LinkedIn is presently ranked as the number three most popular social networking site behind Facebook and Twitter with more than 255,000,000 monthly users. While you may have mastered Facebook and/or Twitter, approaching your LinkedIn with the same strategy is not the best way to get the most of this platform.
LinkedIn's primary focus is fostering connections for business. Its entire business model is built around this premise, with a premium service available which can give you instant access to more of the people you want to get to know to expand your company's reach or find the next job.
Here are six things to do to make your LinkedIn page work for you.
Use a profile photo
Many people absent-mindedly sign up for LinkedIn and never get around the including a photo. This is not the place to use a photo of your cat or pet snake. Leave your children out of this space and show us a professional shot of your face. We need to see your eyes, so side shots are not the best option. Your photo is the first impression we will have of you so make it count.
Fill out your profile details
Having a clear and concise description of who you do and what you offer is critical. Most people will only skim your profile at first mention so within that first three sections I should know what you do. Use the summary section to highlight your skills or the work area you are interested in pursuing. If you've published books, worked on significant projects make sure there are links to them.
Use the Blog Feature
LinkedIn has opened up its blogs so that every member can no position themselves as a thought leader on their area of expertise. Use it and use it often. Include an image that reflects your post's subject area. Thankfully LinkedIn automatically gives your post an image if you forget to include one but this is only seen in summary mode. Read the blogs of others and share them as well on your profile.
Extend your network
While it is nice to have all of your email buddies as LinkedIn contacts if you plan to use the platform to get new business or find your next job then it is critical you search out people not in your current circle. Groups are a good place to find people with similar interests but who are in different locals or niches which can be future prospects for collaboration. Commenting on articles being shared in your area of expertise or on which you have a general interest is also a good way to make connections and gives people a way to learn more about who you are and how you think.
If you know of the good work that people in your network has done then share it. You will also need others to do the same so be generous with your praise and keep it truthful. Giving recommendations to others is an important way to show who you are but also your willingness to celebrate the successes of others. Use the endorsements option to indicate the areas in which they have specific knowledge. People are more likely to reciprocate when you do the same.
Unlink your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts
While it was considered a time saver and a way for you to be on all platforms at the same time, we now know that the culture and language of each social space is different and you need to approach it that way. We don't need to know that you woke up with a cold or about the cranky customer you told off. Rather use LinkedIn as a space to share tips on how business people can have a better work-life balance to avoid pesky colds and minimize sick days. Share a blog on how you dealt with the cranky customer in a way that puts a positive spin on your customer service and what your company offers.
Nerissa Golden is an award-winning Media Strategist, Business Coach who helps her clients accelerate their business growth by leveraging high impact communications solutions and income generating strategies. She is the author of Like Follow Lead: Mastering Social Media for Small Business and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Get tips on starting and growing a business at www.trulycaribbean.net. Follow her on Twitter @trulygolden.