How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Professional Network

Kate Paine, the founder of Standing Out OnlineIn the 8th episode of The PR Maven Podcast®, Nancy Marshall interviewed Kate Paine, the founder of Standing Out Online and a traveling faculty member for The Honor Foundation, a transition institute created exclusively for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community.

Both Nancy and Kate share a passion for what they do, and they shared some great tips for how to use the networking platform, LinkedIn.

Kate noted that LinkedIn is not a social media platform but, rather, a networking platform. Therefore it is important to use LinkedIn differently than you would Facebook or Twitter.

LinkedIn attracts business users. The network is very active with professionals, sales people, job seekers and corporate recruiters. Businesses use LinkedIn to create company and corporate pages, post job openings, attract employees, nurture relationships with customers and prospects, create leads, and promote their offerings.

For your LinkedIn account to be effective, your profile must be compelling. Nancy advises that the summary section of your profile should contain all the keywords you want to be known for.

“Imagine what phrases or terms people would search to find someone with your strengths and qualifications,” she said.

The LinkedIn summary is Google search friendly, so be sure to use it. See Nancy’s LinkedIn profile summary here as a guide in crafting your own. Make sure to use keywords specific to your industry, incorporated in a well-written, purposeful way.

But LinkedIn is not just about touting your skills. It’s about building your professional reputation.

Kate added, “Your LinkedIn profile is all about you but it’s also not all about you.”

“While your profile is a great way to share what your skills are, the various jobs you’ve had and why they might want to work with you, it’s not your resume. You have to offer value and invite engagement,” she said.

Kate and Nancy call this thought leadership.

To illustrate your thought leadership, post an article you found interesting and note why you think it is important to your profession or industry. Demonstrate your expertise on the subject while encouraging others to post their thoughts and opinions on the piece as well.

Kate noted, “Or, post a news story about a national trend, and comment on how it has affected your business locally. Sharing expertise relevant to your field builds your credibility.”

Nancy also recommends connecting with as many people as possible on LinkedIn because that gives you access to their networks, therefore expanding yours.

“Some people say to be conservative with who you link with, but I will accept an invite or extend an invite to anyone who appears to be on the up-and-up,” she said.

Another piece of advice from Nancy: never be sales oriented or pushy. She added “People want to work with those they know, like and trust. Your LinkedIn profile is a great tool for creating those types of relationships, so be authentic.”


The PR Maven® Podcast is presented by Marshall Communications, creator of The Marshall Plan® strategic process. The Marshall Plan is a fully customized document using our 65 proprietary steps and leads to a playbook for your success. If you think your business or organization would be a candidate for a Marshall Plan, you can take our Marshall Plan quiz to find out. Visit Marshallpr.com/quiz.

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