You hear people talking about LinkedIn and the importance of having a LinkedIn profile, but you are unsure of how to effectively use it. Do you really need it? I am here to tell you that LinkedIn is important and you do need a profile. LinkedIn is a social network but is mainly used by professionals. LinkedIn is there to build your professional identity and discover professional opportunities while gathering the latest news and insights. Currently there are over 300 million registered users on LinkedIn. So how do we make the most of our LinkedIn profiles? I have put together a series of points you can use to start to make the most of LinkedIn.
- Stay in touch with your contacts every day when something important happens to them. Click on Network > Contacts to find a wide array of first-level connections who have recorded a new job on their profile; you can send your congratulations right from this screen. Remember, LinkedIn is about building professional relationships.
- See what influential people are saying and sharing each day by going to Interests > Pulse. You can also set up your own personalized news channels to be inspired and stay informed about topics of interest to you.
- Respond thoughtfully to group posts with applicable content and not a pitch. The goal is to engage people and not to sell outright.
- Create and distribute content, such as a white paper, a video, or a report, to your groups and in your status updates. Include a link to your website if appropriate. Create videos of you and others in your organization to post on YouTube; then attach the hyperlink to that video when you create a post.
- Reach out to people who look interesting, and get them to join you in an introductory phone call to find areas where you can help each other.
- Request a recommendation from someone you have worked with.
- Endorse a skill on a first-level connection’s profile in her Skills & Expertise section. Your picture with a hyperlink to your profile will now appear on her profile, so that she gets an endorsement of her abilities and you get branding.
- Check for new potential connections. With more and more people joining every day, it’s a good idea to go to Network > Add Connections
- Forward introduction requests as soon as you get them because this is how you would like your requests handled.
- Provide feedback in LinkedIn Groups that helps people. It’s not necessary to sell anything when you post a comment because people can always click through to your profile and see what you offer if they have been helped by your comment.
- Thank people who have helped you out with a timely response to your question or your introduction request or who wrote a recommendation for your profile.
- Invite people to connect with you that you’ve met at networking events. It’s a great way to follow up with people and begin relationships. Remember to include where and how you met. You meet a lot of people at networking events so it is also a good idea to help jog their memory of what you both spoke about.
- Check out competitors’ personal profiles and company profiles to keep up to date on strategies, products, and services that you may wish to emulate.
What else would you add to this list? How have you effectively used LinkedIn to further your professional career? Let us know.
This blog was written by our past Program Coordinator, Kinsey Hicks Terry.