Hello ya’ll Thea here again. As I promised in my last blog Social Media Week Wrap Up, here is the transcript of my first (and possibly the last, ha!) Social Media talk…“10 Quick Tips for LinkedIn Success”.
I started by taking a show of hands of how many were on LinkedIn (LI). Pretty much everybody – as you’d imagine. Then, I asked how many felt like they were utilizing it to its fullest potential (because frankly, most people, in my opinion, aren’t). About three people raised their hands. This talk wasn’t for them! It was my hope that the vast majority of the audience would go away with even just one tidbit to try at home later.
So if you’re not a LinkedIn expert, then this one’s for you. Starting at the top here we go…
(1) MAKE YOUR HEADLINE NEWSWORTHY
Make yourself interesting. Avoid sticking “Business Development Manager at ACME WIDGETS” as your headline. That tells me absolutely nothing about you or your company. If you don’t change the default text, LI just uses what you put for your most recent job entry.
You just have to remember you’re more than your JOB TITLE – so consider giving a bit more information. Imagine you were walking up to someone at a networking event, how would you introduce yourself and describe what you do to them in an interesting way?
Also your headline is a key search area on your profile – so use it wisely.
(2) CHANGE THE DEFAULT TEXT
Do you have a website? Does it have a name? If so, then put that. The default text in LinkedIn merely says “Company Website” or “Blog” on your profile (see above).
Honestly, I can’t believe how many of my contacts haven’t bothered to change the default text there, and are thus they’re missing out more key search optimization. As in the example above of someone who has more than 500 connections. Room for improvement there, my friend…
So if your profile says “Company Website” – or “Blog” then please do me a favor, go home and change it to its real name OK?
(3) PICTURE PERFECT
Stating the obvious here but don’t leave it blank (i.e. the grey default avatar), or stick your logo in as your profile pic – save that for your company page.
Instead use a good, professional headshot whenever possible.
LinkedIn is not Facebook – so avoid your holiday snap, a cropped picture from a night out with your friends, and always remember that first impressions matter.
So put your best FACE forward…
(4) DYNAMIC PROFILE
Don’t make your profile read like your CV – with bullet points listing the tasks you do. Ditch the dryness and find engaging things to say about yourself, your job and or company. Use positive wording, correct spelling and good grammar. (Write it in Word and paste it in if needs be.)
Make people WANT to connect with you. A good example, and I am not just saying this because he pays me – is NSDesign’s head honcho Gary Ennis. His profile tells a story, not just lists a bunch of things he’s done or achieved. It has personality (see the last paragraph – magic, juggling, geeks etc – you get a good snapshot of what he’s about…) and I believe it makes you want to connect with someone when they do go that extra paragraph if you will.
And speaking of connecting – that’s what LinkedIn is all about…so when you do….
(5) ALWAYS BE PERSONAL
If you’re going to add someone to your network, it’s good to start off with a comment on how you came across them, where you met (if you have met somewhere), or how you’re connected if by a group, contacts in common and so forth.
One thing to avoid is using “friend” for someone you’ve never met or spoken to.
Even if you have met, never leave the default text - “I’d like to add you to my professional network” – please, please, please, always be personal with a message. It only takes a minute.
One guy added me recently. I didn’t know him. We’re not in the same industry. He didn’t put a message and he called me a “friend”. For principle, I hit “ignore”. I know not everyone is as picky as me about this, but equally I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are!
If you want to connect with someone, then be worth connecting to in your request!
(6) GO ON GROUPS
If you don’t know a person, but want to connect with them, find groups they’re on and join and begin genuinely engaging on them.
Groups are an amazing opportunity to learn information, find jobs, become aware of opportunities and events – as well as to connect to people who you might not have ability to get in front of so easily otherwise.
Local groups are a fantastic source of getting relevant information, sourcing contacts, various specialist recommendations etc.
Recently on one of our local groups, there was a post offering a funded trip, for a content conference in Cannes called MIPCOM. I replied and I just returned (blogs about that to follow here soon!)
This was an opportunity I’d never have been aware of had I not been actively engaging and monitoring that group.
So definitely check out relevant groups to your interests or sector.
You can use LinkedIn to get past OR present colleagues, suppliers, customers or bosses – to say a few nice things about you.
Some people I’ve come across have NO recommendations and others seem to go to the other end of the spectrum and have zillions.
For me, I personally would opt for few quality recommendations, over quantity but to each their own on this one and it may differ according to your sector.
Only recently, I discovered that if you go into your Contacts you can tag them. You may wonder why you’d want to do that, but say you were having an event in Glasgow and you wanted to message all of your contacts that were local, you can type in “Glasgow” and it shows you all the people you’ve tagged with Glasgow and you VOILA you can message them all in a ‘oner’.
Please don’t use this feature to SPAM people or you’ll quickly start losing connections!
(9) DATABASE DOWNLOAD
Has anyone ever lost their phone, or their contacts due to an email malfunction? I updated my software on my Blackberry a few months back and overwrote my entire address book accidentally (nightmare!). But with LinkedIn’s contacts area, you can export all your contacts (via a variety of formats) and import to your computer email program and/or into you phone’s address book.
I highly recommend periodic downloads of your contacts. Just because, you never know…
(10) GET CONNECTING!
My top and final tip is just get out there and start connecting. Like anything in life, you get out of LINKEDIN what you put into it. It’s work to build up a solid network online just as it is to do so OFF. But if done right – it can lead to more contacts, mentors, suppliers, clients and maybe even friends.
PS: Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn but only if you make your request personal