Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LinkedIn 101: Three Tips to Get You Started

For such a Twitter fanatic, it’s interesting to consider that I’ve been active in LinkedIn longer than other social media platforms. 

But it has only been in the last few months that I’ve witnessed the awesome power one can garner from into this business-oriented social networking site.

LinkedIn Usage
A recent report by found that 93% of business-to-business marketers are engaged in social media marketing. Twenty-six percent of the survey’s respondents cited LinkedIn as their most important social channel  See research here.  

LinkedIn usage facts of note: 
                LinkedIn has more than 60 million members
                A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second
                Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are LinkedIn members

Given this growing enthusiasm,  how does one get started with LinkedIn? Here are three easy steps to begin, and make the most out of LinkedIn.
1) Build a Profile with Punch.   Join LinkedIn for free and start with your professional profile.  Be as complete as you can with professional history, education, a professional headshot and references. Remember, for those in the LinkedIn community, or even those who are not in LinkedIn and view your public profile, the profile page is the main content they will see. Make it count with relevant URLs, keywords, and by all means, keep it current over time.

2) Build Your Network of Connections.  Reach out to past colleagues, clients, industry associates by searching for them under “people” in the search box.  Chances are, they already use LinkedIn.  Ask to “connect” with them to build a relevant LinkedIn network. Ask those who truly know you, your company and its products or services, to write recommendations for you. These references, once you approved them, will appear in your profile.  As you attend conferences, remember to ask for LinkedIn connections to keep building your network.
3) Tread Carefully with Status Updates. Actively updating your LinkedIn status signals that you stay current and active in your field.  Yet beware! Status updates should offer relevant, professional content or link to industry-related content. LinkedIn isn’t a personal blogging platform.  It is a professional social network. Appropriate updates might include links to your professional blog, your website, industry events, articles by other thought leaders in your industry. Remember, don’t post too often.  In my mind, it’s a big no-no to post every Tweet as a LinkedIn update.  Don’t do it!  Multiple Tweets posted throughout the day look like spam on a LinkedIn page.   You will quickly lose you favor with your connections when you clog up their status update page.  (This is a rant, but hear me out: Tweets belong on Twitter.  Professional updates belong on LinkedIn.) 

Ramp Up Existing Activity
Have you been a member of LinkedIn for a few years now?  Why not try the following in 2012?
  • Make time to join groups, follow companies of interest, post in discussion forums, and other activity.
  • Keep track of third-party applications to help monitor activity, create content, engage with relevant connections, and build your network., Slideshare, and TripIt are only a few to consider.
  • Monitor LinkedIn new features. As an example, LinkedIn Events now provides users with event recommendations of interest based on profile information such as location, industry, and those in a network.

Parting Thoughts
LinkedIn offers tremendous power to those in marketing, or any business. 
Ignore at your own peril!

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