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.
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
- 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.