Unless you’ve been under a rock the last few years, you likely have been encouraged to create a profile on LinkedIn. All professionals and field experts are on there and it’s a great online networking platform for you to build your personal brand.
Many people, however, stop after filling out their profile. They may like, follow and connect to a handful of people in their industry. To maximize the potential benefits and personal exposure on LinkedIn, interaction is required. If you want to move from LinkedIn apprentice status to LinkedIn Master, you have to communicate with others and contribute your knowledge, experience and thoughts to the online conversation.
LinkedIn is a networking platform after all. You don’t merely register for a networking event and don’t show up. You get no benefit from it. LinkedIn is the same as an in-person networking event. In order for people to discover you and you them, you must interact.
It is good to have a LinkedIn profile. Many employers now expect it. A profile, just being on LinkedIn is only the first step in becoming a LinkedIn master.
How do you progress from being a LinkedIn apprentice or newbie to becoming a LinkedIn expert? Profile optimization and participation.
Here are some things you can do to boost your personal brand on LinkedIn, making you a LinkedIn master:
#1 Professional Header With Targeted Keywords
Like everything else you’ve been reading about for search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are important. LinkedIn is a unique blend of social media and search engine. You find people based on keywords in job titles, job descriptions and job experience.
While you should have certain keywords to place in your LinkedIn profile, be sure not to stuff it keywords either. LinkedIn experts know the fine line between having keyword placement and keyword stuffing. LinkedIn apprentices, may not care about keywords or make the mistake of inserting too many.
Experts insert keywords into their professional headers, in their introduction and in the alt tag of their professional photos.
Besides keywords, experts also include their current position and company they work for. These can inadvertently be additional keywords.
#2 Include a Concise Summary With Links
If you haven’t already noticed, most LinkedIn profiles look the same. They look like a blend between a resume and an essay. While the information is good, the presentation of it is boring. LinkedIn experts have their profiles stand out. One of the powerful ways they do this is by having a short, concise summary that features links (preferably to videos).
In the summary, begin saying something about yourself followed by your current position and what industry you’re in. After that, be sure to include your contact information.
Again, the summary is a great place to insert keywords. Restrain yourself, however, and keyword avoid over-stuffing. With this free area to say whatever you want, how should you say it? LinkedIn apprentices will either write it catered to either the LinkedIn search engine or to people. LinkedIn experts, however, again, find a balance and write in a way that appeals to both.
#3 Don’t Be Afraid to Boast About Experience
Boasting about your professional accomplishments can be difficult, especially if you don’t have much experience to boast about. Nevertheless, don’t be afraid to talk about your little wins and accomplishments. After all, you’re just starting in your career and your accomplishments will become more significant.
LinkedIn apprentices either skimp on this vital part or ignore it all together. It either makes them too uncomfortable or it takes too much time and effort to think of accomplishments and explain them. LinkedIn experts aren’t afraid to boast about their experience and accomplishments.
Again, it is important to restrain yourself from sharing every detail of the accomplishments. Nobody wants to read a novel about your accomplishments. Keep this section of your profile short and concise.
#4 Include Work Examples and Get Recommendations
People will be less likely to reach out to you, or notice your profile if all you do is talk about your experience and not provide any examples to back-up your accomplishments. People want to be assured that you are who you say you are and have the experience you claim to have. Practical examples and samples of current and past work will more likely catch eyeballs than a wordy description of it. Most people are visual, being drawn to and taking in information more easily through images, even if those images are SlideShares of text.
As you want to be concise in every area of your profile, links to your work and accomplishments are highly recommended. They take up less space than images and are more authentic. Be sure to check the links first before inserting them.
You can self-promote yourself all you want, but there will be those skeptics who may question your claims and not be ready to trust you enough to connect to you. This is where getting recommendations from friends and co-workers come in handy. When people see that others can vouch about your skills and accomplishments, they are more trusting and will be much more likely to believe your claims. The doubt they have will be lessened.
The step of asking for recommendations is often a scary and uncomfortable one.
Many newbies on LinkedIn neglect this important step, thinking it is optional. LinkedIn experts on the other hand, know that the more recommendations one has the better. They see the immense value of recommendations in building their personal brand’s authority and reputation. They even go beyond friends and co-workers to ask for recommendations from acquaintances, business leaders in their industries and other contacts they may have met at in-person networking events. LinkedIn experts are not afraid to network and ask others for recommendations. They are also willing to reply with their own recommendations as reciprocity is a good practice on LinkedIn.
Participate and Interact
This last step may be the most under-utilized of them all. And yet, it is one of the easiest ways to get your profile in front of the eyes of LinkedIn users you may not have otherwise. Those new to LinkedIn may either neglect interacting or they may get over-zealous and comment and post on every discussion forum and post continuous updates. This can lead to burnout.
LinkedIn has a large variety of groups members can join, and forums where users can discuss issues. Users can also post updates and leave comments on the post updates of others. These are all opportunities for users to engage and interact with other users.
Interacting with others can involve a significant amount of time. It also requires one to carefully think what he or she will say. Your personal brand’s reputation is at stake with whatever you say on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn masters know that engagement is necessary in order for their profiles to get exposure. They are also discerning on what groups they join, how often they post status updates and what discussion forums they post on. They will select the groups and forums that are about the industries in which they work in, have experience in or are passionate about. The goal of LinkedIn is to establish yourself as an industry leader. You gain that status through experience and the sharing of the insights you’ve gained through that experience.
If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a valuable business networking opportunity. Go and take the time to completely fill out your profile and look for groups and discussion forums to post onto in industries that your passionate and knowledgeable in. Post regular updates on your page. This can be a personal blog or a company blog. Enhance your profile through getting recommendations and having an online portfolio. Creating a website for your personal brand is a good way to do this.
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