I joined LinkedIn in December of 2005. This was at a time when MySpace was King and Facebook was a college only thing slowly getting into high schools as a social network. At first I didn’t think the concept of LinkedIn would be successful but at the same time I did believe it had a lot of potential, boy has it changed (for the better) over the years. Let’s get to some tips for effectively using LinkedIn.
Tip #1 – Your Profile
You must complete your profile with a picture. Think of this as your online resume. Fill out as much information as you can but keep it professional. You should not include anything personal like hobbies, sports, etc. I think of my LinkedIn profile as a business tool, to confirm my credentials when customers or business partners look me up. Oh yes, and they will look you up. Complete your profile, education, work experience, awards, etc. You never know what kind of contact you may meet by simply having all of your information on there or what group may ask you to get involved base on your information.
Tip #2 – Join Groups
There are many types of groups on LinkedIn, professional, hobby, government, social groups, alumni, etc. Get involved in the groups. One of the things I really do not like about many of the groups are they end up being job boards. So unless you are looking for a job post relevant information to the groups and add value. The more value you add the more likely you are to attract a future employer or business. You can even promote your own products or brand on these groups but keep it more informational and less selling, establish yourself.
Tip #3 – Link to others
If you are in a business meeting and you introduce yourself or get a business card make sure when you get back to your computer you find that new “link” and get them into your network. This will be a sure way to get “remembered”. And if you end up getting connected, they can see what kind of influence you have by what you post and share on LinkedIn. I make it a point that when I get a business card I always attempt to link with that person, it solidifies my interest in them and their business.
Tip #4 – Recommend and Get Recommendations
You don’t need many, but getting recommendations on LinkedIn hold a lot of water in my opinion. The reason is someone looking at a recommendation can quickly see who that person is doing the recommendation and see what their reputation is very quickly. You should also recommend people. I wouldn’t just recommend people for the sake of recommending, make sure you truly would recommend this person in real life, because that is exactly what it is. It quickly builds a list of references and is always available online.
Tip #5 – Be the expert your profile says you are
If you are a rock star manager then make sure you post often about being a rock star manager. Make sure you are a thought leader in your area of expertise. This will clearly attract more connections and raise your profile credibility. The newly introduced “skills” endorsements is a great way to get others to see that you are what you say you are. I recommend blogging or sharing key stories or news articles that are relevant to your industry.