LinkedIn continues its steady march as THE PLACE online for professionals. I also have found that it is where many people and businesses go to check on the “bona fides” of an amazingly wide array of professionals and service providers. Lawyers, managers, sales associates, plumbers, contractors, chefs….you name it. People go to LinkedIn to see if you are who you say you are on your website and marketing materials.
The Internet has taught us to do research. It doesn’t matter if I’m looking for a new car, a better financial solution for my future, or the most engaging cat toy (which, frankly, is a rolled up piece of paper, but that’s another thing not covered in this article…). Anyone with access to search and reviews online (or asking for referrals on Facebook…) is likely to head over to LinkedIn and check on you.
I published an article earlier with 3 pointers for a better LinkedIn profile. I also posted a free downloadable LinkedIn Professional Profile Checklist as a good tool to get the basics online.
I want to add 3 more tips to these. The more you can not only get your profile to completeness but to EFFECTIVENESS, the more successful you can be in providing your visitors with the kind of information about you that increases your reputation and validates your expertise.
- Highlight your credibility in your Summary Section. There are a few things you can do here.
- Share a bit about yourself. This doesn’t need to be a 50-page “My Life”! However, it should give the reader a short picture of who you are, some of your story, your “One Thing” (why you do what you do), and some background.
- Write as if you are speaking to Just One Person. This isn’t an auditorium, it’s a conversation (potentially).
- Highlight your accomplishments. These will enhance your reputation and credibility. Be straight-forward about them, but watch the tone of this set of items, as you don’t want to come off like you’re bragging, but you don’t want to downplay real achievements, either.
- Sending connection requests that may actually be accepted. LinkedIn makes it brain-dead easy to fire off a default connection, both from their web site and from the mobile app. RESTRAIN YOURSELF FROM THIS!!! Nothing will seem more like span to a potential connection than the generic request to connect. Besides, if people click I Don’t Know This Person one to many times, you will end up having your account restricted, which requires you to enter an email address when sending any future LinkedIn invitations and reducing your ability to connect and expand your network. So how can you enhance the chance that your potential connection will accept your invitation? Personalize the request. Remind them of how you know them or explain why they should connect with you. I have always framed the request as one in which I would like to join their network, not have have them join mine. Also, once you connect, follow-up with a message. Continue the dialogue and build the relationship. Remember this is not a numbers game!
- Don’t be inactive on LinkedIn. It is extremely easy for anyone viewing your profile to see just how active…or rather inactive you are on LinkedIn. Especially as a professional and entrepreneur, active engagement will keep you top of mind with your connections. This is a key ingredient to successful networking and relationship building. You cannot build relationships and stay top of mind with your connections if you are not present and having conversations with them. A great way to stay active and visible is by posting a status update once a day (or at least more often than NEVER….!) as well as posting to LinkedIn Publisher if you write articles. Also, engage with the posts and articles of your connections in your newsfeed. When you engage, make the comment one of value, not just “Well Said!” or “Totally agree”. Think about it and use it as a way to engage in further dialogue. Build that relationship, as wll as pique the interest of those who read the article AND your comment.
Do you have any well-earned tips you’d like to share about how you use LinkedIn and how it has affected you professionally? Please share them in the comments.
Now, go out there and fine-tune your professional portrait!