4 Ways to Get More MBA Mileage from LinkedIn

Grow your business by making the most of this underutilized network

In the financial services industry, there’s no better place to spend your time online than LinkedIn. Surprised? With more than 500 million members, LinkedIn offers a high-performance personal branding platform that you can fully activate, design and manage.

When you think of LinkedIn as your MBA [Marketing Business Accelerator], you can transform your LinkedIn profile into a platform for lead generation and thought leadership.

Studies show that LinkedIn is the best choice for lead generation among social networking sites, and the number one source of referral traffic for most companies.

1. Invest in an account upgrade.

A basic, free, personal LinkedIn account is great for getting started. But to use LinkedIn features to grow your business—including the advanced search—you’ll want to invest in an upgraded personal or business account. Take a look in your account settings to explore the options.

2. Actively build your network.

You can take an active approach to building your connections, or a passive approach—waiting for others to reach out to you. Many people set up a profile, invite the people they know to connect, and then wait to receive invitations. But why wait? Take an active approach. Every new person you add to your network increases your connections exponentially.

Think about it how the three-degrees of LinkedIn connections can help you:

* First degree—people you actually know or have worked with

* Second degree—your direct connections’ friends and colleagues

* Third degree—an extensive community of shared networks

Because you can export your contact list and sync it with your database, every connection is another person you can reach via email – just make sure you have their permission to be added to a marketing list.

3. Seek the right people to invite.

Start by importing your email address book and sending invitations to people you know. Be careful that you don’t just send invitations to every email address you’ve ever collected. If enough people click on “I don’t know this person” in response to your invitations, LinkedIn may limit your ability to add connections in the future.

Shape your network’s regional and industry access by reviewing your network statistics in the Contacts section. Search for new people to connect with in the areas where you’d like to grow, and invite them to join your professional network. You can also view connections suggested by LinkedIn, based on your current connections.

4. Participate in LinkedIn groups.

Sort of like super-powered connecting, LinkedIn groups give you a place to interact and form a closer relationship with a crowd of like-minded people. LinkedIn lets you join a maximum of 50 groups. If every group has an average 1,000 members, that’s 50,000 people you can share with every day, if you choose to.

Remember, every action you take adds to the shape and power of your LinkedIn network. Your LinkedIn profile connects you to a global community with millions of people and represents the virtual marketplace. Every move you make increases your LinkedIn MBA mileage – and your success.


The founder of CoryWest Media and Chicago’s Social Media Club, Barbara is the creator of the 3D Marketing Transformations System. An innovative online marketer since 1996, Barbara won Nokia’s contest to represent the U.S. at Social Media Week Berlin. Whether they’re entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, associations or corporations, Barbara consults with her clients on ways to quickly achieve their marketing goals to increase visibility, attract leads, grow business, and click with crowds using power full social media, content marketing, and PR strategies. CoryWest Media’s services include marketing audits, scalable content marketing plans, personal and company-wide LinkedIn makeovers, event marketing strategies and production, executive coaching, and customized live or online social media trainings. Her insurance industry experience includes creating sales training programs for a Dun & Bradstreet subsidiary and many Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. An international sales leadership speaker, Barbara is a professional member of the prestigious National Speakers Association [NSA] and serves on the NSA Illinois chapter’s board of directors. Corporations and conferences engage Barbara to present enlightening, energetic and effective programs. She’s presented at MDRT Annual Conference, Federal Reserve WEDGE Conference, Joint Commission, Bosch Power Tools, Sears, TechWeek Chicago, Social Media Week, CarnegieComm, IMEX Frankfurt, IACC Annual Conference, Association Forum, MPI Potomac, MPI Chicago, ISHMPR, Influencer Marketing Days and many more. Two best-sellers include Barbara’s work: “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars” [LinkedIn] and “Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars” [PR].