So what should you be doing?
Focus on the three main areas:
Your personal profile
Yes, there are other bells and whistles (eg recruitment and advertising) but they can wait.
1. Create Your Personal Profile
Somewhat unfairly, this is described most often as a glorified CV. But what CV do you know that is one-size-fits-all and available for public scrutiny? Many people embellish CVs but try doing that on your LinkedIn profile and you may find lawyers breathing down your neck, almost before you finish typing. Of course show yourself in a good light – but you still need to be accurate and honest.
Your profile should include:
Name – of course, but consider including professional qualifications
Photo – professional one please, not something snared from Facebook
Headline – your attention grabbing tag in 120 characters
Summary – 2000 characters singing your glories and accomplishments
Experience – at least 2 jobs (current and previous)
Job Description – what you did, what you achieved
Recommendations – normally from a client or boss/colleague
Skills and Specialities – can list up to 50 but that dilutes the focus. Aim for 20
You can add much more, from videos to white papers to voluntary work, but if you do nothing else on LinkedIn, complete your profile (click here for character limits). Potential clients, competitors and employers will check you out here, so don’t be caught with scuffed shoes!
2. Setup Your Company Page
Not surprisingly, this is where you turn the spotlight on your company. There are more than 3 million company pages, which function like a mini, interactive website to attract followers. Share images and videos to attract attention. Post news for others to comment upon and like. Encourage your employees to follow their company page and share its updates to their personal profile and connections.
Your company page should include:
Description (up to 2000 characters)
Number of employees
You may also wish to add Showcase Pages, for specific areas within your company, and include up to 3 featured groups.
3. Join And Participate In Groups
Groups are one of the key places for extending your visibility and forming new connections. With over 2 million groups on LinkedIn, you are virtually certain to find a likeminded group. And if you can’t, well, why not start your own?
Joining in with LinkedIn group discussionsGroups are the best place for seeking information and sharing expertise. Hang out with your industry groups by all means, but if you are on LinkedIn to find new business, it’s unlikely to be from your peers. Join groups used by your potential customers.
When joining groups:
Check out the group’s statistics first – members, activity levels and demographics
Lurk a bit before you join in discussions, to get the tone right
Post a new discussion, but if it’s a promotion, categorise it as such
Don’t bombard the other members but initiate conversations gradually
Message group members (appropriately!) to forge a stronger relationship
If you’re ready to get serious but need more direction, why not join one of our LinkedIn bootcamps? Run in Haslemere, we kick off with Effective Profiles on 9 September, followed by Building Your Network on 7 October.
By Suzanne Bellenger Yabba Media