Illuminating an Online Brand – Business Social Networking with LinkedIn

Written by: Anthony Stipa

Whether you’re new to the “World’s Largest Professional Network,” or a seasoned veteran, everyone is looking to expand their circles of influence.

And the centerpiece of any polished digital brand is a smart, savvy LinkedIn profile. Viewers can easily access vocational history, a list of connections, endorsements and contact information.

But what is the right way to build your connection base? Once you’ve exhausted your personal database and even scrounged together a few “People You May Know,” it’s time to take networking to the next level…professional social. If you want to cross the 500+ threshold, it’s about getting out of your comfort zone.

There’s no better way to meet people than when you have no other option. Get to an industry-specific event, but fly solo. Without a sidekick, you’ll gravitate toward the room’s other inhabitants. Bounce around and exchange business cards with new faces. Then, the next day, you can add them to your network on LinkedIn. Be sure to include a friendly, personalized “invite” message.

Your work isn’t done yet.

It’s important to maintain these relationships on the social site by posting relevant stories, blurbs and work samples for your circle to see. This allows for commenters and a formal dialogue between people who preferably work in the same field.

It’s a two-way street, though. Don’t be bashful about respectfully chiming in on others’ posts. This is a great way to stockpile credibility and create a more substantial, loyal network. Regular updates are necessary, because a stale page signals laziness and complacency. Twice per week is a fair middle ground between invisible and excessive.

This isn’t designed to be an overnight solution – it takes time and patience.

In the meantime, clean up any digital baggage following you around. A simple Google search could yield unflattering results. Lockdown Facebook and Twitter pages to make them private, and remove potentially hazardous photos from existence. The Internet can be a bottomless landfill leading to your downfall. There’s no reason to ruin a sparkling LinkedIn page with other distractions.

Take these steps, and you’ll be able to illuminate your digital brand. And if you’re stuck on 499 connections, you can always find me.