With more than 60 million members, LinkedIn has become the best resource for developing your professional network. It’s a great place to meet, post and find jobs, answer questions and join groups. Once you’ve created a basic profile, here are some tips to get the most out of LinkedIn.
First, and without question, your profile should be 100% complete. School, work, past work and other relevant information assists others searching for contacts, and helps build your own network. Next, add a profile photo. Your picture triggers recognition and makes networkers feel like they are connecting to a real person. Then optimize your summary section with relevant keywords. Use Google’s Keyword Tool or Wordtracker for your research. This particular section of your profile is often indexed fully by major search engines.
Potential SEO Benefits?
Take a look at this screenshot, which is a portion of my public LinkedIn profile. There is speculation (and some confirmation) the items in this section helps with organic search engine optimization.
- Add your website, link to your blog and link to your company. Make sure you further “edit” each by giving it a name other than the defaults provided by LinkedIn. As you can see from my list, I’m hyperlinking phrases such as “Marketing Blog” and “Consulting Services”.
- If you’re on Twitter, be sure to add your Twitter profile, and connect the accounts together. Under your profile, click on Edit and look for your Twitter settings. You could also try this link when logged in to LinkedIn.
- Always choose a real name or variation on your name over the default format LinkedIn provides for you. This certainly feeds your organic name optimization and enhances your online reputation. As you can see, my profile link is my full name “brianjfarrell”.
Connecting with Twitter
This image below shows my Twitter settings — my account name (@findtheclient), my privacy settings, and the most important section, whether or not all or select Tweets should show on my profile. When I first set this up, I sent all Tweets to LinkedIn. Since I’m on Twitter often, this amounted to sometimes a dozen or more updates in a single day. When friends said they couldn’t keep up with me, I changed this to show only Tweets with the “#in” hashtag. Much better results, and I can leave up new blog posts or polls for a longer period of time.
Build Your Connections
Once you’ve done the above, it’s time to build your network. Start with people you know, such as co-workers, clients and colleagues. Also look for connections by company name, under the “Companies” tab. Once you’ve built up this initial base of connections, ask for and make recommendations. But before you do this, read as many as you can. You’ll quickly see what makes up a good (or bad) recommendation. It also helps to personalize your request for a recommendation rather then sending out the canned form letter provided by LinkedIn.
Finally, updated your status often, since it appears on LinkedIn as well as in network updates to your connections. Updates should be considered a professional status, not what you’re eating for lunch. And if you haven’t done so, let’s connect on LinkedIn!