LinkedIn is the professional’s networking site. It’s a place where people connect to share information, discuss relative topics, seek opportunities, and enhance business relationships. While it’s a heaven for recruiters, LinkedIn offers value for all walks of life. Let’s discuss how you can optimize your LinkedIn experience.
If you’re working for IBM and in every social network your byline reads, “the views represented here are my own and not those of my employer” just be careful about your activity. This is something you need to feel out with your employer.
LinkedIn (LNKD) went public in May 2011, and currently trades ($160.44) (updated 2/24/2013) above its opening day high. It’s IPO and run has been smooth and profitable, much better than the ballyhooed and disastrous Facebook IPO. With a 187 million users and growing it would behoove you not to participate. LinkedIn offers a lot of opportunity to connect with others and build relationships.
1) Keep your profile updated – This may sound simple, but so many users can’t manage to complete their profile. Having a LI profile without a photo is inexcusable. Period. If you don’t have a photo displayed, you lose credibility. Upload a professional headshot photo if you haven’t already. A headshot is more personal than a logo. Arguably worse than no photo is a picture of a celebrity. Come on. Take the time to complete your profile. It’s to your benefit to go in and complete 100%.
2) Customize your website links – Under the Contact info tab you should put your business website info. You can have two additional site listed in this space. Add your personal blog and a charity site that you support. Now something a lot of users miss is personalizing the title of the sites. Using the default “Company Website” is bland. Charge it up a bit.
Go to: Profile > Edit Profile > Additional Information (on the bottom) > Edit > Websites > Other
Put the title in for each site or use keywords if you prefer. Mix it up, be creative.
3) Join Groups and Engage – Groups are arguably the most important part of LinkedIn. This is where you meet people and build rapport. This is where connections are made. There’s no build rapport in 15 minutes plan. This takes time. While you can join up to 50 groups, start with 1-2 where you have an interest and will be active. Anymore than that and you won’t be able to keep up.
4) The new “one-click” endorsement – This has been all the buzz of late. The critics have lined up. LinkedIn is worthless now because it’s too easy give an endorsement. Come back down to earth. Think of it as a little nugget, a show of appreciation to someone else.
5) Recommendations – Unlike the “one-click” immediate gratification endorsements, recommendations are a more thorough representation of a business relationship. A couple things. Even if you’ve amassed 50-60 recommendations, you should only show 7-8 on your profile. Anything more is too much, and will probably include some poorly written versions. You want to highlight the marquee recommendations. I’ve been asked multiple times to write recommendations, and while I’ve done some, they can be a time consuming operation. Learn to say “No”. You have to pick your spots. People will ask, and feel like I should have it done by the end of the day. If you do say yes, set expectations so it doesn’t get messy. Another idea is to have the requester write up something themselves and you can tweak and edit accordingly. This takes the onus of you create this from scratch. If I was asking for a recommendation today, I would proactively write it up myself to get the ball rolling.
6) Content Curation – Finding solid relative content is an ongoing challenge for both individuals and businesses. LinkedIn provides an area that consistently delivers good quality content that can be easily shared. LinkedIn Today captures the day’s top new, and is tailored specifically for you. LinkedIn Today can be found under News in your profile.
7) Post, Comment, and Like – This ties in with #3. People post on Facebook, but many forget about LinkedIn. This article will be posted on LinkedIn. If you have something interesting to share, either of your own or something you uncovered, go ahead and post it. Likes are always appreciated for others that post, and commenting allows you to share your voice and participate in some great conversations.
8) Tight Connections or Loose Connections – So you have two ways to go with your account. Keep it tight with only people you know personally, or open the flood gates and accept every invitation that comes your way. There are arguments for both sides. You’ll see LION a lot on LinkedIn. LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. If you want to go this route, I’d suggest joining TopLinked. It runs $10/mo and adds you to an invite me list. If you do join, make sure to turn off your notifications. They come in fast and furious. I went this route because at the time I was a Sales Manager and wanted to build a huge database for my team. You need to decide what’s best for you situation.
9) Premium Account – I’ve upgraded to premium a few times on LinkedIn over the last five years. For certain occupations it makes sense and it’s worth the $24.95/mo. The Executive turbo plan actually runs $99.95/mo. If you’re in Sales, HR, and/or Recruiting, it’s worth a closer look. The premium upgrade allows you to see more.
10) LinkedIn Advertising – Oh yes, LinkedIn offers Ads. I’ve used this a handful of times with another business and had mild success with 1-2 warm leads for each $25 spend. It works similar to Google Ads in search. You have 25 characters for the Title and 75 characters over 2 lines for the description. You can also and can add an image. LinkedIn Ads really allow you to pinpoint who sees your advertisement. You can target your campaign by location, company, job title, and many more. They offer Pay per Click (CPC) and Pay per 1,000 Impressions (CPM). Go with the CPC as you want people clicking through to your landing page. The minimum budget is $10.00.
As is the case with most Social Networks, you get what you put into it. Yes, let’s not split hairs, LinkedIn is a social network. If you don’t stay active and participate consistently you will not get results from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for business owners. It is a simple one to use, too. LinkedIn used properly can help you to gain very specific people who may be ideal visitors to your blog. They will not visit just one time either. The right networking will net you followers of your blog long term.
If you’re looking learn more about LinkedIn, I highly suggest two books from Neal Schaffer. He takes it to another level, and both books provide a ton of value. You can actually download a free sample from each book. Neal has no idea I’m putting this information here, so say Hi for me if you go over to his site.
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