12 Most Useful Tips I’ve Found to Use LinkedIn Effectively

12 Most Useful Tips I’ve Found to Use LinkedIn Effectively

The three comments most often made to me about LinkedIn are:

  • It seems overwhelming – I just don’t know where to start.
  • Its not the right network for me B2B/B2C/Entrepreneurial/Fortune 500 Company.
  • I’ve been on LinkedIn for __ years and have never received any business from it.

Sound familiar?

LinkedIn is a huge network and continues to grow – adding new features every week.  But like anything that seems daunting, if you eat the elephant one bite at a time – you can succeed a mastering it!  Take one tip a day, and in less that two weeks, you’ll have a vibrant profile and network and should start to see some ROI on your time investment.

As for point 2 – LinkedIn is for ANYONE in business (or who wants to be!)

1. Treat your LinkedIn profile like a website

Make sure it is formatted, clean, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.  I strongly suggest creating your LinkedIn profile first in a word document – not only so you can “catch” errors, but also so you can get a better idea of what your profile will look like on the LinkedIn website.  In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters.  Alas – still no bolding or italics other than what LinkedIn itself formats. Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified.

2. Know your keywords

Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches.  Make sure you place your most important search or keywords strategically throughout your profile.  Some places you might want to consider are your

  • Professional Headline
  • Title Fields
  • Specialties
  • Interests
  • Recommendations
  • Education (Activities and Societies)

3. Keep your photo professional

I recommend a close up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional.  I have seen some artists use artistic renderings of themselves – which is clever if your image is still clear. LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.

4. Don’t ignore the “post an update” function

LinkedIn’s update function is much more robust than it used to be (taking some tips from Facebook and Twitter).  People can now “like” and “comment” on your updates – which helps to build relationships within LinkedIn.  And with the introduction of LinkedIn Signal, the update section can now be a functional part of your SME (Subject Matter Expertise) and content strategy.  Make sure you take a little time each day to “like” and “comment” on the updates of network as well. (*Found on the home page.)

5. Personalize your public profile URL

  • Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your area of expertise
  • Nothing says, “I’m a LinkedIn neophyte” like a public profile that reads:  http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho

6. Personalize your websites

When you edit your website, the drop down menu gives you the option of  “other”.  When you click on that, a new field opens up that allows you to type in your business name, website name, call to action, or description of your website.  So instead of “Company Website” or “Personal Website” this section can read “Social Media for Women” or “Click here: IP Legal Advice”

7. Juice up your “Experience” section

“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other. Make sure you put all your keywords in the title section.

Utilize Use the 1000 characters in the description section to tell people why they should hire you or your company or buy your product.  Tell a “save the day” story.  Put in a testimonial.  “Experience” is a great place to list “wins”, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented, a mini-shot of your personal website.  Use this section as the foundation for your Company Profile

8. List your “additional education”

Make sure you list your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses and certifications.

9. Get Recommendations

LinkedIn tells you your profile is complete at 3.  I recommend at least ten recommendations.  And when you are asking for recommendations, give a bulleted list of what you might want them to say so that your recommendation is more than: “She’s nice”.  If you are comfortable doing so, you might write a recommendation that the recommender can use or base their recommendation from.  You might want to add some of the better recommendations to your website.  Ask for recommendations form thought leaders in your field, old employees, and well-known clients.

10. Join strategic groups

Join groups in your own market or industry, your ideal client’s industry, groups that you are interested in, groups that your target prospects are members of, alumni groups, open groups and some big groups (Consider LinkedHR with 400,000 members).  Once you join a group you can send a message to strategic members /prospects or invite strategic members to connect with you.

For more posts on groups check out:

11. Limit the invitations you send out

You only get 3000 invitations in a lifetime – use them wisely.  Even though LinkedIn gives you the tools to upload your entire list, make sure you only invite people who are already on LinkedIn and don’t invite more than 2500 people – leave a few invitations for the future. At this time you cannot buy more invitations (although you might be able to beg some more from customer_service@LinkedIn.com)

12. When inviting others, tell them how you know them

LinkedIn used to have an IDK “I don’t know” button that could get you in a lot of trouble.  Now a person’s response to an invitation is “Accept” or “Ignore”.  Nevertheless, when inviting someone to connect with you, I highly recommend telling him or her how you know them or why you want to connect.  I would also add the disclaimer:  “If you feel you have received this message in error, or simply don’t want to connect, please ignore this invitation.

Featured image courtesy of nan palmero licensed via creative commons.

Viveka von Rosen

http://linkedintobusiness.com/

Viveka von Rosen is a nationally renowned LinkedIn speaker, trainer and consultant, working with business professionals sharing the secrets and strategies of using LinkedIn effectively. She helps clients create a more powerful presence on LinkedIn, grow a truly useful network, and build connection and relationship strategies unique to their company culture. As an early adopter of social media, she learned through her own experience how to create powerful social presences and engaging networks! Host of the weekly #LinkedInChat on Twitter, and co-moderator of LinkedStrategies, the largest LinkedIn strategy group on LinkedIn, she is constantly learning, sharing and transferring social media skills and strategies to her tribe.

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46 comments
dbvickery
dbvickery

You are writing what I am preaching. I just gave two consecutive presentations, to two entirely different groups, that focused on their LinkedIn profile. I'm not a pro...but I am a "consumer" of all of these profiles, and they need to put their best foot forward. A high percentage of people will be vetted through LinkedIn before getting hired for their new jobs.

WalterFConn
WalterFConn

@mclaughlinchris good! I'd add to use the answers section to establish your expertise, got lots of leads from that & to ask for appointments

LHInsights
LHInsights

Awesome and brilliant article @LinkedInExpert :) simple and clear for anyone to use LinkedIn. thanks for the info. Personalized emails, groups and joining discussion on answers are some great ways :)

jennpayne
jennpayne

Thank you for this information. I just started using LinkedIn, and have been feeling really lost and unsure of exactly how to use the system. I will be especially concentrating on number 7 first - when I set up my profile, I went right from my resume thinking that was what I was supposed to do. Again - thanks so much for the fantastic information!

feliciahudson
feliciahudson

Great tips, Viveka--especially #5! I hadn't even thought about it! How do you change that?

pbehnia
pbehnia

Great tips - thank you for the article. I'd also add to be careful about using this too much as a promotional platform as opposed to making it a meaningful way to with and stay in touch. If it's spammy on email, chances are it's spammy on LinkedIn, too. We never get a second chance to make a first impression!

annedreshfield
annedreshfield

Bookmarked this and already have a list of people I know I'd like to send it to! LinkedIn can be a fickle beast, and can do more harm than good if not used correctly. One thing I've noticed, though -- joining a lot of LinkedIn groups doesn't really help all that much if you're not tuned in all the time. I'm sure they could be a valuable resource if everyone had the time to fully invest in them, but...who does?

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

I have been pretty active on LinkedIn for the last 4 years or so. In my last company, inbound referrals from the site to our corporate domain was the second highet source of conversions just under organic search from Google. Participation is a must for every professional. I spend at minimum, 4 hours per week participating in the discussions and sharing my content. Thanks for the tips!

nancymurray
nancymurray

I've found the conversations that happen in some of the LinkedIn groups I'm in are invaluable, there's a wealth of knowledge out there and people are just waiting to share and help.

n3rd00
n3rd00

It is amazing how much I disregarded social networking till LinkedIn came about. These tips are excellent, thanks for the article.

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV

Viveka - what a fantastic article - this is so great for so many people out there that have no idea how to use LinkedIn.

I've used LinkedIn for years and didn't know much of this!

Thank you so much for contributing and we are so happy to have you on the 12 Most team.

MJasonHouck
MJasonHouck

@matthewliberty No problem. Great stuff :-)

Altuhafi
Altuhafi

@ahna_hendrix You are welcome my friend, my day is going fabulously cuz I read your sweet tweets ;)

LinkedInExpert
LinkedInExpert

@feliciahudson Hi Felicia - Sorry its taken so long to respond - was recovering form a white water rafting injury! To answer your question - if you are in edit profile, you can click on eidt next to your public profile URL that might look like this: www.linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname87932734097 It will take you to the settings page and you can put in your name or your company name or area of expertise, and as long as the URL is available you can claim it as your own :)

LinkedInExpert
LinkedInExpert

@pbehnia Of course - in the end the spammy people will shoot themselves in the foot - as they tend to do :)

LinkedInExpert
LinkedInExpert

@annedreshfield Yes and no. I absolutely agree that LinkedIn groups don't work well if you join a lot to actually use them as groups. But sometimes groups are the only way to connect with folks outside your network (Its a grey area definitely)> I am actually only really involved in the 4-5 groups I get a lot of value out of - the rest of the 46 are so I can more easily communicate with those I am not directly connected to. Having said that - I must use the caveat that people should NEVER bother someone with an overt sales pitch through groups. Or anywhere else!

LinkedInExpert
LinkedInExpert

@C_Pappas Thank you so much for that. I love to hear when its working for people! That is a fabulous statistic I might have to use :)

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV

@C_Pappas Sounds like a really good strategy. Hopefully now it will work out in finding a great gig!!!

feliciahudson
feliciahudson

@deleted_91832_Sean McGinnis Great additions, Sean! I use "publications"--but not for my blog. Genius! I also use the Amazon Reading List to inform the LinkedIn community about your continuing education and/or interests. "Events" is good for connecting with people you know or follow on social media and want to meet in person-- if it's an event you're both attending. I love the tip about box.net!

LinkedInExpert
LinkedInExpert

@n3rd00 I started bass ackwards myself - started with Linkedin - then twitter - then got dragged into Facebook. And of course now there is Google+.

feliciahudson
feliciahudson

@LinkedInExpert Hi Viveka. No problem at all. I hope you are recovering and feeling better. White water rafting--how fun! I've only done Wolf River in Wisconsin. One day I'll graduate. LOL! I feel ridiculous for asking the question about how to change my public profile URL. Not long after reading this post, I got on LinkedIn and figured out how to make the change. Thanks for responding!

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  1. […] used incorrectly it can work against you. Viveka von Rosen, LinkedIn expert, explains the 12 Most Useful Tips to Use LinkedIn Effectively. Readers share their tips in the comments, as […]

  2. […] 12 Most Useful Tips I’ve Found to Use LinkedIn Effectively | 12 Most Viveka von Rosen shares her 12 tips for using LinkedIn effectively. Source: 12most.com […]

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