I use LinkedIn to connect with my current customers, keep up with the latest technology news, and make new business contacts. It’s a social networking site, but with a business purpose. According to Wikipedia, 80 million other professionals in 200 countries use LinkedIn as well, making the site one of the best ways to network for business. Business focused social networks are powerful tools that you should be using too. I’ll give you four powerful tips for using LinkedIn that you can use to ensure your profile stays interesting, pops to the top of a search, and gets you noticed.
1. Complete your profile
A complete professional looking profile with a good headshot is the key to success when using LinkedIn. Complete profiles pop to the top of any search and that is where current customers and business prospects will notice your profile. This is no place to post a picture of yourself with your sunglasses on, sitting on a beach…. make sure your photo projects a professional image. Be sure to place important key words in your profile, and update it often to highlight any new experience or training.
2. Update often
Profiles that are updated frequently get the most attention from other LinkedIn users. If the idea of updating your profile weekly seems like too much work, participate in some of the other features that LinkedIn offers by installing applications on your profile page. You can post your Amazon reading list, link directly to your blog, or add your twitter feed. Use Tripit when you go on a business trip, and LinkedIn will tell you which one of your connections is close by. Participating in any of these activities will result in updates to your profile, and keep it at the top of the list.
3. Be interesting
The key insight for business social networking is highlighting your own value. You may have a well-written profile that showcases your skills and capabilities but does little to describe your value. The most effective profiles on LinkedIn have something extra in them. Post a business related video or audio file, or write a paragraph describing the last business problem you solved for a customer. If you recently attended training or a conference, post a paragraph about what you learned. These are the kinds of things that get your profile noticed by future customers (and current ones as well.)
4. Participate to be noticed
Join some of the communities and groups on LinkedIn and participate often, highlighting the fact that you have valuable insight that is worth sharing. Answering questions in a LinkedIn group is a powerful tool for building a solid online reputation. If you show a willingness to help others, LinkedIn will reward you with extra visibility for your profile. If you can’t find a group that suits you, then start your own.