How to Make Your LinkedIn Account Work for You: Part 1
October 18, 2016
As the world’s largest professional social network, there can be no denying that if you play a part in business in any shape or form, this is the one network you should definitely be involved with.
Established in the Myspace heyday of 2003, LinkedIn has grown tremendously in the last thirteen years and has become an incredibly powerful tool to network with colleagues, source new business leads and showcase both yourself when looking for a new job and your company to attract new clients.
“Networking is marketing – marketing yourself and your uniqueness.”
LinkedIn is responsible for more than 80% of a business’ social media leads, sending nearly four times more people to your homepage than Twitter and Facebook. And with a current worldwide membership of over 450,000,000, ignoring this network would be neglecting hundreds of potential opportunities for both yourself as an individual and for your business.
With an overwhelming number of users, you might be concerned that standing out from the crowd will be a problem. And while that is certainly true in such a saturated environment, there are many things you should be doing with LinkedIn and your profile to ensure you are using all of the features for maximum effect.
Running many social media channels for our clients, we work hard to keep up to date with the many ongoing industry changes and consistently analyse what works best for each platform in order to succeed in providing maximum return for the various businesses we work with. LinkedIn, in particular, can appear to be a confusing tool to begin with, so we will be covering some of the important features over the coming months to help you use the network effectively. Spending some time on the following features will help you master the art of social networking for you and your business in this digital world.
Become a LinkedIn All-Star
Whether you’re new to LinkedIn and starting from scratch or have been using the platform for a while, take a good look at your Profile and make sure you complete as many of the fields as possible. This is the part of LinkedIn that will get looked at the most, and having a complete profile at All-Star status will help you get noticed. You will move through several stages – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert before you finally reach All-Star. The level is situated on the right-hand side of your profile page, noticeable only to you upon sign-in. According to LinkedIn, having All-Star status will offer you 40 times more chance of receiving opportunities through LinkedIn – this is not something to be missed out on, so let’s get started!
Profile Picture – Make sure that your profile picture is up to date, clear and most of all professional – this is not a place for private Facebook pictures! Likewise, make sure it is clear, well-lit and you are appropriately dressed so that it promotes you as the person you want to be. Also, those profiles with a picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without. You also now have the option to upload a background image, another tool to help you stand out from the standard LinkedIn pre-set template.
Headline – You have only 120 characters to grab someone’s attention from the headline, so make sure it works. This is the place to add keywords and phrases so make sure that this short paragraph quickly tells people exactly what you are about and what value you offer.
Experience – You need to complete at least your current occupation and two previous employments in this category. And each of these listings needs to be supported with detail. Use this platform as a place to shine – tell the story of how you have reached your current position, what you did during your time there and the value you served to those employers and your industry. Bullet-points are an easy-to-read way of relaying information, but be concise and don’t ramble, around 150-250 words should suffice.
Skills & Endorsements – You need to list at least 5 skills for All-Star status. You are actually allowed up to 50, but just make sure whatever skills you choose are relevant and search-worthy. Endorsements are a little different to Recommendations (which we’ll go into in more detail next). This is a platform for your connections to acknowledge you have a particular skill and each one you are endorsed for will be added to your profile. LinkedIn has made this a very easy process and will regularly suggest skills for your connections to easily click on. Start endorsing some of your connections and you will soon see the favour being returned.
Recommendations – These are a more personal and detailed way of adding credibility to your profile. They are unlikely to come unexpected, so the best way of building up your portfolio of recommendations is to ask for one. You are given the opportunity to personalise the message (which you should absolutely do) and don’t be afraid of offering one in return. You are allowed to request up to 200, but take your time with them and build up your profile organically.
Summary – You’re allowed up to 2,000 words in this section of your profile, so make sure you use it to its best advantage. This is your introduction, so make sure you set the tone in a friendly but professional manner, explaining your work and educational background without being too self-focussed. It should in effect, be a follow on from your headline. Again, use keywords to describe and avoid industry jargon. If you have any links to portfolio work, this is the place for them.
Industry & Location – Two simple categories to let your potential readers know what industry you are in and where you are based. This accurate information will also help you appear on search listings.
Education – This section is a place for you to list your educational achievements, as well as being a place to network with previous students and alumni so that you already have a built-in circle of relevant connections.
Connections – You need to have at least 50 connections to reach All-Star status, so begin researching some contacts in both your professional network as well as previous schools and colleges.
Don’t forget to keep updating your LinkedIn information on a regular basis. And it goes without saying that spelling and grammar need to be absolutely perfect. Using the tips outlined above will boost your profile on LinkedIn and help towards making your profile memorable.
One final tip for your Profile – you can also create your own custom url, to help make you more discoverable. You can create this by going into your Profile and then Edit Profile, look at the URL link under the profile photo and move your cursor over the link settings. Then on the Public profile on right column, add your name onto uk.linkedin.com/in/… An often over-looked feature that will help you appear that little bit more professional and enterprising.
We’ll have some more posts covering LinkedIn features coming up on the blog very soon, but if you have any questions about any of your Social Media Channels in the meantime, drop us an email, tweet or leave us a comment and we’re happy to have a chat.