How to Market Yourself to Your LinkedIn Network
One good way to market yourself is to be alert to how well you're communicating with your LinkedIn connections. Whether it's automatic (like when you update your profile and LinkedIn automatically notifies your network) or self-generated (when you use LinkedIn InMail or introductions to send a note to someone), this communication becomes your ongoing message to the members of your network and keeps you in their minds and plans.
The most effective marketing occurs when people don't realize you're marketing to them. After all, the average American sees all kinds of marketing messages throughout their day. Your goal is to communicate often but not be overbearing about it so your message subtly sinks into people's minds. If you do that, people will think you're grrrr-eat!
So when you're contemplating how to effectively communicate with your network connections, keep these points in mind:
Update your profile when appropriate. Updating your profile means that you're sending an update of your newest projects to your network so that your connections can consider involving you in their current or future projects. You don't need to update your profile as often as you update a blog, but you certainly don't want to leave your profile untouched for months either. Useful times to update your profile include
Getting a new job or promotion
Starting a new freelance or contract job
Launching a new company or venture
Adding a missing piece of your Experience section, such as adding a new position, updating the description of an existing job, or clarifying the role of a group or interest on your profile
Receiving an award or honor for your professional, nonprofit, or volunteer work
Being appointed to a board of directors or elected to a professional association board
Taking on new responsibilities or duties in any of your endeavors
Take advantage of the Network Updatefeature. When you specify your current endeavors, several things happen. Your profile reflects what you enter here, your network connections see what you enter here when they read their network updates about you, and you start to build your own microblog, in a sense, because people can follow your natural progression.
A similar example of a microblog is Twitter. As you update your Twitter profile with 140-character messages, other people can follow your activities and even subscribe to these updates. Tie your Twitter updates to your LinkedIn account, so if you tweet on Twitter, those updates are automatically reflected on your LinkedIn profile.
Some people use the Network Update feature to let people know that Joel is getting ready for his next project. Other people use the messages to show progression of a certain task, like Joel is currently conducting interviews for an Executive Assistant position he is trying to fill, then Joel is narrowing down his choices for Executive Assistant to two finalists.
Search for, and join, any relevant LinkedIn Groups that can help you reach your target audience. It's a good idea to participate in these groups, but whatever you do, don't immediately download a list of all group members and spam them with LinkedIn messages. When you join the group, you're indicating your interest in that group because your profile now carries that group logo.
Membership in such groups gives you access to like-minded people you should be communicating with and adding to your network. Spend some time every week or every month checking out LinkedIn Groups and networking with group members to grow your network.
Participate on a regular and consistent basis. The easiest way to ensure a steady stream of contact with as many people as you can handle is to dedicate a small, fixed amount of time to regularly interact with the LinkedIn community. Some members spend 15 to 30 minutes per day, sending messages, reading through the Groups and Companies or Influencers page, or finding people to add to their network.
Others spend an hour a week, or as long as it takes to create their set number of recommendations, invite their set number of new contacts, or reconnect with their set number of existing connections. You just need to establish a routine that works with your own schedule.