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We’ve all heard it be­fore: it’s not what you know, but who you know. But what we should be think­ing is: ‘It’s not who you know, but it’s about who knows you’.

I would also go as far as say­ing: ‘It’s not who you call but who calls you’.

And thanks to LinkedIn’s pow­er­ful plat­form, reach­ing out and build­ing your net­work has never been eas­ier with over 80% of Aus­tralia’s five mil­lion pro­fes­sion­als now on LinkedIn.

With one click of a but­ton you can con­nect with mil­lions of new po­ten­tial cus­tomers, find new po­ten­tial part­ners to help grow your or­gan­i­sa­tion, con­nect with the me­dia to build your per­sonal or com­pany brand and even hire new staff. And best of all ev­ery con­nec­tion you make is tar­geted.

Gone are the days where you need to spend count­less amount of hours im­ple­ment­ing mar­ket­ing strate­gies in or­der to get in front of key de­ci­sion mak­ers for your prod­uct or ser­vice. LinkedIn al­lows you to search, con­nect and de­velop re­la­tion­ships in real time with any­one around the world 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

I am get­ting ex­cited just writ­ing about it. Take a mo­ment now, stop and think about the pos­si­bil­i­ties this cre­ates for you and your or­gan­i­sa­tion.

No longer will you have to pay high re­cruit­ment fees to find new po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees, sim­ply use LinkedIn’s pow­er­ful re­cruit­ment fea­tures to search, find and con­nect with talent all over the world.

No longer will you have to spend hours and hours trav­el­ling to net­work­ing func­tions, in the hope that you will make a valu­able con­tact. With LinkedIn you can con­nect with hun­dreds of tar­geted busi­ness pro­fes­sion­als ev­ery week.

In a busi­ness world that is rapidly chang­ing, learn­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the lat­est sales and mar­ket­ing strate­gies is not a choice it is a ne­ces­sity if you are to stay rel­e­vant.

Whether you are a new­bie, have an ac­count but not ac­tive or would like to fur­ther your ed­u­ca­tion here are my top three tips in or­der to plan, con­nect and ul­ti­mately profit through LinkedIn: 1. First and fore­most you need a com­pelling LinkedIn pro­file. In fact if you are ‘NOT’ on LinkedIn, I rec­om­mend stop­ping ev­ery­thing you’re do­ing right now and cre­ate a pro­file.

Your pro­file is one of if not the most im­por­tant as­pects of build­ing your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional net­work. Un­like 5-10 years ago, to­day people buy into you, be­fore they even look into your com­pany let alone your prod­uct.

“We are CEOs of our own com­pa­nies: Me Inc. To be in busi­ness to­day, our most im­por­tant job is to be head mar­keter for the brand called You.” –Tom Peters 2. Once you have com­pleted your pro­file step two is all about cre­at­ing a plan. I am sure you have heard of the say­ing: In life people don’t plan to fail they fail to plan. Well busi­ness is no dif­fer­ent; plan­ning gives you a sense of pur­pose and di­rec­tion.

Think about some of the goals you would like to achieve within your cur­rent role over the next 3, 6, 12 months. Once you have writ­ten this down, now start to think about all the people you need to con­nect with in or­der to help you reach those mile­stones.

For ex­am­ple if you are look­ing to in­crease your per­sonal or com­pany pro­file you may want to start con­nect­ing with jour­nal­ists and ed­i­tors in busi­ness. If your aim is to in­crease rev­enue you may want to start con­nect­ing with po­ten­tial joint ven­ture part­ners.

The point is make sure that the con­nec­tions you make are mean­ing­ful and tar­geted in help­ing you achieve your goals. 3. And fi­nally add value. To be suc­cess­ful on LinkedIn and in busi­ness over­all you have to think about WIIFT (What’s In It For Them) rather then WIIFU (What’s In It For You) ini­tially.

Just be­cause they ac­cepted your con­nec­tion in­vite doesn’t mean they are in­ter­ested in what you have to say, re­mem­ber: to be in­ter­est­ing you have to be in­ter­ested.

Build­ing re­la­tion­ships through LinkedIn is no dif­fer­ent to deal­ing with people in a net­work func­tion, it’s all about adding value and cre­at­ing a win­win sce­nario. Alex Pirouz is an en­tre­pre­neur, au­thor and busi­ness men­tor who as­sists com­pa­nies to suc­cess­fully start, grow and exit their busi­ness. Con­nect with Alex on LinkedIn.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of Link­flu­encer.

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