LinkedIn is a professional network, “linking” people with businesses, friends, and colleagues. Many people use this social platform for professional recommendations, to build an online network of support and connections, as well as to research companies and influential people in various organizations.
Although I’m guilty of not doing more to promote my own business on LinkedIn (fortunately I’m staying very busy helping my clients promote theirs), I do know a few tricks of the trade. Here’s my advice to you:
Find Real Friends
Just like with Facebook, find people you actually know when you’re connecting with others on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has a safeguard of sorts built in to disallow us from connecting with anyone and everyone (we don’t know), but occasionally people get away with trying to connect with everyone they can, just to build the number in their networks. This is a big no-no.
First of all, the point of LinkedIn is to grow relationships with people you’ve met outside of the platform, or through an actual connection or recommendation. It’s about strengthening the quality of your relationships, not growing the number. Second of all, you’ll come off as having zero integrity if you try to connect with everyone you don’t know. People won’t take you seriously and will definitely dub you as unprofessional. If you want to connect with someone you don’t know, find a mutual link and go that route. Otherwise, leave it alone.
Update Your Profile/Resumé
Remember, LinkedIn is basically one, big online resumé. You should always keep it current with the work you’re most recently doing just in case anyone wants to take a peak at who you are and what you’re up to. Additionally, if a potential employer is interested in you, they might look you up on LinkedIn to see what your work history is like before they meet you for the first interview. Remember, first impressions are everything!
Spend Time on Your Profile…
…especially the summary bit. You want to give as much information about yourself as possible. Make sure it is interesting and will make people want to know more about your business and who you are on a more personal level.
Upload a Picture
Many people are still using generic avatars, which baffles me. Be sure to upload a professional picture that conveys a happy and positive person who is ready to start working as soon as possible. If you do not have a picture of yourself, let alone a professional one, you won’t be taken seriously. People like to see the person they are connecting with.
Use LinkedIn Professionally
LinkedIn is not like Facebook and Twitter, that’s what sets it apart and the reason why it’s a top professional networking platform. Make sure you keep your dirty laundry to yourself; don’t air it out on LinkedIn like you might on other social networks.
Ask for Recommendations
But don’t ask everyone, for obvious reasons. Be sure to ask for recommendations from only the people who have worked with you, or you have worked for (i.e. supervisors or clients). Make sure whoever you ask knows your strong work ethic and has seen results or products of the services you’ve provided.
Are you a savvy LinkedIn user? Please share your tips below!