Are you struggling to understand the value of LinkedIn? Whether you just signed up for LinkedIn or you’re finally ready to brush the dust off an unused profile, we hope you find this post helpful.
Step 1: Prepare your profile
Your LinkedIn Profile is like a supercharged CV that lets you showcase your experience and expertise to more than 250 million professionals in the network. When you first sign up for your LinkedIn account fill out your experience just like you would on a normal CV. Then there are some other areas that you should also complete:
- Photo and Headline: Your name, photo, and headline are the first thing people see what they find you on LinkedIn. Make sure to use a professional looking headshot for your photo and a headline that accurately reflects your professional experience (e.g. Owner at Name of Your Business.)
- Summary: The summary is your chance to tell prospective customers or clients exactly who you are, what skills and experience you have, and why you are a valuable connection.
Additional Information: This is where you can link to your other online and social assets. Provide links to your professional (not personal) Facebook page or Twitter handle, and your website or blog.
- You can make changes or additions to any area of your profile by clicking the “Profile” tab then choosing “Edit My Profile.”
Step 2: Build your network
Once your profile is at least 75% complete, you’ll be ready to start building your network. LinkedIn connections are different from those on other networks. As a professional-networking site, it is important to connect carefully and be mindful of who you are welcoming into your network.
- Only connect with people who you know, trust, and value as a professional connection. This generally means people you have worked with as a colleague or a business partner. Connecting with family and friends can also be a good way to expand your network outside of your industry, but again, make sure they are trusted connections.
- Avoid using the default invitation request whenever you can. Include a personalised message. Take the time to explain why you want them to join your network, this shows that you value them as a professional connection, not just as a way to grow your network.
Step 3: Join the conversation
For a lot of users that are new to LinkedIn, starting to build a network is as far as they ever get. Don’t fall into the same trap. Show off your knowledge and expertise by joining the conversation.
- DO post: Interesting articles or news stories about your industry. Your own content, like a blog post – sharing it on your profile will help get it in front of people that have a vested interest in your industry and will be more likely to comment or share.
- DO NOT post: Pictures of your kids, jokes, reality TV news, sports rants, complaints about your boss, what you want for lunch, your favorite type of ice cream…Keep it professional on LinkedIn and leave the personal stuff for your personal Facebook profile. Even there, exercise restraint.
Step 4: Start exploring
LinkedIn has a lot more to offer than just a way to showcase your talent and stay connected with your colleagues. Take some time to look around and check out these useful features:
- News updates: LinkedIn lets you personalise your preferences to connect you with the top news stories and publications in your industry. LinkedIn Today is your personal news digest and provides great content to share on LinkedIn and on your other social networks.
- LinkedIn Groups are discussion forums where you can connect with like-minded peers. Under the Groups tab, LinkedIn gives you suggestions for groups you may like, a group directory, and the option to start your own group.
Remember that LinkedIn is just one part of your digital strategy. Find out how you can tie all of your digital marketing together and grow your business with Constant Contact. When you are ready to get started, try it free for 60 days!
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