As a recovering entrepreneur and student of social media, I am keenly aware that LinkedIn is not something that any professional should ignore. LinkedIn is a powerful social selling platform and builder of Brand YOU.
Whether you are selling yourself to a perspective employer, or ensuring that your network of colleagues and customers are close by at all times.
LinkedIn 101: The Basics
Although an update to your LinkedIn profile may still lead to a flutter of water cooler gossip, and an emergency HR meeting to find your replacement – it has become a necessary social platform for any business professional, graduating student or anyone who will ever have a career of any kind. Period.
If you are still ignoring those invites to connect, I invite you to turn your privacy settings on, grab a coffee, and take a look at the new LinkedIn. This is not your mamma’s job board.
A few tips before you start posting those congratulations on promotions and skill endorsements:
- Don’t blind post. When updating your profile, you can opt out of alerting your network to changes. This is advisable if you are not looking for a new career, but simply updating your profile to ensure your experience and skills are up to date.
- Update your profile. Your profile will get indexed in search engines, and people are looking. Use keywords that reflect your skills, post links to other social media channels including Twitter and YouTube and if you have a blog, start posting your content as a LinkedIn contributor. Ask your colleagues for recommendations and give some back in return. Recommendations are key.
- Join groups and share content. Don’t share any and all content. This is not Facebook. Be careful and purposeful about whom you endorse, content you share, and comments you make in groups. LinkedIn has become an excellent community platform to share good content, and to learn and engage with other professionals. I recommend a minimalist approach. Check in daily and don’t obsess.
- Mind your manners. Random connections are not cool. I don’t accept connection requests from people I don’t know, or are not related to my profession – unless of course they write me a nice note to let me know why they are connecting. I guess you could call adding non-relevant connections the new “cold call.”
- Add some personality. Also add relevant skills and experience to match your professional profile, but keep in mind – this is not a resume. Ok so sometimes it can act like one. Use an online resume builder like Do You Buzz to build your CV – then make that available to your network if you are job searching.
Beyond the obvious. Using LinkedIn for Sales and Marketing: Warning – this is LinkedIn 2.0
If you really want to turbo charge your professional profile, LinkedIn has powered up the platform with the following tools and tricks:
- Know your audience. Don’t just know who looking at your profile, but understand why. With LinkedIn analytics, you can see what actions lead to increased activity and profile views. Actions such as endorsements, shared content, and comments can lead to more visibility for brand YOU.
- Dig Deep. A new LinkedIn tool allows for a database download for sales and marketing professionals to use as a relationship management tool. Downloadable data includes first-degree connections, comments, endorsements and shares.
According to this article LinkedIn added this tool as a way for users to manage privacy. Ironic.
- Use your network to open the door: Newly launched, the LinkedIn Sales Navigator promises to be a sales prospecting tool like we have never seen before. I believe them.
According to Techcrunch, the new tool will open the door to “social selling,” (queue the hot new buzz word) which consists of:
“Establishing a presence on social networks, finding the right people, engaging with those people, and building trust.”
Then of course comes the cold (ish) call. Perhaps then it is more of a warm and fuzzy “how are the kids” kind of call instead? Ok I’ll bite.
Note that this is a paid for “Premium” tool outside of what LinkedIn currently offers its users for free. There are other paid LinkedIn Premium tools that include; Job Seaker Premium, and LinkedIn Premium Business Plus. I have not paid for these premium services and used them and therefore cannot offer commentary – yet.
LinkedIn has become THE Career Network.
Beyond the obvious, LinkedIn is a connector, content distributer, door opener, and brand-YOU builder. In a business world where YOU are our own currency, invest some time in making sure you are making the most out of your experience, connections and knowledge.
Alicia Whalen is a digital and social media marketing professional and recovering Entrepreneur, who has spent over a decade helping brands and people understand how to embrace digital and social media in all facets of business. An avid tweeter and lover of travel, technology and the Ah-Ha moments.