It’s a well established fact that LinkedIn is where people go to do business. You won’t see any cat posts or food picture on this social network. Instead you’ll find people sharing posts about their business, useful industry related content and the good old congratulations on a well deserved accomplishment.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is focused on developing business relationship. That is why you’ll find your colleagues, past employers and former classmates there. Ever since the economy has tanked, folks have been using LinkedIn to find jobs. While recruiters have been intensively sourcing candidates. And others have turned to LinkedIn as a sales tool.
Some people think it’s just an online rolodex to store your contact. But it’s more than that when you know how to use LinkedIn the smart way. And that usually happens right at the beginning when you set up your LinkedIn profile. Here’s your checklist for getting started with LinkedIn.
Define Your Goals
Something everybody needs to asks themselves before diving into a social network is, why do I want to be here? What am I hoping to get out of being on LinkedIn?
It could be to grow your professional network, attract leads to your business, close more sales or find a job. Heck it can be all three of them. The point is that clearly defining your goals helps you focus on activities that will help you reach them.
Dig Up Your Resume
LinkedIn’s core function is as an online resume. Instead of starting from scratch, dig up your resume and just copy and paste the information. Alternatively you can just import it. However I think it’s a good idea to go through it and make sure everything is okay. You may also want to make some changes for it be more online friendly.
SEO Your Profile
You can choose to make your profile public, which means that search engines can index it and you’ll appear in search results. And just you like would include keywords on your website and blog for a higher search engine ranking – you can also do with your linkedIn profile to get more love from search.
For more information on searching for keywords, check out 4 Ways To Find Out What Keywords Your Customers Use For Greater Visibility Online
Beef Up Your Profile
Nothing says, “I don’t care!” than a bare bones profile. Give it some meat for people to chew on. And most importantly see all the great things you’ve accomplished.
That means writing a summary about yourself, adding descriptions to your previous work experience and choosing a nice picture to display. This is all to build trust with whomever views your profile. After all, we tend to do business with people with like and trust.
Connect With People You Already Know
Obvious I know. But something I get asked a lot is, “Who should I connect with? Is it okay to invite my boss or an old friend?”
The answer is a profound yes! Don’t be shy – the bigger network you have – the more opportunities will come your way. It’s okay to add people who’ve met at networking events and been interacting with in LinkedIn Groups.
Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to get on more people’s radar. They’re similar to Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups as places where like-minded people can get together and exchange ideas.
To help get you started here’s a list by Bradley Will of top Groups for entrepreneurs to join: Top 20 LinkedIn Groups All Entrepreneurs Must Join
Ask For Recommendations
Having recommendations builds your credibility. And it goes back to trust factor I mention before. It’s pure social proof at work, and it’s a way for others to vouch for you.
You want to request them from people you know well and have worked with in the past. You can also write recommendations for people you know and have worked with.
Just don’t go around asking folks with whom you have a weak relationship with – trust me it doesn’t go down well with the person you’re asking
Show Off Your Achievements
LinkedIn now allows to feature projects, publications, patents and certifications on your profile. Again this is another way for people to get to know what you’re capable of doing. Plus it’s a fantastic way to show something concrete.
As with any social network, active participation is a MUST! Start sharing tips and resources in LinkedIn groups, comment on updates and share interesting posts to your profile. It’s about engagement and being genuinely helpful. And unless you cultivate relationships, those connections will just remain numbers on your profile.
How do you use LinkedIn? Let us know by commenting below.
Photo by Coletivo Mambembe