LinkedIn, we are all on it, but how many of us actually know how to use it as a business tool? Whether on the hunt for a new job, looking for the ideal client or seeking to build your brand online—your presence on LinkedIn matters. You may not realize this, but LinkedIn also has a lot of useful features that often times go unnoticed or are underutilized. Here are a few of the more prominent ones you can hone in on when mastering LinkedIn.
First the Profile
Fill It Out
Before you can even begin to use LinkedIn as a business asset, you need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is properly filled out. This may seem pretty standard, but it’s an important first step to mention. If you are an individual looking to make any sort of impact in the business community, you need to make sure, at a minimum, your basic information, job history and contact information are all updated and accurate. Without it, you run the risk of tarnishing your professional image due to the lack of effort.
Quantity vs. Quality
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all have their own unique guidelines for posting. For Twitter you are supposed to “tweet” rather frequently, sometimes 7-8 times a week depending on your industry. For Facebook, it can be anywhere from 3-5 posts a week. LinkedIn on the other hand is its own beast. With LinkedIn, the idea is to post periodically, and more importantly, make sure what you are posting is of practical use to your connections or target audience.
One way you can target specific audiences is by joining LinkedIn groups. When you are a part of a LinkedIn group, remember to post content that your group would genuinely find useful, as well as comment and participate in the groups you are a part of to get the conversation going! Lastly avoid being overly promotional with your posts. This is a sure fire way for people to hit the “ignore” button on not just that post, but all future posts in general. The idea is to let your posts speak for themselves so that you’ll eventually gain a following over time.
Increase Your Level of Credibility
One way you can increase credibility, and become an informative source in the process, is to publish LinkedIn publications. Writing about issues that matter in your industry will set you up as leader in your field, ultimately leading to increased leads and sales over time. Wondering how to get started? See the “Publish a post” button on the home screen? Click there and get typing!
Asking other LinkedIn users for recommendations is great way to show you are indeed all that you say you are. When asking for recommendations, it is best to ask previous employers, ex co-workers or satisfied clients. Recommendations are known for being “overly positive” and thus not much stock is put into them, especially when it’s a recruiter you are seeking to please. Asking for recommendations from contacts you’ve worked with, or worked for, builds your credibility, and is typically taken more seriously than a recommendation from a friend, family member or random LinkedIn connection.
Skills Can Hurt
Be careful with the skills you attach to your profile. If it isn’t something you can actually do or isn’t a strength, don’t put it down. Credibility can be lost if it turns out you can’t live up to that trait. Skills, or keywords, do however have their use. For instance, when someone searches for your skill set, or if a potential employer uses Match Score to mill down the candidate pool, it will help you show up provided you’re a match. Just keep your skill set honest, and you’re golden.
Making Connections… the Proper Way
Share Profile Feature
Want to learn a better way to make connections with people on LinkedIn that you don’t necessarily know yet? Try looking through your contacts to see if any of them are connected to the contact you wish to make. If they are, you can ask the connection to click the “Share profile” link under the blue “Send a message” button as a way of introducing the two of you. The person doing the introducing can write a brief message as well to start things off. Nervous about asking? Suggesting an introduction on their behalf with one of your contacts might be a nice gesture to reciprocate, as well as encourage them to get the introduction started. LinkedIn also has its own “introduction feature,” but it can only be used to connect 2nd degree contacts.
Another way of making personal connections with people on LinkedIn that you aren’t in contact with, is to send an Inmail message. LinkedIn gives you a limited number of Inmail messages for free, so use them wisely. Looking to increase your response rate for every message sent? We suggest crafting a personalized message, instead of using an automated message. In crafting a more personal message, you can begin by researching their company to find out where you fit in, or how your product or service could help improve their business. Another good thing to add are personal references. Much like applying for a job, using personal references from your past jobs or business projects can increase the likelihood you will get a response.
Other Social Media Accounts Matter
Keep It Work Appropriate
Everything that you do online affects your social media presence. Whether you shared an unflattering college party moment in the past, or someone shared a photo of you that wasn’t the best—it will show up when people search online to learn more about you. This doesn’t just apply to job seekers, but people with jobs as well. Your boss may not have checked out your online presence before hiring you, but you can bet a company looking to do business with you will. In addition to job seekers, the more client orientated your profession is the more this tends to apply. A good rule of thumb to follow if you fall into either one of these categories is to keep your comments and posts that are visible to the outside public as unbiased and appropriate as possible. If you wouldn’t say it in the workplace or at a client meeting—you probably shouldn’t put it online. Additionally, if you’ve been tagged in a photo you don’t want to be associated with, untag yourself or ask the person to kindly take it down.
Need help managing your LinkedIn profile, or creating industry focused content for your posts? We are here to help! Please contact Melissa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 208.461.5070.