There are 75 million registered users on Linkedin and this spans 200 countries (according to Wikipedia) and it is widely reported to be the best if not the only professional B2B networking platform. It is such a valuable resource from many different perspectives of getting to know your targets and their world before you have actually physically met, their history and whom they know.
• To attract contacts it’s worth keeping your professional profile up to date including background, previous roles and experiences, recommendations (both ways) and join as many relevant groups as possible.
• Start reading the posts from the news digest on a daily basis and respond initially until you build enough confidence to post a discussion thread about something relevant to you and your industry in order to potentially catch the eye of your targets.
• Remember it’s as much about pushing content out there as it is gathering contacts, the more relevant content you put out there on your blog the better the chances that you will appear when people search for talent.
• You may be approached by headhunters as recruiters use Linkedin all the time, but at least you know that your profile is being listed in search results, always examine these results can be very interesting.
• Create a profile for your company and link to this from your email signature and in time you will attract followers, again if you have followers you should give them something in return - news, content etc
• Use Linkedin to find potential partners and approach people through the groups you join as cold approaches never work and cold selling is frowned upon. Don’t post comments such as ‘really hoping to win a new client in the next few weeks as have bills to pay’ etc…
• Follow companies as well as people as will indicate when there have been new hires.
• If you really want to get hold of someone and can’t do it via a group ask one of your connections to introduce you to a potential target, they usually will do so if you offer to return the favour.
• Use Slideshare on your profile page and direct people there so that they can share it online.
According to my profile of 179 connections the number of potential total users available to me is 1,618,400. And that’s a lot of people! Good luck and any questions just ask or connect with me on Linkedin: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/thehandltd