Our clients often come to us for one-on-one Social Media training, and one of the most popular topics is LinkedIn. It is as famous as Facebook but as mysterious (to many) as Reddit; what I often hear is that “everyone is on it!” and “people tell me it works” — but it’s not always clear WHY people are on it, or HOW it is “working.”
Below, please find SPR’s guide to LinkedIn Best Practices, as inspired by our most recent training sessions. I hope this helps you brave this professional networking site with confidence — or at least a little less intimidation.
Define Your Goals
What are you hoping to accomplish by being a member of LinkedIn? Are you looking to connect with other professionals in your industry? Hoping to attract new clients? Or looking for a new job or career change?
Identify your endgame before you dive into your profile. Having a clear outcome in mind will not only shape what you write about yourself, but also the positions and skills that you highlight.
You Know Best
No one knows your resume better than you do, or is in a better position to speak about your professional strengths, the type of environment you thrive in, or the kind of work you are truly passionate about. LinkedIn is an online opportunity to paint your best, most thorough representation of your experience, interests, and the unique qualities that make you a valuable member of any organization, from corporations to community organizations to nonprofit boards. Let people know why they should connect with you, and the insight you can offer into a particular industry or issue.
Follow the Leaders
LinkedIn offers great features that allow you to stay current on industry news and other areas of interest. While your newsfeed is populated with updates from your connections, you can also choose to follow specific companies and thought leaders. Are you a fan of all things Virgin, and want to know more about the man behind the empire? Follow Richard Branson and get his recommended reading list, or find learn about the latest Virgin Galactic breakthrus. Fascinated by the digital media revoltion? Follow companies like Mashable to see which direction the internet is headed next. By tailoring your newsfeed, you can get an at-a-glance overview of the industry you’re in, or would like to be in.
Notice Your Notifications
Those little red numbers at the top of the screen are there for a reason. They let you know when your profile has been viewed, when people have invited you to connect, or when there is an update in your network. These are important not only to expand your network, but also to see how people are finding your profile. If you specialize in mergers and acquisitions but people find you by searching for tax accountants in your area, you probably have some updating to do.
Don’t Keep Your Comments to Yourself
Commenting or re-sharing other people’s content is a great way to keep yourself relevant without spending a lot of time. If you read a great article about Event Planning but felt there was one important tip that was overlooked, add that comment; or, share the post on your own newsfeed with your comment added above the link. Either action will show that you have something relevant to add to the conversation, and will put your face and name in front of old friends, colleagues, and potential prospects.