LinkedIn has become an indispensable tool for recruiters these days and there’s so much that can be done with the platform that we could write for days and days about tactics and approaches to using it. But all too often, we see recruiters almost falling at the first hurdle by either using LinkedIn in the wrong way, or getting some of the basics wrong. So here are five golden tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn1 Complete your profile

It’s absolutely critical to have an up to date profile. This doesn’t mean just listing where you currently work, but taking a little time to write about your place of work, the role you do, and what you’re looking to network with others about, is essential groundwork. You should also include an up to date, professional photograph too. And ensure you’ve listed your company website and social media accounts in your contact information so others can easily get in touch with you. Finally, and it’s a common problem – but make sure you list your company name properly. If you don’t, your profile won’t pull in the company logo and you’ll not be virtually associates with your company. So don’t add on a divisional name to your company name as LinkedIn just won’t know what to do with your profile.

2 Engage with others

LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. In the same way you wouldn’t just stand silently at a physical networking event, don’t just read stuff on LinkedIn. Get involved. Look at what other’s are saying and offer your opinion. If you can refer someone as a lead, even better.

3 Share regular updates

Get in to the habit of posting regularly. Remember, this isn’t Facebook – so save your political posts and cat photos please – and it’s not Instagram, so no breakfast photos here either. But visual posts, business posts, questions, sharing news and opinions – and not just about your own company – but more broadly for the sectors or regions you operate in, will all help to establish your voice in your online community.

4 Don’t just broadcast

Having said the “share regular updates” earlier, there’s a balance to be had, so don’t just go into broadcast-only mode. To continue the networking event analogy, you wouldn’t walk into an event saying “me, me, me” and not listening or responding to anything anyone else had to say. In the same way, whilst it’s important to share your news, consider answering questions, commenting on other’s news, participate in online discussions. And if you’re recruiting, in most instances you should avoid only sharing jobs. That’s not to say sharing jobs isn’t worthwhile, but think about your network. Not all of them will be interested in your roles and you’ll quickly have people disconnecting from you, if you keep bombarding them with irrelevant stuff.

5 Participate in groups

Groups are focused areas of LinkedIn where like-minded people can discuss specific topics with each other. But don’t just go for the groups that have the largest number of members either. Yes, you’re either trying to build a candidate pipeline, or network with clients, but all too often recruiters will be banned from joining industry groups if they join and then spam those groups. So, research the Groups available in your region and sector. Be selective. Look at how well they’re moderated and if possible, see the sorts of discussions taking place. Think about where you can add value, then join the group and start getting involved. Remember tips two, three and four: engage with others, share regular updates and don’t just broadcast – and you’ll have made a great start to building your LinkedIn network.

Bonus tip

Consider using a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to really help your time management. If you’ve got a lot of content or jobs to share, you can schedule much of this to go in advance so that it doesn’t interfere too much with your day-to-day recruiting. They’re invaluable tools where multiple social networks are involved too, as they can post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others – all at the same time. Both offer free starter packages so you can see which one works best for you – but even the paid options which offer a decent level of extra functionality are relatively low cost at c. £10 per month.

And of course, don’t forget to follow appropriate companies in your sector. The Harrison Sands LinkedIn page is a great place to start!