Maximize your LinkedIn Profile

With over 116 million users, LinkedIn is still part of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and a great way to build your professional network.  LinkedIn is a social networking site designed to bring professionals together in one place.  It is a great way to get connected to people in your area, profession, or similar interests.  Here are a few steps to getting your profile looking great and getting it noticed!

Name and Picture.  When you type in your name, capitalize the first letter of your first and last name!  I have seen it time and time again where people do not capitalize their name.  This looks extremely unprofessional and lazy.  You do not want that to be the first impression people get of you from your LinkedIn Profile.  Next step, add an image. You want people to know you are serious about your networking.  When people do not see an image, they tend to not want to connect.  You have a profile picture up on Facebook, you should also have one here.  Make sure the picture you choose is professional looking, not one you took of yourself in your bathroom mirror (i.e. Common Facebook profile pictures).

Headline.  When you write your headline, make sure it is something that describes you best.  Mine, for example, is “Owner-Fresh View Concepts- Graphics and Consulting”.  I wanted people to know about my business first hand and what type of business it is.  Your job title and probably the company you work for are the best for the headline, so it is easy for people to find you when searching LinkedIn.

Summary and Specialties.  This is a very important section.  This gives you the opportunity to tell people who you are and what you are capable of.  This is best written in first person, and actually writing it yourself is always a plus.  Third person summaries are becoming a thing of the past.  In the specialties section, put all the things that you are best at in this section.  An example would be- if you are a web designer/developer, you may want to put:   HTML, CSS, PHP, DHTML, XHTML, MySQL, RSS, SEO, XML, Adobe CS5, WordPress CMS, Ecommerce, osCommerce, Open Cart, Joomla, Drupal. This way when people need someone for a specific job, they will know you are qualified.

Work History.  Be specific, especially if you are using LinkedIn to find a job!  Put your company name, years you worked, and what you did while you were there.  I have seen tons of profiles with incomplete work history and I definitely take that into account if I want to connect with them or not.

Education.  Flaunt that degree, you worked hard for it! If you did not go to college, put down your certifications, awards, or anything else that shows you are good at what you do.  People connecting with you or possible employers like to see that you have extended yourself beyond “self-taught”.

Add Twitter and your website.  Add your twitter account to your profile, so your connections know where else to find you.  Adding your website, especially if you own a business, is a great way to capitalize on new leads.  You can customize your website links within add website box by checking the “Website: Other” and typing in the title of your website.  I have also added My Blog to this list.

Add your Blog feed.  If you blog, let your LinkedIn connections know about it!  You can add this by clicking “Add Application” and simply typing in your blog’s URL.  This is just another way to get exposure for your blog!

Connections and Recommendations.  Now you are ready to start adding connections.  LinkedIn lets you search your current email contacts, and also gives you a list of people you might know.  Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to people you do not know, but you feel may be a great connection to have!  Once you have a few connections, ask for recommendations!  These are a great way for other people to know that your connections think you do a great job!  The more you can get the better!   This is a great way for business owners to show they do great work and have great customer service!

There is so much you can add to you LinkedIn profile, so dig into it and see what else you can add to make your profile describe you best!  Feel free to take a look at my profile and contact me if you would like help setting up your own profile!

Using LinkedIn to Boost Business

Many of you are probably wondering, what is this LinkedIn and how will it benefit me?  LinkedIn is a network of business professionals who connect similar to Facebook, but in a networking type of way instead of “be my friend”.  People can connect through their current connections, groups they are involved in, coworkers, and simple invitations to connect. I am here to tell you just how great LinkedIn is for business networking and getting your name out to people who really want to know about it.

Create a LinkedIn profile and make sure you fill in all the necessary information.  The more you fill out the better your profile will match your skill sets and knowledge of your industry.  Many people use LinkedIn as a sort of virtual resume.  Many companies even take LinkedIn profiles as resumes for online submissions.  Make sure that you include your company website, twitter profile, and blog (if you have one). When LinkedIn asks you to connect to people you already know, use the email address that has the most (and more business) contacts; this way you can connect to the people who will benefit you the most.

Groups are a good way to get great information on things that interest you or things that are most like your company.  There are tons of groups that have discussions, meetups, webinars, etc., that can really be great networking for your company.  Join these groups and look at the people who are also members.  Are they people you would like to connect with?  If so, add them to your network!  This is a great way to get the word out that you are ready to do business.  Make sure to join the appropriate groups by using LinkedIn’s search bar.  This is also a helpful tool to find people you know, or who you want to connect with.

LinkedIn allows individuals to create business “pages”.  While these do not have all the features of a Facebook business page, it still serves a purpose.  You still have followers, but it also allows employees to be recognized as part of the company as well.  You can add products and services, twitter feeds, company buzz, location information, job postings, and much more! Make sure to add the LinkedIn follow button to your webpage, so your visitors know they can find additional information about your company there.

LinkedIn also makes it easy to find better employees.  While this feature does have a cost, if you want a great way to find great employees with tons of qualifications, the cost will be worth it in the end.  More and more professionals are joining LinkedIn everyday, and LinkedIn will soon surpass Twitter as the second most popular social media site.

There are many other great ways to use LinkedIn to benefit your business. These are only a few, but lead generating, ways to use the platform.  Check out LinkedIn’s blog to get more information on how to make LinkedIn work for you!

Follow us on LinkedIn to see how it all works!