Linkedin is by far the top professional platform for business networking. While it is a social media platform, it still holds the spot for professional job hunters and employers. Using LinkedIn as a professional networking site though, many overlook. If you are presently on LinkedIn, you all ready know the many resources at your fingertips in networking with your peers, business leaders, generating leads for your business and more. What some do not know though is not everyone is on LinkedIn for social networking and do not want to be bothered as such. If you are prospecting for leads for instance and you see potential contacts with "connect via email" or you do not see a picture profile, they have their security settings set basically to "If I don't know you, leave me alone!" Respect their wishes. Network with people you know.
Have your profile complete. By that I mean picture, (A good professional photo. Not one shot like a selfie at Joe's Bar and Grille) Fill out the profile step by step. If people you are trying to reach out do not know you, they are going to size you up by your profile. Who are you, what do you do, what have you done in the past, what is your education and experience and so on. While you may not be job hunting, people you are trying to network with want a reason to connect with you and gain insight to your field of expertise.
Don't Advertise Yourself Or Your Business
While LinkedIn does have a place for a website for your business, do not push self promoted emails to other networker or sell your business. LinkedIn is for networking of ideas, business related topics but not for you to go on there and sell your services or tell everyone how good you are. Be respectful and join in discussions. Showing your knowledge of topic or maturity is better and helping others is going to win over possible customers or clients much better if you don't get a big head.
Linkedin has many groups of your interest level that you can join and I suggest you do so. Professional groups in areas that you have a strong interest in are available on Linkedin. Some are moderated or require you to submit to join and the moderator will check your profile to see if in fact you belong there. Joining groups again offers networking opportunities and possible job leads if you are looking at sometime moving on to a different position or relocating. Also when reaching out to new connections, be personal and honest as to why you want to connect.
Try To Meet In Person
While some connections are obviously in other towns or cities or even out-of-state, the majority of your connections are right in your own home town. Make it a point to meet them face to face. This is easily done by saying "Hey how about a meeting for lunch?" or "I will look you up at the next Chamber of Commerce function!" You want to learn more about what they do and they would love to know more about you and your background. As you get to know them through casual conversation or emails, try to find common interests or groups you both belong to and connect.
Linkedin is a very powerful and popular professional network but it only works if you work at doing it right. Learn to "link" your connections. Look at the connections the person you connected with and follow the chain or link. That is what it is all about.