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How to better use LinkedIn – 7 (more) quick tips

Since my last blog post on Sept 21 where I blogged about enhancing your online presence via LinkedIn, I have been asked by several individuals for more tips on how to better utilize LinkedIn. Many folks I have spoken with have indicated that while they have found the tips provided to be useful and are excited about implementing them, they feel they are not quite at a stage where they can leverage them. So, (much like I need to do sometimes,) I paused, took a step back and looked at what advice I would give someone who was just starting out on LinkedIn or trying to better utilize it to gain some traction. To that end, I have come up with some simple tips (but sometimes overlooked) on how you can better utilize LinkedIn, broaden your network and gain some traction with your profile via SEO.

1. Add a photo – I get a lot of questions from people about whether or not they should use a photo in their profile.  I always recommend that a good quality, (semi) professional photo enhances your LinkedIn profile 1000%. People like to make a connection with those that they can “see” when they are looking to network.  With social media platforms, having a photo greatly enhances your networking opportunities and prospects. My feeling is that by not having a photo in your profile, it would be like going to your local Chamber of Commerce networking event with a paper bag over your head. The key with the photo is that it needs to be professional. I recommend that the picture be taken from either mid-torso or shoulder height up and that is of reasonably high quality. The photo should not be of your full profile or participating in some activity – they are far too difficult to make out on a profile page. Remember, this is your professional brand – how do you want to be represented?

2. Include the details – When completing your profile, you need to make sure your summary section includes a broad overview (with key words) that describe you. Think of this as your elevator pitch to search engines. You need to make sure that your profile will get picked up in searches and by having key words in your profile and summary section, your odds are greatly increased. You should also include some detail in your Experience section much like you would in your resume. Again, by just having a title/company/date format, you are limiting your visibility on LinkedIn and to search engines like Google.

3. Share Updates – this is a great section where you can provide active content from your profile. This is an opportunity to connect with your network whether you are sharing industry related articles, updating on professional events taking place, or even reaching out to your network for advice (or offering advice) on a professional matter. It allows you to engage with your network and provide value – all of which will enhance your profile and utility.

4. Likes/Comments – another way to connect with your network is to provide “Likes” to others’ status updates or to provide comment. These are quick and easy ways to enhance your online relationships and reinforce your connection to your network. Your network will appreciate “Likes” (increases the visibility of their update) as well as comments. It shows that you took the time to read their status update and that you were willing to engage with them.

5. Recommendations – in my blog post about Leveraging LinkedIn, I identified that including recommendations in your profile is a great way to enhance your online presence. Additionally, giving recommendations is another great way to add value to your network and personal brand. A sincere recommendation of someone’s work, how they added value to your company/project or have been instrumental in assisting you with something goes a long way. An unsolicited recommendation is a great way to further cement your connections and to engage with your 1st degree connections.

6. Contact Settings – I recommend that you take time to review your contact settings. Specifically, you should review the section, “Edit your public profile.” This gives you an opportunity to select what others (not in your network) can see of your profile when you come up in a search. There is no one size fits all approach for this; however, if you are in an active job search mode, it is always best to allow most (if not all) of your profile to be seen.

7. Invitations – There are a lot of differing views on how invitations can/should be sent and what you should accept. This will come down to the individual and what they are comfortable with. However, my recommendation is that you ALWAYS personalize a LinkedIn invite whenever possible. Take the time to craft a personalized message about why you wish to connect with the person. I am not saying you need to write a book, but a couple of sentences identifying either where you met the person, saw the person, heard of the person and/or why you wish to connect can go a long way in having them accept you as part of their network. My feeling is that if you were at an in person networking event, you wouldn’t walk up to someone you didn’t know and say, “Hi, can I have your business card?” So, why would we do that on a social media networking platform?  My personal philosophy is that if someone takes the time to do this in a LinkedIn invite, I always accept their invitation.

These additional seven tips should give you a solid head start on better utilizing LinkedIn and helping you to expand your profile and network. I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try some of these suggestions. I welcome your feedback and would love to hear back from you regarding what worked, what didn’t and what other suggestions you may have.

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2 Responses

  1. […] lot of advice out there. While I have blogged about LinkedIn a lot with specific posts on tips and tricks, I want to hone in on one particular area that I think folks could use a bit of specific advice in […]

  2. […] So, my advice to people who are either on LinkedIn (but not actively managing their account) or are thinking about joining LinkedIn is to make sure that what you (eventually) portray on LinkedIn is in line with the professional brand/image you want to be identified with. In fact, because LinkedIn forms such a vital part of anyone’s professional network and image, I have blogged many times about proper LinkedIn etiquette on a variety of topics that can be found here , here, here, here, here and here. […]

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