Many business professionals are still uncertain exactly what LinkedIn is, how it benefits them, and whether or not it is an important use of their time to maintain their LinkedIn profile and presence. I mean, isn’t LinkedIn just a place for people to look for jobs? Well, it may have started out like that ten or fifteen years ago, but today, LinkedIn has become *the place* on the internet for the business professional to tell their personal, professional story to the world, their connections, and their prospects.
Whether you realize it or not, the majority of your prospects and people deciding whether or not to work with you are checking out your LinkedIn profile. So, will your LinkedIn profile help you or hinder you? I wrote these first “5 Insightful Tips for Your LinkedIn Profile and Presence” to help you begin to understand how you can make your personal brand and influence more powerful and far-reaching on LinkedIn. And, in the coming weeks, I will also post “5 More Insightful Tips…”
- The first tip is simply this: If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you need one. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your own personal Business Professional page on the internet. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to build your own personal brand in a way that no other medium can. Just about any prospect that wants to work with you will check out your LinkedIn profile, so make sure you have one.
- Be sure to put a significant effort into building a smart and professional LinkedIn profile. Too many people just join LinkedIn but never thoughtfully complete their LinkedIn profile. At a minimum, you want to have the following three things polished up: 1. A current profile picture and nice background picture; 2. A thoughtful LinkedIn “Headline” to go along with your profile picture because every time you make a comment on a post in LinkedIn people will see it. (See my LinkedIn profile picture and headline below); 3. An “About” section that focuses on what the customer or prospect will “get” when they work with you, not how wonderful and amazing you are. Figure out how to make the customer the focus, not you… Here is a terrific and thorough article by Melonie Dodaro on exactly how to do this and so much more: https://topdogsocialmedia.com/how-to-write-your-linkedin-profile/?fbclid=IwAR2RjgzNTo1YTCVI0FQhw21vcIsRUHsvhUmBtfmlRD5jBqPlEaKgYVuWVx8
- Never send a connection request without a personal message attached with it. You have to be on your desktop to include a personal message with your LinkedIn connection request, so don’t be tempted to send that connection request from your mobile device. Also, you are only allowed 300 characters in your connection message, so make them count. And, by all means, do not under any circumstances sound “salesy” in your message. This leads to the next tip:
- Your goal in connecting with someone on LinkedIn is first and foremost to develop a relationship with them. LinkedIn is the best place in the world to strengthen relationships with current clients and to forge new relationships with prospects. So, don’t use it as a platform to continually sell your stuff, or you will not have near the impact that you had hoped for.
- Seek out recommendations from people you trust and who would be “qualified” to do so. After almost two years of being on LinkedIn, I am still shocked by how few recommendations my average LinkedIn connection has. Building your all-important “social credibility” is one of the most valuable things about your LinkedIn presence. Nothing builds your social credibility quicker than what others say about you. But, by all means, return the favor, and actively seek out LinkedIn connections that you are “qualified” to give a recommendation to. After all, it is better to give than to receive 😊
A Freebie: LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. It is not your socio-political posting platform. Save those for Facebook. LinkedIn is your professional self, and your posts should almost always be centered around your personal professional branding.
LinkedIn thought leaders to follow: Carol Kaemmerer, author of the excellent book (new revised edition released earlier this year) “LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive;” Melonie Dodaro at Top Dog Social Media; Professor Heather Austin on YouTube (great for “beginners”); William Aruda at Forbes Magazine; Jeff Young, “The LinkedIn Guru” (Jeff is a great follow on LinkedIn, and he practices what he preaches)
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