Social networks matter now more than ever, and LinkedIn can uniquely help individuals position themselves as a leader and create connections in their industry. With its nearly 800 million users, undoubtedly, LinkedIn has the crown as the most widely used professional network. Yet for many, the platform’s potential remains untapped, and a bare minimum effort results in predictably lackluster results for many.
To get the best return for your time, a little professional help goes a long way.
I recently sat down with Josh Steimle, author of “60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery,” to talk about how the way we network has changed, and what we can do to best adapt to the new norms and settings. If you are looking for actionable advice to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level, all it takes is this two-month plan to change the way you network online permanently.
1. You’ll Learn the Vital Dos and Don’ts of LinkedIn
For those new to the network, there are some key dos and don’ts which are essential to learn before becoming too active on the platform.
“I’ve outlined ten of the most common and detrimental people tend to do on LinkedIn,” explains Steimle. “Of course you shouldn’t use the platform as a dating or political soapbox, but it goes beyond that. How to use tags and messages without being spammy, the tone of your outreach pitch and how to describe yourself without coming across as cocky are equally important. Getting these basic concepts under your belt is important to avoid embarrassing yourself early.”
By knowing precisely what not to do, the correct path forward becomes more clear. It can take a little time to understand it all, but putting in the effort upfront pays dividends down the line when you use it all to your advantage.
2. You’ll Gain Instruction On How to Reprogram Your LinkedIn Profile
Knowing how to retool your LinkedIn profile is one of the main benefits of Steimle’s book, and he gives a clear and concise guide in this regard. “I’d say over 90 percent of LinkedIn profiles out there could do with a digital makeover,” says Steimle.
“And there are so many easy steps that will instantly increase your legitimacy on the platform. Knowing what kind of photos to use, how to customize your URL and advertise your expertise, these all culminate to create a powerful effect on the reader. If you want to ensure it is a positive one, then it’s helpful to refine each one until it best reflects your strengths.”
The beauty of the book is that it does not require you not commit massive resources or call for an immediate overhaul of everything at once. It provides a daily outline for you to reflect and then act with what you already have on hand.
3. You’ll Be Shown How to Create Quality Connections
Connections are the name of the game with LinkedIn but it’s important to aim for quality as well as quantity with your network. One meaningful connection means infinitely more than a dozen meaningless ones. Small but important details like listing at least five relevant skills mean you’ll be messaged up to 31 times more times by members who are in a related field to your own.
Then it just becomes a matter of knowing how to sift through to find the quality that’s undoubtedly out there. Identify connections that come from a quality source takes time and a critical, but without a large enough base pool, you are less likely to find the hidden gems out there.
Conversely, Steimle’s book will also help ensure your own outreach isn’t classified as spam, which is especially important as you begin to create content.
4. You’ll Make Meaningful Content (Perhaps for the First Time)
There is currently more content out there than ever before, and two million posts are published on LinkedIn every day. The last thing anyone wants to do is needlessly add more to the clamor.
“There’s never been more content available at our fingertips,” notes Steimle.
“But on LinkedIn especially there can be quite a bit of white noise. You don’t want to add to the clutter, so we go over how to ensure the content you share has a purpose. We cover what types of content LinkedIn’s algorithm prefers just for visibility, but overall we recommend thought leadership as the cream of the crop. This not only is unique but also establishes you as an expert in your field.”
If you want to create content that makes an impact, then it won’t do to just share and remark on other’s work. You’ll need to reflect and put forth some personal and unique to yourself, and the steps to get there are clearly outlined by Steimle.
5. You’ll Become a Leader and Teacher, Above All Else
“One of the final steps in the book’s program is covering how to lead and teach others,” says Steimle. “And these lessons don’t just apply LinkedIn but to life as a whole. Teaching both shares essential knowledge with others and further cement your own understanding. Becoming an expert will have positive ripples elsewhere professionally in both the short and long run. Even a small amount of teaching others what you know will go a long way towards mastering the subject, and it’s incredibly rewarding to boot.”
The goal is to become not just a competent user but a creative teacher on LinkedIn, and this is a powerful skill set for any profession. Improving our leadership skills is a continual process, but in just 60 days with Steimle’s guidance, you can master abilities that stretch your professional network to new horizons.