LinkedIn – the often overlooked opportunity
Throughout my experience, I’ve heard many obsess over their Facebook page and Twitter accounts, but several forget LinkedIn. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s not really designed to connect with the consumer or if it’s because there isn’t as much hype surrounding it, but for some reason this site tends to get overlooked by many when they’re setting up their social media presence.
Just to clarify, it is true that connecting with the consumer isn’t the primary focus of LinkedIn. It’s a social networking site for professionals, and you may find that many people use it to connect with others in their industry. With that being said, it’s still important to have your profile looking as professional and polished as possible. Think of it as your online resume. There’s a strong chance that a potential client COULD look you up on LinkedIn and request to connect with you.
While you might not be able to engage in a full-blown conversation with them on the website, you have to remember that once you connect, they’ll be able to see your profile and your qualifications. Do you really want your page to look unprofessional and lack polish? I can answer that for you: of course not.
With that in mind, here are some “do’s and don’ts” of the LinkedIn sphere. If you keep these quick tips in mind when setting up your professional profile, you’ll be well on the road to having this social network be successful for your business.
Let’s take a look at what you SHOULD do:
- Upload a professional photo. This isn’t Facebook. Having a picture of a flower or your dog isn’t going to cut it. Your front photo should be a professional-looking photo of yourself. This is a more formal site, and your picture should be chosen accordingly.
- Only connect with people you actually know. Connecting with strangers can result in tons of spam messages being sent to your LinkedIn inbox. You could wind up missing a message of actual importance from someone you want to hear from. Focus on connecting with your immediate business network.
- Keep your profile updated. If you get a new designation or certification, update your profile accordingly. If you switch offices or jobs, your LinkedIn profile should be one of the first sites your update. You want people to know what it is you’re currently doing professionally. Leaving your profile un-updated and neglected will not get your page any traffic, and you won’t be making the connections you want to have on this site.
- If someone starts spamming you, remove them. It’s a waste of your time and inbox space to remain connected to people who abuse LinkedIn with spam. It’s best to remove them.
- Spend time on your summary. Your LinkedIn summary is an introduction to who you are as a professional. If you have a paragraph with incomplete sentences and typos, what kind of message do you think that sends? Spend some time and draft something that is well-written and cohesive without being too long. It will give people a positive first impression of you when they look at your site.
What you SHOULD NOT do:
As with all social media sites, there are some tactics you should just avoid. Here is what you should NOT do.
- Don’t use LinkedIn like Facebook and Twitter. This is not a casual forum and you don’t want to post things that are irrelevant to your industry. Post items that people in your network will want to know about and focus on building your brand and professional presence. That’s what the site is used for.
- Use spelling and grammar check. Nothing looks more unprofessional than a slew of typos and grammatical errors. Before you post something, proofread it. You’d be surprised how many mistakes you catch when you take the time to look at it.
- Don’t ask everyone for a recommendation. When it comes to LinkedIn recommendations, quality is more important than quality. You want to focus on asking people you know to give you a testimonial, and even still only those who you had an exceedingly positive business interaction with. That way, you know that you’re getting the glowing recommendations you need to get someone’s attention on LinkedIn.
- Never decline an invitation. Simply archive them. You never know when you’ll have use for someone who sent you a request to connect, and declining burns a bridge. If you archive, you can always accept them later on and put your networking skills to good use.
Well, there you have it. Those are the basics. If you keep track of what you should do and avoid what you shouldn’t, you’ll find that you can really use LinkedIn as a forum to develop your brand and business.