Your LinkedIn account is often one of the first results that appears when you Google your name, yet a startling number of professionals have an incomplete profile.
LinkedIn is a great source of insights when researching a person or organisation and it’s an important tool for building connections and profile raising. It’s also an excellent business communication tool, allowing you to post content that will be seen by contacts (and contacts-of-contacts), raising your professional profile and letting more people know about your areas of expertise.
If you’re looking to get the most out of LinkedIn, keep these tips in mind as you build your profile, build your connections and share updates.
1. Personalise your connection request messages
If you’ve ever requested a connection on LinkedIn, you will have seen the standard request message: “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” This message may work when you’re connecting with a well-known colleague or client, but if it’s someone you’ve recently met at a conference or business-related event, you need to spend more time on your first online impression. Make your message personal, reference where you met or how you’re connected.
2. Quality over quantity
LinkedIn is about making quality connections that might be valuable in the future; whether you’ve known the person for years, met once at an event or you work in the same industry. If you’re new to LinkedIn, a great place to start is former and current colleagues. Next, invite your clients and suppliers. Connecting with valuable, real-life peers and colleagues will get you further than having a lengthy contact list.
3. Upload an appropriate profile photo
LinkedIn is littered with embarrassing and inappropriate profile pictures. Don’t let yours be one of them. Use a professional head shot for this professional platform.
4. Keep your profile complete and current
List all your former employers and qualifications. You don’t need to include details about positions early in your career, but provide detail for important recent roles and responsibilities. A good guideline is to include details on your past three positions. Update your profile (and headline) any time you move into a new position or promotion, complete a major project or receive a special award or recognition.
5. Join a few relevant groups
Joining groups (and contributing to group discussions) provides an easy way for people beyond your existing connections to see your expertise and activity. Craft your content so that it provides value for the members of the group and see if it helps you earn new relevant connections.
6. Nurture your connections
Try to actually ‘connect’ with your connections whenever appropriate. It can be as easy as ‘liking’ an update or leaving a comment on someone’s post. Congratulate your connections on promotions, new jobs, awards or achievements.
7. Don’t over-post
One or two posts per week is plenty. Mix it up between sharing an article, whitepaper or professional tip. Know the difference between a ‘status update’ and a ‘published post’. Status updates are broadcast in your connections’ news feeds. ‘Published posts’ are intended for publishing significant pieces of original content that you really want to get noticed. LinkedIn sends notifications of new published posts to all your connections, so think first whether your update is worthy of being a published post, or whether an ordinary status update will do.