.

Your Call

Do you agree that 2015 will be the year of video? What are your social predictions for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments section, below.

LinkedIn Invitation

You can have a lot at stake when you’re writing an LinkedIn invitation. You could be trying to connect with your dream employer, network with your ideal clients, or hook up with people to invest in your business idea.

What can you do to boost the chances that they’ll accept your invitation?

If you’ve done any research on LinkedIn, you’ll know that you should personalize your invitations (even though few people actually do so). We’ll come to that in a moment, because it’s an important strategy.

But before you write your invitation, there are a couple of things you should set straight.

What To Do Before You Send a LinkedIn Invitation

You need to get two things straight before you send out any invitation.

First, check that the person you want to connect with actually uses LinkedIn. Just because someone has a LinkedIn account doesn’t mean they actually check it. Look out for the following:

  • Do they have a photo? If not, then it’s probably not worth connecting.
  • How many connections do they have? Anything under 20, and it’s probably a zombie account.
  • Have they completed their LinkedIn profile?

Just because a LinkedIn account seems dead doesn’t mean you should avoid it (your invitation might win them over to using LinkedIn). But it’s a good warning sign that your invitation is unlikely to be accepted.

Second, make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. Don’t place all your hopes on one person. Instead, cast your net wide, and connect with lots of different people. That way, you’re bound to have some success, and you’ll discover a lot more opportunities.

Have a Reason to Connect

Next step is finding a reason to connect.

This could be that you just met someone at a conference, or have been chatting with them in a LinkedIn group. Both of these are good reasons to send an invitation. Remember to strike while the iron is hot!

Alternatively, you may have to find a reason to connect. The reason should never be about you, and always about the person you’re connecting with.

Good reasons for connecting include:

  • You share a connection in common (ask permission from the connection you share before you use this as a reason)
  • The person you’re connecting with – or their company – recently featured in the news

Hint: “I’m looking for a job at your company” is never a good reason to connect.

Write Your Invitation

You’ve done all the hard work already. Now it’s time to write your invitation.

The best personalized invitations are really simple and just 2 or 3 sentences long. Here’s a template:

Hi [First Name],

[How they know you, and a reason to connect].

Could we connect on LinkedIn?

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

In other words, the only part you have to fill out is the second paragraph. Here are some examples of what you could put there:

I really enjoyed meeting you at the workshop yesterday.

Daniel Jones mentioned that you’d be a really good person to get to know.

I appreciated the presentation you gave at the conference last week [Top tip: include your favorite line from the presentation].

I noticed that your company made record profits this year. Congratulations!

I really liked the blog post you wrote about [topic].

The key isn’t to write a lot. It’s to personalize what you do write.

Your Call

Do you personalize your LinkedIn invitations? If so, how? Let us know in the comments section, below.