Being a finance guy, a growth rate of 1900 percent is inspiring, to say the least.

I kicked off a personal experiment on LinkedIn In 10 weeks ago to find out how someone could make the most of a professional network. It was valuable for my role as a CFO of a growing business, but also helpful for me to understand how I can provide professional networking advice for entrepreneurs and students I mentor. The experiment was pretty simple: get more engaged in topics and groups that I was interested in; like articles and post comments as appropriate and share articles to groups I am involved in.

If you're looking to increase your visibility on this significant professional network, see what techniques worked the best:

1.   FINISH YOUR PROFILE

Don't waste your time constantly changing your picture, your job title, your skills or whatever to get a few incremental views.  They are not sustainable and do not contribute to the identity you want to put forth. Get your headshot and keywords in order and then simply follow the guide Linked In provides on how to complete your profile. Do exactly what it says.  When they rank you as "All-Star", you know you have done it.  The resulting profile should show you know what you are doing, are credible and professional. People will want to connect with that image.

2.   EXPAND YOUR NETWORK WITH QUALITY AND QUANTITY

Joining more Groups is the easiest and fastest way to expand your network but be selective which groups you join. They should focus on your areas of interest and expertise and have thousands of members. A wider range of Groups suggests you have a bigger range of expertise.  Generally speaking, even small responses in larger groups get more views than in smaller groups.

3.   TAKE ACTIONS

Likes, shares, posts, adding connections, and endorsements all count as Actions and Actions drives Views.  My experiment showed me that, on average, 1 View requires 2.16 actions.  So start taking action!

4.   ANALYZE AND ADJUST

Do a weekly analysis of your Actions and Views. Daily changes are more volatile so don't get stressed on daily changes.  Likely, your View uptick will take more time as you begin to establish yourself.  But if your views stay flat or decline for more than three weeks, you simply need to take more Actions, adjust your strategy or both.

5.   EVALUATE YOUR STRATEGY

You will likely find that certain aspects of your strategy are working better than others.  Views are one indicator but the overall quality of the discussions that result from your postings, and the amount of likes, are also key areas to look at.  My experiment showed that all Shares are not created equal.  Articles shared with timely and meaningful insights garner much more engaged discussions and likes (and views) than those without.  Also, certain groups may be inherently more active than others.  More frequent shares to these will yield more views.

6.   KICK IT UP A NOTCH

Once satisfied with your strategy, begin to execute on it consistently and easily.  My experiment showed me that regular shares (5-7 days per week) to all my Groups, accompanied by timely and meaningful insights, were getting the best results. It is simple to share to Groups so this is a scalable strategy. Doing this resulted in 60-100% increases in weekly views  versus prior levels.

7.   DEEPEN YOUR ENGAGEMENT

When you share an article that someone has responded, common courtesy is to respond to that in some way. If a discussion has been started, jump in.  If likes have been posted but no discussion, consider posing a question to the group and see what happens.  People who engage in some way are likely trying to figure out their strategy as well; affirmation of some sort is helpful to encourage them to keep exploring.  This is just the right thing to do but I also believe people will notice and want to connect.

The experiment was helpful in understanding how to optimize for Linked In and get more exposure, but really, my biggest gains were the quality of the interactions I observed and experienced. Those proved to be the most rewarding.

You can connect with Marty, and join his experiment, on his LinkedIn profile

 

Published on: Jul 20, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.