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LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. Linkedin has over 250 million users of which 40% access the site daily covering over 200 countries and territories. Users have created over 3 million business pages and 2.1 million groups.
1st Pillar. Niche? What is your account about?
The first thing you need to determine is your purpose on Linkedin and how you want to be known:
- Are you building a professional presence
- Are you a job seeker (active or passive)
- Are you a recruiter
- Do you plan to do market research or generate sales leads
- Will you be doing business development activities
The answer to this question will determine how you will use and develop your presence on LinkedIn. It is also important to be consistent with your personal branding on your other platforms.
2nd Pillar. Get the best tools working for you.
Your Linkedin Profile has a lot of elements to work with. They should be customized to make your profile work the best for you. These elements are:
There are a variety of third party apps that work with your Linkedin Profile. A list of them is curated here.
3rd Pillar. Content.
Linked in gives you the ability to make status updates and many users have also been given the chance to blog inside Linked In. Content is king!
4th Pillar. Be social.
Join group, comment on people`s updates, reply to genuine messages.
5th Pillar. Be real
In general, your profile should include a recent professional picture of yourself. People like interacting with people. Having a recent picture also makes you more recognizable at conferences and networking events. I try to use the same profile picture across all my business social media profiles to make it easy to be found. Linkedin’s Terms of Service also prohibits the use of logos for your profile picture. You should not use family or party pictures. You can use a logo on your company page.
Leverage Linkedin’s Contacts to keep track of Job Changes, News Items, and Job anniversaries. Send a quick note to your key contacts on these milestones to stay top of mind. I also use Newsle to keep current on news stories not posted on Linkedin that enables you to keep current with your connections.
You can use Linkedin’s Mention feature in Status Updates, to alert key contacts of interesting updates and content sharing. Use this feature selectively. Also, commenting on targeted users posts will help keep you top of mind.
Linkedin Status Updates is not like Twitter where you need to post a lot of tweets throughout the day. That will come across as spam to the vast majority of the Linkedin Community.
6th Pillar. Be shared.
You should leverage your status updates and group discussions to share your and others content. Any links you share should have relevant discussion associated with it. Don’t link spam. Now Linkedin is not Twitter so do not blast your network with status updates. and to stay top of mind in your network. Several studies have indicated that the following times are best to post:
- Morning just at the start of the workday of your audience
- Early Evening as your audience wraps up the day
- Tuesday’s through Thursdays are generally the most active days on LinkedIn
If you have a site, include the Linkedin Share button as one of your social media sites.
With Linkedin’s acquisition of Slideshare, your presentations can be leveraged into your profile. This is a chance to show your thought leadership. Linkedin and Slideshare make a powerful combination as they each have their own search engines and are liked by Google.
7th Pillar. Playing small serves no-one. Least of all yourself.
LinkedIn relies on your connections and group memberships to be found, to find others, and to have your content shared. Depending on the scope and focus of your business: local, regional, national, international; your network needs to encompass this.
Your professional contacts should be part of your connections and you can expand your connections based on your focus. If you have a geographic focus, look for large connection accounts in those areas.
The groups you should consider joining include the following types:
- Alumni Groups,
- Company Groups
- Functional (Finance, Marketing, etc.)
- Industry (Telecomm, Manufacturing, Retail, etc)
- Informational Groups,
- Reach Groups (very large groups like job seekers, etc. to expand your reach)
- Most importantly, the groups where your customers area.
Linkedin allows you to hide the groups you are a member of on your profile. So if you join a large job seekers groups and you are not seeking a job, you can hide it. A larger network will increase the ability for you and your content to be found
Putting it all together: In review, your profile should:
- Using professional looking photo
- Using your professional name
- Including a professional headline (not just a title)
- Including your location
- Aligning with your industry
- Customizing your LinkedIn URL
- Posting regular status updates
- Including a professional summary
- Connecting with past and present employers
- Making good use of keywords
- Establishing credibility with recommendations
- Embracing endorsements and monitoring your skills
- Embracing the visual
- Making yourself easy to contact
- Joining relevant groups
- Making smart use of the “sections”
- Building a robust network