LinkedIn is one of the easiest of the social media accounts to set up. And in my opinion, it’s also one of the essentials. I find when I search for people, I find their LinkedIn profile near the top of the page. It’s a powerful networking tool and everyone can sign up for a free account. Take a minute to Bing or Google yourself and note the position of your profile. For me, in Bing, LinkedIn shows up first and in Google, third (after Twitter and my website).
I cringe when I see professionals making very basic mistakes or omissions when getting their accounts set up. Let’s go over the top 5 and see how you fare:
1. No Photo or Inappropriate Photo
I think you can see what’s going on with the images below. I’ll pick on some friends and former co-workers of mine. First, we have Kevin, the President of a company with no photo. The other is a picture of Sam, a VP of Sales sporting his wedding picture on LinkedIn!
LinkedIn is for business, so have someone take some snapshots of you in professional or dress pertinent to your line of work. Make them waist up or headshots. Remember, people want to connect with people.
2. Personalize LinkedIn URL
LinkedIn gives you the ability to personalize the url automatically generated when you set up your account. Many people don’t see that there’s a place to edit the generic url. Here’s an example of a non-optimized url:
Then, look over to the right part of your screen and you’ll see ‘your public profile url’. Click that and the box you see below will open where you can personalize your name. Since so many people miss this simple optimization, you probably won’t have much of a problem getting a great personalized url.
Now that this is done, you can use this link in your e-mail signature or proudly send it to someone.
3. Use the space in your name area to introduce yourself
After typing in your name, most people don’t realize there is room for adding a little about yourself. Instead of just putting your business name, you can show your creativity by crafting (using your keywords), what you do. I like this one my friend Amy Kinnaird put together. She uses key words and creativity.
4. Promote Your Work
If you fill out your summary/background, then you’ll have the opportunity to promote things you’ve done or created.
My friend Todd Klindt said I could make an example of him, so let’s take a look at what he’s missing out on. He did fill out his work history, but he hasn’t written anything about his experience and expertise. This is prime real estate to showcase your talents, so use it!
In addition to writing a summary, there’s also an opportunity to add numerous links to presentations, websites, and in Todd’s case, he does a weekly netcast, so he could add a link right on LinkedIn where people can get access to and consume his netcasts.
This is how I’m utilizing the attachment feature in LinkedIn. I’ve got links to presentations I’ve done with our WordPress User’s Group that are stored in Slideshare. The last attachment is a video I did a couple weeks ago that is stored in my YouTube Channel.
To add content in your background section just click on the box with the plus sign in it and add your urls.
5. Don’t send the generic invitations to connect
When there’s someone out there you want to connect to, take a minute or two to type in the invite box the connection you have with them. Perhaps you met them at a networking event or got their card at a conference. Take a minute to strengthen the connection by referencing how you know each other. If you don’t know each other, tell the person why you’d like to connect. When I get a generic invite from someone I don’t know and they haven’t taken the time to say why they want to connect, it doesn’t warrant my time either.
So how did you rank in this top 5 list? Take a couple minutes to strengthen your LinkedIn profile. Is there something you’ve done I haven’t mentioned? Put it in the comments!