NOTE: This article was written by Brandon Ely at Sitepoint.com. I pasted the content from their newsletter here, because I couldn’t locate the article on their website.
Why It’s Time to Link Up with LinkedIn
If you thought you could get away with your companyís social media strategy consisting of just Facebook and Twitter, think again! After a successful IPO (initial public offering) last week on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), LinkedIn has raised over $340 Million in capital. The already fast-growing social network for professionals and executives now has the resources it needs to speed up growth and invest in the features and infrastructure needed to sustain that growth. So what does that mean for us regular businesspeople?
It means if you’re not using LinkedIn yet, you need to start now.
What Is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn started as an online resume of sorts, but has grown into a full-featured social network for businesspeople. It still functions much like an online resume, where potential clients and employers can learn about companies and individuals they may be working with (and vice versa), but it also has advanced features such as Groups, Answers (a question and answer platform), and Jobs.
Your profile on LinkedIn is similar to your profile or company page on Facebook – it has a stream of updates, biographical information, and you can even add applications that can give it additional functionality.
So how can you use LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business to potential clients?
Fully Complete Your Profile
LinkedIn has a great utility for helping you complete your profile that gives you a progress bar with a 100% scale. To complete your profile, you need to have a photo, executive summary, three recent positions, and get three recommendations from colleagues. While getting a 100% score on your profile is great, go the extra mile on your profile with these tips:
Upload a professional headshot, or at the very least have someone take a photo of you in your typical work attire, whether that’s a suit or dress-casual. This isn’t Facebook, don’t add photos of yourself at the beach or chilling out on the couch.
Use All Three Website Links
LinkedIn allows you to link up to three websites. They give several options for “type” such as “Company”, “Website”, and “Blog” but you want to choose “Other” for all of your links because that’s the only option that lets you create your own link text.
Edit Your Professional Headline
When you add employment or work history, LinkedIn will suggest your headline to be “Your Job Title at Your Company”. That may work for some people, but we want to further refine our headline. Use this space to best describe your expertise and experience in one line. For instance, my headline reads “E-Commerce and Online Marketing Author, Blogger & Speaker”.
Complete a Company Profile
Last November, Alyssa Gregory wrote an excellent blog post outlining how to set up a company profile on LinkedIn. She walks through the process step-by-step in detail. Bottom line, setup a company profile just as you would your personal profile – as complete and detailed as possible.
Link Your Blog’s RSS Feed
The LinkedIn WordPress App can add your most recent blog posts for your company or personal blog right into your profile. This gives you the ability to both show yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn and create an additional traffic source for your blog.
Ask For Recommendations
Most people get one or two recommendations when they first start using LinkedIn, and never add any more. It used to be awkward to ask for recommendations, because many of our clients and colleagues didn’t use the service. To get a recommendation from a client, we’d first have to persuade them to join the service. Now, far more people are on the service and it’s much more likely that your client or colleague has an account.
I have made it a habit to send a request for recommendation every time I speak at a conference or event, and at the end of some very successful projects with clients. It’s best to send the request soon after, while the excitement is still high. You’d be surprised how many of your clients will write glowing recommendations, and these are out in front of every prospect that finds you on LinkedIn or searches for you on Google.
Get Started Now!
If you’ve never used LinkedIn, or you have just neglected your profile, now is the time to give it a chance. Log in and get your profile up to date, because there are sure to be a rush of new members with all the recent publicity of the IPO.