In our last blog ‘Meaningful networking’ we touched on the point of taking your networking online and promised to post a dedicated blog on LinkedIn. There was a lot to include so we have split this blog into 2 parts. Watch out for Part II coming soon.
Leveraging LinkedIn Part I
“LinkedIn is a social networking tool that allows you to connect with others as well as engage with them over time in a way that is meaningful. Most of us are not leveraging the full value of this tool.”
What’s the first thing most people do when they would like to find out more about you? They do an online search. Your lack of presence on platforms can send a message out about you, and it may not be a positive one. Why leave the impressions others form about you to chance or guesswork?
If you have a well-completed LinkedIn profile, you are more likely to turn up in search results. Polish up your LinkedIn profile so that others can find you, and so that they have the key messages you want them to take away about you. Start with this easy 5-point check on LinkedIn.
- Your Profile Photo: The ‘egghead’ (no photo) is never a better option than an image, preferably of yourself. Choose a friendly headshot that shows your face clearly. Avoid group shots that can confuse your audience.
Investing in a professional photographer will produce a professional result, and you may be able to arrange a shoot for several people to keep the costs down. Also consider this option for your HR team so that everyone shows up well online. Your employees are a reflection of your organisation, both offline and online.
- Summary Statement: this is a great opportunity for you to sum up who you are, what you do and what your aspirations are. It’s one of the first things that people see when they land on your profile. It helps to clarify why others would want to connect with you too. When crafting your summary statement, think about these questions:
- What stands you out?
- What do you offer?
- What motivates or energises you?
- What opportunities interest you?
- What is your course of travel or future direction?
Write copy that is interesting to read. If you’re not good at penning words to paper about yourself, ask a colleague to review your copy and to make suggestions. You could also invest in the services of a copy-righter for a really polished result.
- Your Skills: Do the skills that appear on your profile reflect what you are good at? Are there any that can be added? Are there any skills that are not relevant and can be removed? Make sure the right skills are listed so that your network can endorse you accordingly.
- Your Recommendations: Recommendations are a statement of strengths or what you have done well. They are important because they come from others who have worked with you in some capacity (colleagues, employees, managers, mentors, suppliers, clients). LinkedIn allows us to click onto the profile of the person recommending you, and to assess their credibility too. In this way we build up a more rounded picture of the person we are connecting and engaging with. Recommendations complement your skills endorsements and further signpost why someone would ‘choose you’.
- Positions: Include at least one current position and two past positions, if you are far enough into your career for that. Add a few bullet points of key focus, responsibilities or achievements in role.
- Your Connections: How many connections do you have? Do you make a point of connecting with people you meet or may know?
Networking is an essential enabler within business today. Building your online network is as important as networking face to face, and it offers the advantage of being able to easily engage with others in a public forum on a regular basis. In place of a stack of business cards or an electronic contact list, LinkedIn is a living network where you can interact and build influence through sharing updates, liking and commenting on other posts, and publishing your own content to Pulse. In Part II we’ll cover how and why to build influence in a bit more depth.
Getting smart about how you use Linkedin could save you a lot of time and deliver real value.
Until next time.
If you would like to polish up your LinkedIn profile in a one on one session or you would like to run a LinkedIn clinic for a group of your employees, we can assist.
Contact Bongiwe on 011 544 4400 / email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.