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Norbert Vercauteren
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What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is an online platform for business and career networking. It connects professionals with each other.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is THE online platform for business networking. It connects professionals with each other. It is also an online CV and business card where potential business partners and potential clients or employers can find you and contact you.

But it's more than that. It's also a powerful channel for profiling yourself as an expert. It's an inevitable part of your digital strategy and an almost inexhaustible source of excellent professional information.

Worldwide, the website has more than 600 million registered, of which 3 million in Belgium and 7 million in the Netherlands (2018).

What is the goal of LinkedIn?

Generally speaking, the intention is that you network with LinkedIn to expand your group with business connections. In order to achieve this, people allow each other, by making a 'connection'.

Linkedin Dashboard

Important: what are your goals

Important questions you should ask yourself when you start using LinkedIn: What are my goals? Who and what do I want to achieve?

Do I want to

  • just introduce myself or my business through a comprehensive profile, my digital business card. Who am I? What products or services I offer. Or what am I looking for.
  • that the emphasis is on sales, marketing, service, high-tech, recruitment, finding partners, sharing knowledge...
  • build customer relationships
  • profiling me as an expert or consultant...
  • Use LinkedIn to post vacancies
  • looking for a better job
  • find like-minded people to exchange knowledge or ideas or to share interests
  • quickly find fellow students and colleagues from past and present.
  • Create a group or join a group around a specific topic to exchange information and expand my network.
  • Tracking companies to keep up to date with current vacancies, products, activities of others...
  • only share information to captivate as many followers as possible
  • more...

It is best that you take enough time to write down your answers to the three questions below.

  1. What is my goal? Describe what you want to achieve.
  2. Who are my relevant 1° and 2° degree connections to achieve this goal?
  3. How do I handle it? Work out an action plan.

Formulating it and putting it on paper helps to structure what you have in your head in an orderly way and make it a logically workable whole. It will also give you a better insight into what you really want. Once everything is written down on paper, you will have a handle, a guide in the execution of your plan.

Who is LinkedIn for?

LinkedIn is of value for the self-employed, for owners of a small business, for anyone looking for business partners or employees, customers, speakers or consultants. But it is also for people who are looking for work, for a better position, an internship, a graduation project...

LinkedIn is a network for professionals. It is widely used by entrepreneurs, recruiters, self-employed without personnel, universities and colleges...

LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests, where they can share their insights and experiences, ask for advice and build valuable connections.

You can search for groups of which you want to become a member (register). You can also create your own group for a specific topic or industry.

As a group member you can participate in conversations, formulate questions and answers and send messages to other group members.

Linkedin groups

The miraculous multiplication of contacts

LinkedIn has 3 networking degrees

1° degree connections: these are all your direct contacts

2° degree connections: anyone connected to someone of your 1° degree

3° degree connections: anyone connected to someone of your 2° degree

Networking through LinkedIn explodes the potential of potential contacts and business relationships.

1° degree connections:

Suppose you have 200 direct contacts. People you know, they know you. These are people you can approach without hesitation to ask for help and information.

2° degree connections:

If your 200 1° degree connections each also have 200 people in their 1° degree network and you calculate with an overlap of 50%, then in your 2° degree you have potential access to (200 x 200 x 50%) = 20,000 extra contacts. These are people that you can approach quite easily, because you can refer to a shared knowledge that belongs to your 1° degree connections.

3° degree connections:

With the same reasoning for the 3° degree you arrive (20,000 x 200 x 50%) = 2,000,000 potential contacts 3° degree. Of course, approaching these people will take a little more effort, because you cannot refer to a directly shared knowledge.

Conclusion: With its own network of 200 direct contacts, LinkedIn opens the door to 2,000,000 potential contacts.

Of course LinkeIn has a lot of useful tools to manage your network and your activities. The data of your contact list is always up to date, because everyone keeps and updates their own data.

A good profile is important

Your profile is the base, your signboard. It is therefore extremely important to spend enough attention and time to a good layout well-made profile. Make sure you have professional photos and concise, relevant flawless texts.

First of all, ask yourself how you want to profile yourself or your company. Then create your profile and check whether it meets what you originally had in mind. Important, make your profile truthful. Don't exaggerate. Don't make things prettier than they are.

If you have a good profile, it is easier to attract people who may be of interest to you. If you invite people yourself, they will decide on the basis of your profile whether they want to be linked to you or not.

Create a profile or company page

When you create an account on LinkedIn you will be asked to create a profile. Your profile is your digital CV. You decide what you fill in and what you don't.

As a private individual you can fill in for example: diplomas, education, work experience, specialism, current work, ambitions, place of residence, willingness to...

As a company you can create a company page. You can choose the type: small company, medium or large company, showcase page (page entirely dedicated to a product or target group), educational institution. After filling in a number of standard data, you can start building your company page.

If you have created a profile LinkedIn gives advice based on your profile and that of other users, for example about users that might be interesting for you or your company.

As a registered user with your own profile you can also invite people to be linked to you. This can be either registrants with a LinkedIn profile or unregistered people who don't have a profile yet.

Linkedin Post

Make strong posts and be interactive

When creating a LinkedIn post it is good to know that the majority of users are mainly interested in industry business-specific knowledge, company news and new products and services.

Opt for attention-grabbing subjects, for subjects that appeal. When writing a post, ask yourself who will benefit from it. Make sure that the first few sentences are catchy, triggering the reader to continue reading. That the content is interesting and testifies to knowledge and expertise. Use LinkedIn video.

Regularly share valuable content, ask questions and respond to other people's posts. In short, be interactive. Be careful when inserting with the insertion of external links.

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