We’ve all seen the LinkedIn icon, over 250 million of us have set up an account, and even 40% of users have paid to upgrade to premium; so why is it that so many of us are failing to harvest the full potential of the professional social networking site?
One of the most common mistakes when trying to use social media is the thought that you need to have a presence on every type of social media to be successful. You do not. There are large organisations, like Matalan and Virgin, who have a presence on all of the top social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube) but they also have the capacity and man power to run and maintain them. Before you decide which sites you want to set up an account on, you need to clearly define in your own mind;
What is it you want out of it? & What are you goals?
LinkedIn is designed to connect the world's professionals, to make them more productive and successful. If this sounds like part of your strategy, then here are a few helpful tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively.
Firstly: there are over 250 million users on LinkedIn, so when people are searching for you, you need to be easily identifiable. Having an avatar as your photo simply looks like you haven’t been bothered to finish creating your profile, so having a profile picture is key. The picture should be a head shot to ensure that your face can be seen. There is no right or wrong style of photo to use, some people prefer a relaxed, social environment, whereas others prefer a more professional ‘passport’ photo style. The key is to be yourself, and let your personality come through. (Just avoid having a bottle of beer or glass of wine in your hand!)
Treat your LinkedIn profile as your online CV. Spelling mistakes and typos are not okay on your paper CV, nor are they okay online. Your profile should have a professional appeal and be properly written. You could potentially do more harm having a bad profile, than having no profile at all.
Staying active on LinkedIn is crucial. If you found an article online that you think might interest your connections, share it with them. This will also help you become more visible on your connections’ homepages. But LinkedIn is not Twitter; they do not need to know that you’re about to go and get a cup of tea to dunk your biscuit in. Keep it professional.
Your headline on LinkedIn doesn’t just have to be your job title. People like to know about how you’ve created an impact, not just what it says on your job description. It’s also important to include key words in the headline. Try and keep in mind the types of search terms that people might use to find you, but don’t over cram it!
Enhance you profile by adding sections. This will enable you to showcase your full list of credentials, from your volunteering experience, projects that you’ve worked on, foreign languages that you’ve learnt, and even your test scores. This new feature is especially useful for the younger networkers and students who many not have an extensive list of work experience, but who still have credentials to flaunt.