Mixed in amongst all the other forms of social media, LinkedIn may not be where you spend most of your online time. When I first set up my profile I had no idea what I should include or why I really needed to have one, but I did think that it might help me look like an adult as I started a professional career. A few years later, I finally reached “All-Star” profile strength, and have found how valuable this platform can be. Whether you’re leveraging it to grow your career or your business, LinkedIn has many capabilities that make it an effective marketing tool.
Just having a profile is not enough if you really want to get value out of LinkedIn. Sure, it will help prospective employers find you or allow you to keep in touch with former colleagues (both great reasons to use it), but there are several other ways you could put it to better use.
Add Value to Your Network
Your LinkedIn profile is how you build your personal brand. Don’t recreate your resume, but instead, tell viewers who you are with a few effective strategies:
- Keep your profile current
- Curate your career success and experience
- Join relevant groups that will help you stay up-to-date in your industry
- Join alumni groups to stay in the know about your former school and workplaces
- Direct people to your profile.
- Create a custom URL for your public LinkedIn profile that you can post on your resume and other contact info.
- Publish a post providing insight in an industry trend or topic
- Use images and media to set yourself apart
Your connections aren’t valuable if you’re not engaging with them. Just as with all social media, the “quantity over quality” method of adding connections usually doesn’t end up being the most valuable in the long-term. On LinkedIn, connect with purpose by doing the following:
- Nurture connections by reaching out directly using the InMail feature for specific questions or updates
- Use the endorsement feature to recognize your connections’ skills
- Provide a recommendation to those you’ve worked with
Technology can make communication more impersonal and affect relationship building. Prevent this by using effective communication on LinkedIn:
- Send personalized messages (not the default “I’d like to add you...”)
- Sort and filter contacts by location or industry to help you stay organized. You can use existing tags (ie: colleagues) or create your own, turning it into your own contact management tool.
The key to using LinkedIn effectively is to check in regularly and continue making adjustments whenever there is something to new to update in your career or skill set. It’s definitely not a set and forget kind of tool. The various levels that LinkedIn uses to grade your profile strength is just a reminder that there are always ways to keep polishing your profile. The value comes in growing a diverse network that you can learn from, connect and engage with. For more details on how to use LinkedIn and other social media platforms check out these social media strategy tips or look to the LinkedIn YouTube channel.
As Ellipsis Digital’s newest Web Analyst, Ellen Husk is linked in to what makes your digital projects a success.