LinkedIn is the social network of choice for many businesses and entrepreneurs. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn is all about business. It is THE place where beneficial partnerships are the most likely to happen.
But how, you ask? Read on. Here are 9 tips to get you started on the right track.
- Complete your profile
- Feature your SlideShare presentations
- Optimize your public profile link
- Focus on relevant connections
- Use Groups
- Leverage Recommendations
- Stay in touch with members of your network
- Stay in the know about your industry with Pulse
- Publish content on LinkedIn
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Complete your profile
While many of my reasons for connecting with LinkedIn members may be different from yours, we have one thing in common: We want these connections to be relevant to what we do.
Having an empty profile goes against what social networking stands for. It drives people away and makes you undesirable.
Think of your profile as an onliné résumé:
- Take the time to add information: industry and location, current and past positions, education, and skills.
- Upload a professional photo.
- Include an optimized tagline and relevant keywords in your descriptions.
- Promise only what you can deliver. Avoid claiming bombastic words and titles. We want to connect with a human being.
In a nutshell, make it as easy as possible for people to click the “invite” button or contact you.
Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn!
Do you know that LinkedIn allows you to display samples of your work in the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your profile? If you use SlideShare to show off your presentations and infographics, this is particular useful to make your profile visually appealing.
Here is an example with my profile:
There are two ways to add your SlideShare content.
1) Via LinkedIn – Follow instructions here.
2) Via your SlideShare account – Visit your “My uploads” section and mouse over the item you want to add. Then, click “Add to profile” (blue button).
To make your LinkedIn public profile URL easier to find — hence SEO friendly — use your entire name. For example, mine is: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/cendrinemarrouat (“ca” because I am located in Canada). LinkedIn is fully optimized and will often rank higher in search results than Twitter and Facebook.
To edit your URL, click the “Edit” button on your profile, then “edit” next to your URL. The option is located on the next page.
Focus on relevant connections
It may seem like a cliché, but your LinkedIn network should be a reflection of who you are as a professional. Quality matters much more than quantity.
Actually, no one cares about the number of connections you have.
When you send someone an invitations, avoid using the generic default message (“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”). It is very impersonal and makes recipients feel like they are just numbers in your to-do list.
Taking the time to write a short but professional message to a LinkedIn member will go a long way!
LinkedIn Groups are great tools to find connections that are relevant to your niche as well as interesting topics of discussion.
I have seen many experts recommend to join as many as 50 groups. I will go against the grain here. The number does not matter. What matters is the relationships you build inside those groups. It really is about interacting without being pushy about your services/products.
LinkedIn recommendations are testimonials written by members to vouch for their connections. They are taken very seriously, so displaying them on your profile could do wonders for your brand.
Only ask for and give recommendations to people you know — not strangers you have just added to your contact list. As a professional entrepreneur on a professional network, your credibility is at stake. So, use common sense.
Stay in touch with members of your network
The best way to build good relationships with people is to send them occasional reminders that you are connected. LinkedIn has a great email service. Take advantage of it. But, please, don’t spam their inbox. They will not hesitate to report you.
Also, don’t forget to visit your “Connections” section to learn what your connections have been up to (new job, work anniversary…). Click the “Click congrats” button to leave them a public comment.
If you must send a group message, be polite and make the content personal. And disable the feature that allows recipients to see the entire distribution list.
Stay in the know about your industry with Pulse
Located in the drop-down menu of your Interests section, Pulse used to be called LinkedIn Today. LinkedIn’s magazine features content from Influencers, LinkedIn contributors, and publications that is trending in your network. It is the perfect place to find interesting articles, leave comments, and interact with other members of the platforms.
Publish content on LinkedIn
Do you know that as a LinkedIn member, you can now contribute your ideas and professional insights to the platform? Here are some benefits:
- The content you publish is displayed on your profile.
- People outside your network can follow you. They will receive an update every time you publish a new article.
- Your content is indexed and searchable on LinkedIn and in search engines.
- Increased exposure for your business, especially if your articles are featured in the Pulse section of LinkedIn’s Homepage.
- Access to performance metrics and follower stats.
Now, it is your time to speak. What are your tips to make the most of LinkedIn?