During last week’s Pubcon, Scott Stratten (the popular @Unmarketing, on Twitter) declared in a rolicking keynote address, that LinkedIn is hardly a social platform. It’s more like a contact management platform: a Rolodex where you talk to ex co-workers you did not like.
While good for a laugh (and hey, we’ve all felt that way at some point), most who use the platform to network, look for jobs (and candidates), and manage groups and company pages, even to advertise, consider it a lot more than that.
Another speaker suggested that Twitter can be viewed as a disco, Facebook, a busy bar, and LinkedIn, a pub. (No analogies to Google Plus, but I digress.) Not exactly sure what that means, but comparisons aside, LinkedIn is a vibrant, growing, professional networking tool, one that’s more important than ever in today’s unsteady job market and content curation explosion. And it leverages the one critical piece of relationship building communication that refuses to die: email. Just about every day you can expect an email summarizing the activity of your connections, providing an opportunity for you to seamlessly interact with a quick “congrats on your new position.”
LinkedIn has evolved, adding new features and enhancing old ones. But we don’t spend as much time on LinkedIn, as say, Twitter or Facebook, so we end up under-utilizing it, and certainly, under-optimizing it.
So, here are 10 LinkedIn tips to quickly optimize your profile and your reach, and to make the time spent there more meaningful and rewarding.
- Use a LInkedIn Email Signature – Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature or create unique HTML version here. (Login to your LInkedIn account first.)
- Website integration – Use LinkedIn plugins on the “About” page on your website or blog.
- Be creative with your headlines – Use your alloted 120 characters creatively. Check out these tips on How To Make Your LinkedIn Headline Stand Out.
- Have a clear, professional photo – LinkedIn is not a dating site. Use an appropriate photo. It’s the first thing people see. No selfies or poorly lit photo or screen grabs. Here’s what not to do when choosing a profile pic.
- Add groups to your profile – Don’t just add past jobs. Include groups like charities, associations, local businesses, anything you’ve been involved in.
- Join groups – Join as many as you like, but focus on 3-5 key groups where your clients or potential employers hang out. Add value: be an expert and respond quickly. But don’t sell.
- Don’t waste your “Summary” – The “Summary” section of your profile is not for creating more lists. Talk about why you do what you do. Tell a story.
- Play around with the default view – Drag your summary and sections around in your LinkedIn profile to create better flow.
- Content and traffic – Post your best, relevant, articles in the group discussions to make a point or further one. You’ll discover that LinkedIn can become one of the top traffic referral sources to your website. Don’t spam or you’ll be rightfully blocked. If you have a particularly useful article to share, ask your colleagues to share it. Enough shares will get your article into the “Trending in Your Network” feature.
- Use advertisements – if you offer a service or product, use ads. Set up campaigns targeted towards niche markets. Granular targeting extends to companies, groups, even titles. LinkedIn ads are cheap, uniquely targeted, and effective compared to other platforms
Some of these tips and strategies are culled from the conference and the rest, from other experts and regular users like you and me. Oh, and beware of fake profiles – they may not be as pervasive as Twitter and Facebook, but they do exist and by accepting an invitation to connect, you can become an unwitting pawn in someone’s attempt to further their agenda.