At Sterling Cross Communications, we are heavily involved in Social Media on behalf of and for our clients. A natural side-effect of this has prompted us to develop training programs for our clients on social media platforms when they are running their social media in house. In my rounds this past year of speaking and training for social media, I am still asked the most for tips on how to improve your Linkedin experience and presence.
Here are ten quick tips to really optimize your Linkedin presence and skills:
Add a photo Avatar – 40% of Linkedin profiles do not have a professional photo avatar. If you are serious about using this tool to build your brand personally or professionally, it is time to go and get a professional headshot taken. The whole success of social media is the fact that it allows you to add personality back into a sterile environment that is the web. If you have a presence on other social media platforms, make sure you use the same photo avatar to allow people to identify you, and recognize this as another reputation of your brand. Avoid using logos (people don’t want to identify with just a logo) or too casual (the photo with a beer in hand from the last networking Happy Hour isn’t appropriate, even though you dressed up).
Fill out your profile 100% – It seems rudimentary, but if you have the opportunity to fill out fields of information about yourself, brand, company, business, products, or services, and have that information listed in Linkedin’s Search Engines, then why wouldn’t you? Yes, even seek referrals. If you have performed well on behalf of a client, employer, etc. it is extremely valuable to have their recommendation.
Make sure Referrals & Recommendations are valid and meaningful – If I see traded recommendations, right away, there is a perception of that this is not very credible. If you give out a recommendation, do so because you are sincere about it, not just to swap recommendations. If you are seeking a recommendation, customize your request around a specific job skill, situation, case study, project, or client. It will showcase those skills in a better light than just seeking a platitude laden general recommendation.
Optimize your profile – When deciding on language to fill out content fields on your profile, think of the key words that you wish to be found for when someone performs a search. Use those keywords in the content you write for your profile.
Use the Status Updates – Just like a website that has dated content, people will become disinterested in your content if it is not updated on a regular basis. If you are on Twitter, take advantage of the new Linkedin ability to sync your account and update both platforms from one tool. Another benefit of a regular update is that it keeps your content in front of your network. They can see your updates and that will keep you top of mind.
Leverage Applications – Linkedin allows you to add even more content to your profile, by adding applications such as Tripit, WordPress, Slideshare, and more. Again, more content, more optimized your profile, the greater interaction you can have.
Groups – There are affinity groups for almost any subject on Linkedin. These groups are another great opportunity to have peer discussions, establish thought leadership, share articles, and keep plugged into a community.
Questions & Answers – Linked in provides forums based on topics, where individuals can post questions or answer questions that are posted. Providing insight or expertise online to help out someone in your industry goes a long way towards establishing yourself as an expert in that field. Make sure you fill out responses concisely and utilize any extra space to include links to your website, blog, or other links that can support your answer.
Link to your other profiles – Then benefits of linking to your other profiles on social media platforms, can help others see a broader picture of your skills and areas of expertise. While Linkedin can show one aspect, you can link to your profile on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. to show more depth or different facets that are limited on Linkedin.
Actively maintain your profile – Just like a website, you don’t want information to go stagnant or become irrelevant. Keep job titles, positions, experience, and other supporting materials relevant and current. Get the credit you deserve!
Let me know if you have any tips not on the list that should be included!