How to use LinkedIn Effectively to Connect with Industry Leaders in 6 Easy Steps

Last year, LinkedIn was placed among the fastest growing social networks alongside Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr – momentum that was expected to continue well into 2015.

With that in mind, LinkedIn is a good place to spend your time whether you’re a professional, job seeker or a business owner.

To make it work for you though, you have to put in the time to grow connections and influence. Here are some tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively connect with the thought leaders in your industry.

1. Complete, Refined LinkedIn Profile

Make it a point to complete your LinkedIn profile 100%. Showcase your best work in a professional, search optimized and client-focused manner.

Keep it concise, engaging, and consistent with your description on your business website. Be grammatically correct, fix typos and include a professional photo of yourself.

2. Personalized Connection Requests

It’s a busy world, everyone agrees. Even LinkedIn has a generic message ready for you to simply hit send. However, think twice before going default.

Whenever you’re sending out an invite, it would be nice to skim someone’s profile and let them know why you’re worth their time. Likewise, when accepting an invite, review the connection’s profile and suggest ways you can help them. .

However mighty you may be in the corporate world, just never pull a Kelly Blazek.

3. Your Linkedin URL

Your LinkedIn URL should reflect your name, business or area of specialty. For example, https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithfreeman. There’s nothing that screams ‘I’m a LinkedIn noob’ like a URL reading http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname874017-pqshachetbt.

While you are at it, you may also want to include the URL in your email signature (and business card). That way, the industry people you interact with, know exactly how to find you on LinkedIn.

4. Join Groups that Matter

LinkedIn has thousands of groups and associations you can join. Zero in on those based around your work and interests. But that alone is not enough.

Become an active member of the group. By this I don’t mean to spend hours every day contributing to discussions but rather, asking meaningful questions, commenting and liking others’ comments every now and then.

Avoid flooding people with promotions: the selling only becomes successful after you cultivate strong relationships.

5. Think Outside the Box

Look at your connections and determine how many meaningful interactions you have made. Every month (or week if you can) identify about five connections from that list and look for ways you can help them in their quest.

Send them articles, blogs or book recommendations relating to their field that could be of benefit to them, along with a personalized note. Just be careful not to spam them with too much!

If they’re local, plan a lunch together; grab a drink, connect and take your professional connection offline.

6. Publish Content

LinkedIn allows you to publish articles on the platform. If you can share your ideas through writing, write interesting and meaningful content about your industry.

While there is a lot of content on the web, if you write good quality, engaging posts that are specific to your niche, you are likely to get noticed by others in your industry.

Simply adding connections on LinkedIn doesn’t get you very far with your professional connections. You have to put time into it to cultivate a relationship. Get noticed for your knowledge and expertise by becoming actively involved in any discussions that surround your industry and sooner (rather than later) your industry leaders are going to sit up and take notice of you.

Got any further tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively to connect with industry leaders? Let me know in the comments.