E-Power Marketing is a big believer in Business Networking Web sites especially LinkedIn. We see the value these networks provide for professionals. Members of Business Networking sites can showcase their professional accomplishments, connect with co-workers, clients, other industry professionals and more.
LinkedIn and other Business Networking sites allow members to increase their reach online, and build their networks. Individuals can receive recommendations from others in their network. Professionals can share their expertise on discussion boards, and post or look for jobs on the job boards as well. The key to receiving the full advantages of a business networking site like LinkedIn is to create an optimized profile, and learn the system and methods of the site.
To start you off, we've put together 13 tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile...
- Complete your profile - When editing your profile, you will see a bar in the right hand column of your screen. This bar gives you a completeness percentage for your personal profile. Below that bar are profile-specific tips for how to fully complete your profile. Creating a complete profile is essential to the LinkedIn experience. Describe yourself, your education and your career thoroughly, but be sure to be truthful, as your LinkedIn profile can act as an online resume.
- Create a public profile - LinkedIn gives you security options in terms of what the public (those you aren't connected with on LinkedIn) can see of your profile. You choose what information is publicly available on the Web. You control which parts of your profile are shown, and you can update your public profile at any time. This public profile is available on the major search engines, and gets a permanent URL that you can customize and distribute (see tip #3).
- Claim your public profile URL - LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create a customized public profile URL, you should utilize this option by claiming your name, or as close to your name as possible. This allows you to create a personalized URL that will be easy to remember when networking with others.
- Connect with others - What good is joining a networking community if you don't take advantage of the connections you could be making? Connect with people you work with, people you used to work with, past and present clients, people you went to school with, family members, friends, and more. Networking sites allow you to increase your online presence, but that won't happen if you don't make the connections. Search for others in your industry, those you've met on other networking sites, or those who have similar hobbies to you. You never know where your next customer or referral will come from. Make the effort to network with others on LinkedIn, or you won't be utilizing the site to its fullest potential.
- Request recommendations - Once you've established a strong network, you will be able to contact others about recommendations. Choose the people on your list that you know well, and that you feel you've proven your worth to. Having recommendations will allow your profile to stand out, and show others that you are indeed an industry resource. These recommendations will be great for your professional reputation, and they will increase your visibility within LinkedIn searches as well.
- Analyze your company profile - Make sure your company's profile is up to date and complete. Make sure other employees know about it and are connected to it on their personal profiles. Your company doesn't already have a profile? Create one! Just as with your personal profile, be detailed and specific. List your specialties, and link to your Home page. Add your company Blog. Create a strong online presence for your company on LinkedIn.
- Link your profile to your Web sites - LinkedIn allows you to add three hyperlinks to your profile. LinkedIn recommends linking to your Web site, your company, your Blog, your RSS feed or your portfolio. However, these are not your only options! Select the "Other" option, and you have the opportunity to create your own anchor text, and link to any other URL you deem appropriate. Below your Web site listings, LinkedIn now provides a separate link for your Twitter account. Link your online initiatives together to really benefit from the connectedness of Social Media Marketing.
- Join and participate in related LinkedIn Groups. You can search for and find groups that other professionals in your industry have created or joined. Once you find and join the groups that are most relevant to you and your business, you can participate in the group discussions to further your reputation and online presence.
- Show off on LinkedIn Answers - LinkedIn Answers allows you to establish yourself as an industry resource. You can ask and answer questions in order to create new connections and illustrate to others your area of expertise and knowledge of your field. Not only does this bolster your reputation, it also increases your visibility throughout the network.
- Take advantage of the Learning Center - LinkedIn has created the Learning Center where you can go to learn more about the specifics of site features, and even read through User Guides so you can get the most out of LinkedIn.
- Utilize the Job Board - LinkedIn is a great, social way to let others know about your job openings, or to look for a new position yourself. The Job Board allows you to post the open positions in your company, and screen candidates before every interviewing them. You are also able to search for jobs by company, location, or position. Find common connections to potential candidates or companies. Get a sense of applicants or other employees before ever committing to an interview.
- Fill your calendar - The LinkedIn Events section shows you the events your connections are hosting. Find expos or trade shows in your area or in your industry. Consider attending seminars or even webinars to increase your knowledge and education. Tune into what is going on in your field and stay up to date with industry events through LinkedIn.
- Stay active - Simply creating a LinkedIn profile isn't enough. You must stay active on the network to make the most of it. Whether you can get to the site daily, weekly, or monthly, it is important to understand that having a profile will do very little for you if you never take advantage of it. Continually look for new connections, post on the discussion or answer boards, and stay up to date with what others are doing on LinkedIn.