LinkedIn is one of the English-speaking world’s most popular social networks. According to Fortune reporter Barb Darrow, LinkedIn crossed the 500 million user mark sometime early last year. Its user count has likely grown further since then, though the Microsoft subsidiary does not report monthly or annual user counts with the same fervour as some competitors.
LinkedIn’s import isn’t simply a function of its popularity, of course. As the de facto business social media platform for U.S. professionals and entrepreneurs, it plays an outsized role in personnel decisions, professional partnerships, and corporate transactions. It’s also a crucial branding platform for business entities and individuals alike.
So, why do so many LinkedIn users treat their profiles perfunctorily, with the same degree of regard they might afford a candid snap or breakfast ‘gram?
It doesn’t have to be this way. You, the upwardly mobile, image-conscious professional, can master — or, at least, tame — LinkedIn with relatively little effort. Here’s how to get started, and what to avoid along the way.
1.Make Sure Your Personal Information Is Up to Date
This should be easy, but you’d be surprised how many otherwise adept LinkedIn users treat it as an afterthought. Keeping your personal or organizational details up to date is particularly important if you’re actively seeking funding for your firm or hunting for gainful employment. Rapidly growing organizations, like HQ Trivia, need to snip their profiles on a near-daily basis.
2. Spent 10 Minutes Per Day Liking and Sharing Associates’ Content
Set aside 10 minutes each day, perhaps in lieu of scanning the prior evening’s headlines over your morning cup of coffee, to liking and sharing relevant content posted by your first-degree connections.
Be judicious about how, where, and whether you add your two cents to these shares. Sometimes, it’s best to let the content and the fact that you’ve shared it speak for itself. If your primary goal is to increase the visibility and perceived activity of your feed, that’s really all that matters.
3. Excise the Superfluous Stuff from Your Bio Statement
Let’s face it: most first-time visitors to your LinkedIn profile or company page will spend a few seconds scanning what’s visible above the fold and go on about their days. Make sure you’re delivering valuable information that actively informs whatever decision they’re in the process of making, not overloading them with superfluous details about your eighth-to-last job. Film producer David Milmran has the right idea here with a spare, businesslike personal profile.
4. Publish One Original LinkedIn Piece Per Week
Believe it or not, visitors to your LinkedIn profile do care what you have to say — as long as there’s something in it for them. Pay attention to the content others in your network are sharing throughout the week and set aside at least 10 minutes per day to scan headlines relevant to your professional niche or industry. Use what you find to ideate original content, publish at least one piece — preferably over 500 words — per week, and cross-post it on other content channels, like your personal blog.
5. Share at Least One Original Piece Per Week
Compared with belting out an original post, this is a much lighter lift. Make a point to share at least one immediately compelling piece of external original content each week, preferably one written by a first- or second-degree connection. Be sure to tag the author when you do — they might just return the favour for you.
Beyond a Great LinkedIn Profile
Were only this the last word on developing and cultivating a first-rate professional social media presence.
It’s not. Actually, we’ve only just scratched the surface.
As fine as your new-and-improved LinkedIn profile might look today, you’ve got to work to keep it in tip-top shape. Most of the tips outlined above acknowledge this, but they’re not by themselves enough.
More to the point, LinkedIn isn’t the only digital asset with outsize influence over how you’re perceived by peers and prospects alike. Your personal social profiles are just a Google search away; your personal website and blog, as well. It’s up to you to keep everything aboveboard.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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