How many of you are extremely active on Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest but let your LinkedIn profile dry and rot with absolutely no activity at all? Scratch that, how many of you even have a LinkedIn profile? How about a LinkedIn profile that is up-to-date and complete? Unfortunately, LinkedIn tends to sometimes become the forgotten child in the social media world but can also be the most powerful…in a fictional world it would be Harry Potter or Matilda.
Most people will be told to get on LinkedIn because it will help them find a job or push forward their professional careers, but they join and fill out bits and pieces of their LinkedIn profiles and then just let it sit there. Many bloggers love to state how blogs are not like the Field of Dreams…you can’t just build it and expect people to come. Well guess what? LinkedIn works in a very similar way.
Pimp Your LinkedIn Profile
The first thing you need to do, besides actually creating an account, is to make sure your profile is correct and up-to-date. Make sure all of your current and past work experience is on there (and add as much detail as you please), include a nice summary explaining who you are you, what you do and where you want to be (this all depends on what stage of your career you are), have your education history and details showing (especially if you are a newly graduate), have a professional picture (this isn’t Facebook so don’t have a profile image of you and your friend), and add as many skills & expertise items as you can (as long as it makes sense and you are not bullshitting it all).
You basically just filled out and created an online resume…nice work! Now there are 3 other sections on your profile that can play a big role depending on what you are trying to get out of LinkedIn.
- Recommendations – This is quite obvious. If you want a new job, some new clients or to build credibility, it would be to your advantage to have some stellar recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask for them either…LinkedIn has that feature for a reason!
- Twitter – LinkedIn allows for an easy, one-click Twitter follow button in the main area of your profile so if you are on Twitter, make sure you have the button up and running. I am not sure what percentage of people even click on the Twitter follow button from LinkedIn profiles but it never hurts to have that added feature. You want to grow each and every network you are on so promote your Twitter account through LinkedIn.
- Promote your blog – There are a few different ways in which you can promote your blog on your LinkedIn profile and getting new blog traffic is never a bad thing. First of all, make sure a link to your blog is placed in the website section in the main area of your profile. You can give it a nice title such as ‘Personal Blog’ or ‘Blog on so and so’ and also include a tracked URL in order to see how much traffic the link is bringing to your blog. Secondly, you could add a WordPress or Blog Link application to your profile in order to promote your blog straight from your LinkedIn. This will allow your LinkedIn visitors to see some of your most recent posts and give them an easy way to connect with your blog. Finally, you can update your status whenever you have a new post that you want to share. This promotion is similar to how you would share your blog posts on other networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Many of you may not go much deeper than this and it is a shame if this is the case. Two of the most powerful features of LinkedIn are the Groups and Answer sections. If you want to start building your name and adding credibility to what you do, these are two perfect places to start.
Groups – If you have not yet, go join a few groups on LinkedIn. There are so many that there are bound to be a few in your industry or topic of interest. Now just like with LinkedIn as a whole, do not join and just let it sit there and go to waste. Become active in these groups by joining in on discussions and engaging with what other people have to say, but make sure to follow the groups rules! Use this as a place to ask questions or create your own discussions about particular topics that have been on your mind. LinkedIn groups are a great place to actually get “social” and connect with others in your industry, and these connections are what will later help build your influence.
Answers – The LinkedIn Answers section is a little harder to find since it is hidden within the ‘More’ menu option on the top bar but can have just as much impact as the groups. Here is where you can prove that you know what you are talking about and that you have a vast amount of knowledge on a specific topic of interest. The Answers section is where LinkedIn users can ask questions and you can act like a thought leader and provide them with a kick-ass answer! You can start building a name for yourself and eventually start being considered an “expert” by your LinkedIn peers. So the key to this section is to answer as many questions as you can but provide useful, thought provoking answers rather than a bunch of gibberish. Quantity is important but quality is what will stick.
Start Building Your Network
Eventually, LinkedIn all comes down to building a strong network. All of the above ideas will help do this but it is up to you to understand your end goal. You could share all of your amazing posts, take part in tons of discussions and answers thousands of questions but if you do not know what you are doing this all for, then it all truly becomes pointless. Use all of these features and engagement methods to connect with the right people and start building your reputation. Connect with these same people on other social networks such as Twitter or Google+, read and follow their blogs and mainly just start building those relationships. And although LinkedIn cannot necessarily make you a god, it can help you be seen as an expert, give you credibility, improve your personal branding and connect you with the right people…all things that if used correctly, can get you that much closer to being unstoppable.