Social media…it’s that brave new 24-hour virtual world of promoting yourself or your business online. Whether you relish it or merely tolerate social media, I believe there’s one avenue that many people make the mistake of under-utilising for networking– LinkedIn. I love it for a whole host of reasons, here’s why and my top tips on using it.
Unlike Facebook which is socially based, or Twitter which is short and sweet, LinkedIn is about creating your professional profile. I adopted LinkedIn fairly early in the piece, using it to seek services or advice. In that time it’s been a powerful networking tool that has enabled me to build and take my network with me. It’s even scored me a job or two along the way.
The great thing about LinkedIn is it’s like publishing your résumé online, allowing the over 400 million users, who are potential customers and contacts, to gauge your experience and skill. That means you want it to reflect the best of your professional abilities, so here are some tips on using it well.
How to use it well:
Claim your URL – Sounds technical, well not so! When you open a LinkedIn account you are automatically allocated a bunch of numbers as your profile address, which can be hard to remember if someone is trying to get directly to you, and even more complicated when you want your address printed on a business card.
In the edit profile section of your LinkedIn account you can easily customise your URL to reflect your name, making your profile look more professional and easier to share.
Complete your profile – Would you apply for a job and leave gaps in your résumé? Your LinkedIn account operates on the same principal. Take the time to add your career history.
Be proactive – Ask for endorsements from past clients, bosses and colleagues. These are your references in the virtual world. Take the time to give endorsements to others as well.
Network – By joining groups and making connections you are expanding your professional network, and business is always about who you know.
Make time – Each week take 20 minutes to see what is happening on LinkedIn, join conversations, meet new people and keep your details up-to-date.
Take it with you – The LinkedIn app is easy to download and use. Take LinkedIn with you and check in on what’s happening when you’re on the go.