Social media keeners have done a great job of hyping the marketing revolution that’s unfolding around us but the unanswered question haunting many water coolers these days seems to be: “What’s the point?”
Of all the networking websites popular today, my personal favorite is LinkedIn. I find it an elegant way to:
- boost credibility;
- stay in touch with clients and colleagues and
- keep up with trends in my field.
Although I am a freelance copywriter and not a corporate employee, I see how its value holds regardless of an individual’s employment situation. It can help you:
1. Establish Credibility.
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to give prospective customers or employers information about your professional capabilities. People are looking for reasons to trust you in business and this type of validation can be developed through your profile.
- complete all profile information and write it as a marketing document, not a factual download;
- seek recommendations from colleagues or clients to highlight what you do well;
- join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your client base or peer group and contribute to (or start) discussions to establish your expertise.
2. Stay in Touch.
No-one stays at one job forever anymore and it makes good business sense to stay in touch with peers and colleagues for reasons of potential mutual benefit. Make sure you connect with people you’ve met or worked with in a professional context so you receive their profile updates. It takes seconds to review these updates – they’re sent directly to your email inbox – and very little time to send a congratulatory note for job promotions or comment on upcoming projects.
- keep your own profile up to date;
- send inmail comments as appropriate;
- keep adding connections.
3. Follow Industry Trends.
LinkedIn lets you join groups related to your professional interests and you can monitor discussions in those groups so you know what’s happening in your field. Some groups have admission criteria but if you have a legitimate reason for joining you are unlikely to be turned down. Other contributors may post interesting articles or links to pertinent websites – group activity updates are sent to your email inbox and it takes seconds to scan for items of interest.
- join groups that align with your interests (and those of your customers or clients)
- contribute to discussions
- explore the websites of group members to learn about their areas of expertise
4. Attract Attention.
Your blog, Twitter and Facebook links can all feed directly into your LinkedIn profile page so viewers of your profile can easily get news of events you host, causes you support or concerns you have about issues of professional interest. You can also promote events to your connections or fellow discussion group members.
- decide first if your Twitter feed actually belongs on LinkedIn, ditto with Facebook if it’s a personal, rather than a business, Page. LinkedIn is strictly a business platform and you don’t want to mar your credibility by posting items of a more personal nature or voice in that venue
- be courteous and professional in all communications
- add value to your audience wherever possible
There’s so much more LinkedIn can do for you but the bottom line is that a LinkedIn profile is a practical way to show yourself in your best light. Interested in finding out more? Contact me at email@example.com and by all means, connect with me on LinkedIn!