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Spring 2016


key is to move those new relationships forward. “Don’t just stop at making the connection,” she says. “Build the relationship.” That begins with having a LinkedIn profile that suits your current goals. The beauty of a LinkedIn profile is that it is static, so you can (and should) alter it based on your situation. A professional ching for a new job might want to highlight recognitions, awards, and expertise, but a sales professional or account manager hoping to attract new clients is better off with a client-focused profile. “That sounds counterintuitive, because people think this is their professional profile, but your clients are only going to care about how a relationship with you benefits them,” Dodaro says.

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To enhance credibility, she recommends

creating a profile that informs people about who you are and why you do what you do. “Think about your ideal clients and what problems they have and what solutions you have to solve those problems,” she advises. Testimonials should be results oriented, not

just a message about how great you are to work with, because that likely doesn’t relate to the client’s goals. Recommendations are also crucial, because they provide a high-level social proof. “The reality is that, when people are unsure of what decision to make, they look at the decisions other people have made. That’s called social proof,” Dodaro explains. “The other thing about the level of social proof you can have on LinkedIn is that people can write their own testimonials on their websites, but on LinkedIn there’s a clickable link to the person who has written the testimonial or recommendation.”

When you’re ready to establish new

connections, use a personalized message that explains why you want to connect. “Most connection requests are from people who use LinkedIn poorly, and they are a huge risk,” Dodaro says, explaining that the recipient can either ignore you or hit the “Spam” or “Don’t Know This Person” buttons, both of which will trigger a red flag with LinkedIn. Once you get five of those, your account goes into permanent restriction mode.

accepting your request. From there, follow up with a white paper (or similar) that your company just wrote, before messaging them a week later to set up a call. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is they are collecting connections and not building relationships,” Dodaro says. “Your network equals your net worth. You own your profile, so spend time nurturing it and growing it. It’s about connecting on a personal level and building rapport.” 

job to their profile. To fix that, the employee can edit that job entry and select the correct Company Page.

6. SHARING, LIKING, OR COMMENTING ON COMPANY STATUS UPDATES – This can be difficult to monitor because it’s ongoing and not a one-time profile change, but the more it’s done, the more sets of eyes your company updates are seen by.

LinkedIn also offers a number of organizational tools that surprisingly few professionals rely on. For example, a built-in CRM allows you to set up tags and group your connections by those categories, such as by business or by region. As you look to take connections offline, you can even create a sequence of events and add tags, notes, and reminders of when to follow up as you carry out your lead- generation plan. LinkedIn also has powerful advanced-search functionality that allows you to find people under a variety of search parameters and save those searches. Later, LinkedIn will even tell you when there are new people in that search.


Once you’ve made a new connection, Dodaro recommends building a bit of social capital before turning on the marketing or sales charm. Send a follow-up note thanking the person for


THE LINKEDIN CODE by Melonie Dodaro

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