Unlike Facebook and Twitter where you can mix personal with professional, LinkedIn is specifically for business and professionals. There are over 25 million registered users from virtually every industry and profession.
LinkedIn is a non intrusive way of staying in touch with business contacts. And even better, it’s an easy entry point for small businesses looking to get into social media because it doesn’t take much time and it’s pretty easy to use.
When you join, take time adding your profile – add a summary of where you are working now, and your previous positions. Don’t forget to add a professional photo. Also include what you want to be contacted about. At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities.
LinkedIn allows you to quickly add your contacts via Outlook. You can search for people you want to link with and LinkedIn suggests people you may know, and then you can send them a message asking them to add to your network.
LinkedIn isn’t a popularity contest – it’s the quality of connections rather than quantity. Having said that, the more connections you have the more networked you are. As with ‘real-life’ networking, people would much rather work with people who their associates are connect to.
After each networking function I attend I add the people I have met to my LinkedIn connections so I can easily stay in touch with each other without having to email or call. I also take a look at my connections’ connections to see if I know anyone that I would like to reconnect with.
Recommendations are an effective way of promoting, and getting promoted by the people who you work with. People who are happy with your work can write a brief description of their experience on your LinkedIn profile. Ask clients or co-workers to post recommendations, which future employers and clients can view to gauge your skill and level of trustworthiness. Obviously, what goes around comes around, so you should also take the time to recommend people you’ve had good experiences with.
Improve your Google PageRank
Have you noticed that when you Google a person’s name often their LinkedIn profile is highly ranked. This means you can influence what people see when they search for you online. So make sure you add not only important (credible) information but also your website, blog on your profile. Remember to create a public profile and select “Full View.”
For the public profile instead of using the default URL LinkedIn automatically gives you, customise your public profile’s URL to be your actual name. For example mine is http://www.linkedin.com/in/catrionapollard. I have added this to my email signature as well as my website and blog. On your website you can add the LinkedIn badge to each of your staff bio’s so potential clients can read more about your team. For example see Mindset’s “The Mindset’s Team”
There are thousands of Groups on LinkedIn. Joining groups is a great way to build your online networks of connections on LinkedIn. They allow you to find communities of professionals who share a common experience, passion, interest, affiliation or goal. You can join a Group or even create a Group.
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