LinkedIn is the legacy social platform for the professional marketplace. As of March 2015, there were 347 million LinkedIn users, with two new users joining each second. Of those users, 40 percent check LinkedIn daily.
So how do you stand out? Make an impact? Get your brand/company noticed? Grow your network and get leads? We’ve got a couple tips to get you started and make a difference on LinkedIn.
Polish your profile.
If you’re going to be active on LinkedIn, start by cleaning house. Individual profiles are at the core of LinkedIn. Your profile affects how you are found; it is often the first impression of you or your company, and it can set you a part from competitors.
- Get your profile to 100 percent completion. The following help make your profile complete:
- Your industry and location
- Your current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of three)
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections
- Use a professional headshot. It is 11 times more likely that your profile will be viewed if you include a photo.
- Utilize keywords. It’s a good task to define around 10 things you want to be known or found for. What are your specialties or expertise? Once you have those, strategically utilize them throughout your profile — in your headline, summary, skills and experience sections.
- Members that list skills in their profiles get 13 times more profile views.
- The most overused word on profiles in 2014 was “motivated.”
- Be social. Try to get at least 501 connections, so that your profile will show your connections at “500+.” You will look like a regular user with a large professional network.
- Share your work. Add multimedia, including video, pictures and/or documents of your work to reinforce your words.
- Tip: When you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, it can annoy your contacts if they’re alerted to every little change. When you’re in edit mode, head to your privacy controls. Turn off activity broadcasts and change the setting for “select who can see your activity feed” to “only you.”
For an example of a thoughtful profile, look at LinkedIn trainer and online brand strategist Anne Pryor’s LinkedIn.
Connect with purpose.
When choosing who to connect with on LinkedIn, have a strategy. Don’t just ask to connect with everyone who pops up, and don’t accept every invitation you receive. Have a reason for connecting with people, and let them know what that reason is. Send a custom message each time you ask to connect with someone, even if it’s just, “Hey, seems like you have some great wisdom to share.” (You can steal this.)
Be a thought leader.
LinkedIn is really a space where thought leaders can get some attention. The space is not yet completely flooded, like Facebook, and updates and posts on LinkedIn generally carry a little more weight due to the nature of the platform. So, start considering if you have thoughtful pieces of knowledge you can share with the public or in a group setting.
LinkedIn has some really great tools and features for sales, HR and business development professionals, which we will cover in the next round of LinkedIn How-To.