Some professionals only leverage LinkedIn when they’re looking for a new job or recruiting talent. While it is useful for both tasks, the platform offers many tools that professionals should use for ongoing relationship marketing and personal branding. People place a lot of emphasis on in-person impressions. While everything from your attire to your handshake says something about you, often your true first impression is online. Your online persona is constantly accessible. Make sure you’re telling the story and communicating the image you want to portray.
1) Optimize Your Profile
First, get your profile in shape. LinkedIn makes it easy for you by regularly prompting you for additions and updates. Here are a few ideas to consider:
• Add a recent, professional photo. Putting a face to your name adds instant credibility.
• Fill out your experience thoroughly. It may look like your resume, but this helps connections better understand your skill set and unique history.
• Add contact information. This could be an email address or a Twitter handle – however you prefer to be reached.
• Include relevant work samples such as slide decks, images or videos.
• Update frequently to keep the content fresh and relevant.
2) Grow Your Network
It’s time to reach out to your contacts. This step is crucially important to success on LinkedIn. Think of current and former colleagues, business contacts and even prospects. Some easy tips for growing your network:
• Import your address book to add people you’re already communicating with.
• Request new connections, but be sure to include a personal note sharing how you know them and why you’d like to connect.
• Utilize the Introductions feature to reach out-of-network connections.
3) Contribute & Interact
There’s no better place than LinkedIn to demonstrate thought leadership. Try these proven approaches for demonstrating expertise and deepening relationships:
• Join Groups and discuss your top interests, from hobbies to professional groups and specializations. Offer your opinions, ask questions and find new individuals with whom to connect.
• Interact with connections. LinkedIn alerts you to your contacts’ new titles and anniversaries and suggests endorsements on a connections page. Don’t miss these opportunities to let your connections know you’re keeping up with their news.
• Share to your networks via updates and posts. Updates are best for a quick, “Here’s what’s new” status, similar to a tweet or Facebook post (but professional). A post is long-form content. These are akin to a blog post and are a wonderful place to showcase expertise and a unique point of view.
Ultimately, when sharing content, make sure your contribution satisfies these questions: Is it useful? Does it provide value? Is it in line with the professional image you would like to portray? At least for this piece, which you can now find on my LinkedIn page, I would say yes.
Often your true first impression is online, and your online persona is constantly accessible. Make sure you’re telling the story and communicating the image you want to portray.
About the Author
Maddy is a results-driven social media enthusiast. Through the execution of strategic, paid social media campaigns, she communicates with the most relevant audiences to help exceed business goals.