17th October 2014
How to WIN At LinkedIn
A Beginner’s Guide To The Most Powerful Business-Orientated Social Networking Service In The World
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LinkedIn is the world’s largest social media site that is dedicated to business interactions. The site currently has 300 million members and continues to grow.
If you are looking for a platform to network with industry peers and boost your professional credibility, then LinkedIn is the right site for you. To help you achieve excellence on LinkedIn and win new business, we’ve created this downloadable beginner’s guide. However to help you save time we’ve also summarised the main points in this article.
Section 1: Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
First impressions are just as important in online networking as they are offline. Potential connections will undoubtedly review the information you publicise on your profile; therefore it is important that you stand out for the right reasons.
Before we go through each section in turn, focus on the one small idea that “your LinkedIn profile is an electronic CV”.
The main advice you will hear about your profile picture is that you should keep it professional. Display yourself as credible and qualified by choosing a photo that shows you in office clothing and looking smart.
However, a different depiction of yourself may display the right attributes better than a head shot of you in corporate clothing. If your profession is active, for example you are a music teacher, then a photo of you playing an instrument may be better for your first impression.
If you are unsure, take a look at the profile pictures your industry peers use.
A place to summarise yourself in just 120 characters; you could just list your current job title but you’d be missing a trick. LinkedIn works like a search engine, meaning that the words you include here will affect the search results you appear in. Just remember that it stills needs to be eligible and the wording you use will affect your first impression.
This section is the opportunity to express yourself in a few sentences. Other members will look at this to build a quick picture of who you are. It is not always easy to write about yourself in such as small amount of space. We all have the tendency to waffle.
The best thing to do here is to write out the paragraph you’d like and then come back and edit it down until it is condensed into a few snappy sentences.
This is the main body of your profile and works much in the same way as a CV. This is the section where you list all your previous work experience. Make sure to include at least three jobs here. You can simply copy and paste the majority of text from your CV.
If you are not familiar with the concept of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), it is effectively a practice whereby certain keywords are placed on a webpage in order to drive traffic to it via search engines such as Google. The same logic applies to the copy on LinkedIn. Consider which words and phrases people in your line of work might use when they are looking for somebody like yourself (with your experience and qualifications) and include these words in your profile text.
The main purpose of LinkedIn is that it enables you to connect with people that you might otherwise be unable to meet. However, this does not mean that you should add everyone under the sun to your connections. The first thing that people do is to add colleagues, friends and existing business relationships to their account. You will find that your list of connections grows exponentially as you build up your profile.
Recommendations are testimonies made by your connections that provide you with credibility. An individual will write a recommendation for you on a particular job and these testimonies will sit alongside that experience on your profile.
Here you’ll be able to add links to any work that you’ve had published online. If you work in a creative industry then this is a particularly valuable section as it will allow you to display previous work to potential employers.
Skills & Endorsements
In this section you can list the skills that you would like others to endorse you for; an endorsement is in essence a connection of yours putting their name against your skill. It is a way for someone to praise you for that skill. The more connections you have, the more likely you are to be endorsed. People can also endorse you for skills that you haven’t listed, so it is best to only write a handful of skills initially.
Much the same as a CV, the education section is where you can write about your qualifications. There is no reason why you cannot copy and paste this section from your CV.
You are allowed to join up to 50 groups on LinkedIn and it is highly recommended that you do just that. By joining and actively engaging with different groups on LinkedIn, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to meet like-minded people and build connections with industry peers.
If you have experience in your field, you may want to consider creating a video or slideshow. This will really help you to stand out in the crowd. Although a bad slideshow will do more damage than good, so only do this if you think you have something valuable to explain.
Section 2: How To Use Special Features (Becoming A LinkedIn Power User)
If you really want to make an impression on Linkedin, you’re going to have to go a little further than just setting up your profile. In this section, we’ll take you through some of the tricks and hidden features available to those who are willing to find and master them.
The stock URL given to your profile is naturally just full of random numbers and will look quite ungainly. However, tucked away in your profile editing options is the ability to customise your URL so that it looks professional and is memorable.
Use Your Groups
One of the primary perks of being part of a LinkedIn group is that you can direct message any member within that group. This means that the more groups your join, the more people you can personally message.
If you are a group manager, you can even e-mail your whole group’s members once a week with a LinkedIn Announcement.
Improve Your Blog And Website Links
You can drive traffic from your LinkedIn profile straight to your website or blog. Add anchor text to your summary which links back to your site. Note that it is better to use specific keywords such as ‘solicitors blog’ than just ‘blog’ as this gives your readership an idea of what they are clicking on.
Save Your Searches
If you are using LinkedIn to search for a new position, than this is a nifty feature. You can save your searches using the ‘save this search’ button at the right of the search engine box. You can also set up daily to monthly reminders via your inbox when new members or positions matching your saved search criteria are added to the network.
Put A LinkedIn Badge On Your Website
A quick and simple way to expose more people to your LinkedIn profile is to add a custom badge on your site that links back to your profile.
If you work for a company, you can also add a ‘follow the company’ badge that links to your company’s profile page.
Another useful badge is a LinkedIn share button that you can add to each blog post so that other LinkedIn users can share your content one their LinkedIn network.
Check In On Who’s Visiting Your Profile
This handy and automatic tool shows you who has viewed your profile. Once you noticed someone interesting, you can look through their profile and start engaging with them.
It should be noted that you only get this function if you enable other people to see your details when you look at their profiles. This setting is automatically switched on when you open your account, but can be changed if you go to the settings tab.
LinkedIn’s network updates work much the same as Facebook’s status updates. Be sure to check them once in a while to see what your connections are talking about. This may be a good way to interact with them, plus your replies on other’s updates will show up on their network of connections (who you might not have).
You can also post your own comments to broadcast interesting news and updates, though you shouldn’t overdo this and you should keep all updates relevant so that your connections stay interested in what you have to say.
Import And Export Connections
In the ‘Network’ tab you can add connections to your LinkedIn profile by importing contacts from your email accounts. This is a quick and simple way to grow your following and may prompt you to interact with people you haven’t spoken to in a while.
You can also export all your contacts by finding the ‘Export LinkedIn Connections’ link under the ‘Contacts’ tab.
You can post your LinkedIn comments automatically onto your Twitter account by simply adding your Twitter account to your profile and then selecting the ‘Public + Twitter’ setting on each post you’d like to broadcast on both platforms.
Start A Company Page
Even if you are self-employed, creating a company page can add serious benefits to your LinkedIn use. Through your company page you can post job opportunities, send company news and more. A company profile can also add credibility to your business and help it gain exposure to your wider community on LinkedIn.
By reviewing the ‘Trending Content’ tool, you will be able to see which sort of content is generating the most clicks on LinkedIn. By monitoring this tool you’ll be able to gain a valuable insight into what content you should be creating in order to generate engagement.
Use Group Statistics
Under the ‘About’ section of every group is a ‘Group Statistics’ tool. With this tool you can find out details about any group, without having to be a member. This means that you can more accurately analyse which groups you should be joining; especially as you only have 50 groups to choose from.
By using the ‘Page Insights’ tool, you will be able to track how well your updates are doing and how your own data compares to other, similar companies. You can access these insights by using the ‘edit’ drop down box in your company page. Please note that this feature is not available on personal pages.
Section 3: Measuring How You Are Doing
To help you check how successful your profile and engagement with LinkedIn is, this is a simple checklist that you can evaluate your performance against.
- Do you have at least 10 recommendations?
- Has your profile URL been customised?
- Has all your relevant contact information been added?
- Have you added your profile to the bookmarkers bar in your browser, so you will remember to update it daily?
- Have you written your profile in the first person?
- Have you added all relevant honours, awards and achievements to the ‘Honours & Awards’ section? This is particularly valuable in media industries, where awards are seen as markers of career progression.
- Have you informed your other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that you have joined LinkedIn?
- Have you added any media to your profile to help it stand out?
- Have you published your profile changes to your network?
Once you have made your way through this checklist, you are well on your way to becoming a LinkedIn pro.
However there are even more features available on this social media platform, which we have included in our full beginners guide to LinkedIn.