Networking tools are crucial to a marketer’s success.
By posting marketing content, connecting with industry leaders and broadening my LinkedIn connections, I widened my digital reach.
For marketing and PR pros who want to bolster their networks, consider these five tips for getting the most out of your LinkedIn experience:
1. Accept invitations from connections you haven't met.
Imagine spending three hours at a networking event and talking only to people that you know. How would this develop your network? Hint: It won’t.
Although it's important to maintain relationships with past colleagues and friends, you should start thinking outside the traditional networking box. Your exclusivity is probably limiting your ability to expand your business.
Active LinkedIn users are continually sharing success stories, lessons and helpful content. Instead of shutting out the potential of new contacts, open yourself up to new relationships.
2. Optimize your profile.
Busy PR pros commonly have incomplete social media profiles. Although networking in person is great, it often isn’t enough to sway a client. An incomplete profile can make you a ghost online and can put off prospective contacts. It’s important to complete your profiles and leave no important experience off the list.
To help you appear more polished, stop using words such as "ninja," "rock star" or "maverick" in your job title. Save your personality for in-person networking, and make sure your title and name are optimized for a Google search.
Your profile is not an online resume; it’s the story of your career. Don't convey your past positions in a boring, numbered list. Describe your role within various organizations, and share videos, documents and links to demonstrate the importance of each. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your career museum, and put your digital artifacts in the spotlight.
Invest in an appropriate headshot. Your profile photo should be high resolution and friendly. If your photo includes a tropical beach or a bathroom mirror, it's time to swap it out for something more professional.
3. Ask for recommendations.
If you want to increase your LinkedIn exposure and better market your brand, get in the habit of asking for recommendations. Offer to write a recommendation for a co-worker in exchange for a positive sentiment on your profile. A little credibility can go a long way with prospective clients.
Recommendations take up a huge chunk of real estate on LinkedIn’s app. It’s important to be highly visible on both versions of the website (desktop and mobile).
4. Appear inspired.
Many PR pros use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues or folks in their industry via its groups feature. What many might not do is follow industry leaders for inspiration. Doing that provides access to influential users in various industries.
If you’re reading a fascinating marketing book but think it might be beneficial for someone in real estate, expand your network by searching for real estate leaders with large followings. This will lead to an enriched news feed.
5. Learn the differences between updates and posts.
Posts should be reserved for your best content. They can include lessons you've learned, important career milestones, book reviews, current events commentary or advice pieces. Your posts should always provide value to your connections, because they will be notified as soon as your contributions are published.
RELATED: Produce content that boosts lead gen, brand awareness and reputation.
Updates are more casual and more suited for sharing ideas, breaking news and reposting interesting content. When reposting a colleague’s content, it’s important to know why you are sharing the article, video or photo. Give your connections context so they get a sense of who you are and what they can expect from connecting with you.
Michaela Alexis is a marketing manager at Grade A. A version of this article was originally published on LinkedIn.