Many faithful readers will know that I have a penchant for Linked in. It is a fantastically powerful social networking tool that can be harnessed for a variety of activities including job-hunting, information gathering/ research, lead generation, business development, marketing and advertising etc. However, as with most things, if you are planning to use Linked in, and since you’re reading this article I would strongly advise you do and assume you already are, you need to approach it systematically and strategically.
1. Know why you’re using Linked in
This may remain constant or is liable to change depending on your circumstances and propensity for adventure. As soon as you identify what you want to get out of linked in, you can then act with purpose. Knowing for example whether you’re job-hunting, building contacts, keeping in touch with acquaintances or acquiring information, will inform what groups you should join, what information you should present on your profile, what type of updates you should write, who you should aim to connect with and how you approach building your online network.
This will help you approach people online in an appropriate fashion and also invite interest from relevant contacts effectively, as you will set the tone by constructing your profile.
2. Participate appropriately
It’s not all me me me. Reciprocate. Get involved in groups. Once you join a group, the network of people you are able to contact and search increases. However, you want to start building some credibility in your online presence, whether it is by asking questions, beginning discussions, offering opinions and advice or publishing your own material. This will allow you to also network and build your contact base being sure to keep all your actions relevant to your purpose. Karma is real.
3. Build your brand
The first step is to appreciate the fact that you are presenting yourself to be found. Some people may first make contact with you through Linked in, therefore, what you have on your profile, what groups you are in, what discussions you’ve participated in, who has recommended you, whether you have 50 connections or 500+ etc. will all go towards forming an initial impression. There are options to illustrate your specialties and skills and even showcase presentations or link articles from a blog. I even have my linked in profile on my cv so that recruiters and employers can see my recommendations and learn a bit more about me through my professional online activities. I have also created a separate word document where I’ve pasted my recommendations so that for some online applications that allow you to upload supporting documents I provide my references.
Lastly, choose a good profile picture.
Linked in is a way to put yourself out there in the professional world. You can make far more connections and contacts than if you simply relied on the real world meet and greet converse networking model. A strong profile can supplement establishing a foundation for future visibility and exposure in whatever industry you’re pursuing and want to make an impact in. Some clear thinking and consideration early on will allow you to create a neat well-constructed and effective online presence versus one that is tacky and lack-lustre.
For quite a comprehensive resource, check out: www.linkedintelligence.com/smart-ways-to-use-linkedin