How to become a LinkedIn Ninja

Teenage TurtlesYou’ve seen them in movies and television series such as Dragon Ball and my personal favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  But what exactly are ninjas?   A
true ninja is not just someone who wears black, drops down from the ceiling and slices everything into pieces.  A ninja represents someone who has mastered the art of doing something.  Taking that liberal definition anyone with an interest, drive and conviction can become a ninja –  mastering something.

Why Become A LinkedIn Ninja? 

This is the first in a number posts I will be doing over the next several months on how to become a LinkedIn Ninja.  So why become a LinkedIn Ninja – Why is gaining mastery of LinkedIn so important?   Let me suggest 3 reasons:

jeffweiner1. LinkedIn is now the business profile of record

That is how LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner describes his site and he has the numbers to back up his claim. With over 200 million profiles worldwide LinkedIn active membership rose 50% from a year earlier. What is truly remarkable page views (people looking at profiles) climbed more than 60%, with much of the growth coming from views on mobile devices like cell phones or tablets.   All of this activity has made LinkedIn the destination site for job seekers, sales professionals and thought leaders.  Plus the company has become the darlings of Wall Street posting an 81% growth in revenue in last year’s fourth quarter with and even faster earnings growth expansion expected in 2013.

2. LinkedIn is critical for an effective networking strategy

LinkedIn puts your networking on hype drive. The importance of LinkedIn is best viewed through the eyes of the effective business to business networking tools of years gone by such as the Rolodexes and the notorious little black address books.  Using those tools your network is only comprised of the people listed on the paper that powered the tool.  LinkedIn allows you to multiply your connections simply by connecting to the connections of your connections or joining groups or by reaching out directly to people you don’t know but would like to get to know.  Things that was simply impossible with those old school technologies.

3. LinkedIn is the best social media tool for generating sales leads

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image482983According to the sales marketing site Hubspot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective in sales leads generations than   Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

Your 5 Step LinkedIn Ninja Starter Plan

Mastering anything starts with the basics so today we will start our Ninja training with five basic things you need to do get the most out of LinkedIn.

❶ Understand your purpose for being on LinkedIn

The thinking manOne of the biggest mistakes that can be made on LinkedIn or any social networking site is nothaving a purpose for doing it.  When developing a LinkedIn strategy with clients at the The Marben Bland Group we ask a single multiple choice questions to help to determine a client’s purpose for being on LinkedIn.  Based on our
years of working with clients these are the top 4 purposes for      being on LinkedIn.

Once you know why you are on LinkedIn you can pursue a strategy that will allow youWhy Are You On LinkedIn to achieve your objectives

❷ Establish a strategy for handling networking, contacts and endorsing /recommendations

LinkedIn is a site for establishing contacts along with building networks.  So it is important that you have a LinkedIn Networking Strategy. The strategy will determine how fast you build your network, the size of your network as well as the quality of the network. Ultimately it will answer the following question for you – How useful or valuable is your LinkedIn network?   In his blog the Undercover Recruiter Jorgen Sundberg details the 3 most popular LinkedIn Networking Strategies

LION

Successful diverse business team laughing togetherStands for LinkedIn Open Networkers, or just open networkers. These users are totally open and will accept any invitation. The idea here is to connect to as many people as possible in order to reach out to more people. A larger network is particularly useful when prospecting for leads and doing research on people and companies

Professional Networker

FellowshipThis is what I believe LinkedIn was intended for, professionals connecting up to further each other’s’ careers. This would be the most typical LinkedIn user. A
salesperson would connect to his or her clients, the client would connect to their suppliers etc. You don’t actually have to have met the other person but  you will have dealt with them and deem there is a value being connected for
both your careers. Professional networkers will normally have anything from 200 to one thousand connections.

Exclusive Networker

CompmiseThis category of people will only ever connect to people they know well, trust and respect. This type of networker is likely to be very selective and can be drawn upon for passing on introductions and recommendations. You could say that the exclusive networker is actually not increasing their connections, merely storing them digitally on LinkedIn. There can be several reasons for wanting to be an exclusive networker, keeping your connections and activities confidential are certainly a major one. Exclusive networkers will rarely have more than 200 connections; remember that these are tight relationships formed over the years.

I have written extensively about networking please see the following posts for more of my take on the subject.

5 Ways to Power-Up Your Networking in 2013

How Strong Are Your LinkedIn Contacts?

3 Smart Job Search Tips for the Class of 2012

❸ Complete your LinkedIn profile to 100%

Linkedin-icon-300x247Before you start “tinkering” with your LinkedIn profile (or hiring a professional to enhance your profile), please take a minute to do the following:

 

 

  • From the drop-down menu next to your name on the right side of the Home page, choose Settings.
  • On the bottom left of the Settings page is a column titled Privacy Controls. Immediately under that heading is a hyperlink that reads “Turn on/off your activity broadcasts.”
  • Click on the activity broadcasts link and a dialog box will open giving you an option to choose who will see your activity updates. This will allow you make changes without the world know what you are doing.
  • If the box is checked to “Let people know when you change your profile, make recommendations, or follow companies,” uncheck it.   Again this is to keep the changes secrete until you are finished will all the changes.
  • Add a good quality professional picture
  • Use the headline to deliver a basic sales pitch about yourself

❹ Endorsement Mondays │ Recommendation Weekly

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14048091Every Monday, take 10 minutes out of your morning to pay-it-forward by endorsing 10 people in your LinkedIn network. Imagine how you would feel if in your inbox on a Monday (a.k.a the day of the week when even the most cheerful people struggle to get going), you found endorsements of your skill sets from your peers.

 

Recommendations are essential to you. Seek them proactively and seek them passively. Proactive recommendation seeking involves reaching out and asking someone to recommend you. Passive recommendation seeking involves recommending someone, at which point LinkedIn asks them to recommend you back. The latter is actually a bit more effective.

Ninja❺ The Five Things LinkedIn Ninjas Should Do Every Day

1. Check your updates – particularly for your contacts’ profile changes and new connections.

2. Check your groups’ digests – look for new members and for opportunities to engage constructively.

3. Reach out with connection requests to anyone you’ve met in the last 24 hours.

4. Look at who’s visited your profile – visit them back and request a connection from anyone who looks interesting.

5. Check your saved searches when the reports come in for new opportunities.

The Bottom Line: Becoming a LinkedIn Ninja’s takes Work

Becoming a LinkedIn Ninja and gaining mastery over the tool takes work.  However, with the growth of LinkedIn as the online business tool of choice I can promise you all the work will have a big payoff.  I am honored to be your online coach helping you to achieving Ninja status.  So stay tune to this blog for more posts on how to become a LinkedIn Ninja.

 

 

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