Am I describing you? You may have LinkedIn on your phone or your desktop, and be thinking “Well I’m just not really sure what to do with LinkedIn and it’s changed, so I don’t really know how to use it”. This is common, and you are not alone.
Taking the First Step on LinkedIn
Please read the following insights as a great first step in knowing how to get started with LinkedIn, at a time when staying connected online with your professional community is more important than ever. It will help build your confidence as well as improve your understanding of how LinkedIn can help you stay top of mind with your professional community and create potential opportunities for you.
1. Decide Your Goals for Spending Time on LinkedIn
When deciding if LinkedIn is for you, the first thing I recommend you consider are your goals. I see too many people think they should be on LinkedIn, but they haven’t really thought through how they might use it and what their goals are. So let’s first help build some context around why you would spend time on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, job search hub, professional learning and content marketing hub for professionals across the world. It’s where you stay informed, keep others informed, create and get opportunities, begin and continue conversations, and add value to your professional community.
2. Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile
To optimise your LinkedIn Profile means to have filled in all the relevant features and details available via your LinkedIn Profile. These features are available for free and premium memberships.
But how do you do this? Is it like a resume? Do I write in the first person? Is it presenting the best version of you? I see a lot of people just cut and paste the information from their resume and pretty much treat it like a resume. This is not what I recommend. Instead, I suggest you treat your LinkedIn Profile like your 24/7 online representative or ambassador and make sure it is giving people a strong sense of who you are, who you work with, how you help and what you believe in. I encourage you to tell your story and explain your current and previous roles in the context of who you are trying to influence on LinkedIn.
Writing your profile summary and experience sections is not easy. In fact, I think I’ve probably built a business on the fact that it’s hard to write about yourself. My team and I can help, and have a DIY option, the LinkedIn Profile Optimiser for just $99 or we can write your profile for you with our Professional LinkedIn Profile Update, written by our professional LinkedIn Profile Writers.
3. Have a Connection Criteria
How do you decide who you accept LinkedIn invitations from? It’s different for everyone and depends on your goals for LinkedIn. If you have ignored invitations to connect and they are still waiting for your response, perhaps it’s because you’re not sure what to do with invitations from people you don’t know.
This is your opportunity to develop a connection criteria. Some of these invitations may be potential leads or employers. [Yes, a few of them may also be those annoying salesy people.] When you have a well written LinkedIn profile and spend regular time on LinkedIn, the quality of your invitations to connect will improve. Some of these invitations will be from people who’ve heard your name mentioned and want to find out more about you [and maybe even your business services, if you are using LinkedIn for this purpose].
4. Consider Publishing Content & LinkedIn Articles
LinkedIn allows you to publish updates as posts as well as long form LinkedIn articles. The Featured section of your profile is where you can showcase (or feature) particular content, such as a LinkedIn article, post, link to your website, PDFs or other images.
Publishing content on LinkedIn is an excellent way for you to establish your expertise in and beyond your industry and broaden your reach on LinkedIn. I encourage you to write content that is valuable for your readers. I’ve written over 50 articles on LinkedIn. Please visit my LinkedIn Profile Articles here to get a sense of the topics, headlines, content and framework I use when publishing LinkedIn articles. You can also see how I’ve used the Featured media section with the About section of my LinkedIn Profile.
5. Consider the Connection between LinkedIn and Personal Branding
My dear Dad gave me some great advice many years ago, which was, “Karen, your name is your most treasured possession”. I love this concept. Personal branding is this concept, ‘on steroids’! I believe your name is your reputation and your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity for you to take control of that concept.
If you have a well written LinkedIn profile then when people type in your name into their search engine I can almost guarantee that the first thing that will come up is your LinkedIn profile. This is due to the fact LinkedIn is a large online platform with 500 million members and lots of activity.
Optimising your LinkedIn Profile is a great opportunity to control the information people can see when they’re searching you online. Turn all your social media profiles to private, and direct your online traffic to your professional profile on LinkedIn.
The connection with personal branding is to help you understand that getting LinkedIn right and getting your LinkedIn profile right is about taking better control of the power of personal branding and really making sure you’re telling the right story online, based on your current professional goals. In the current environment, people are going to be spending more time online than ever!
How Can I Help?
It is my hope that by reading this article you will better understand how to get started with LinkedIn.
As a LinkedIn specialist trainer and independent LinkedIn consultant, I spend a lot of time with people showing them how to use LinkedIn to grow their business and career. I partner with individuals and organisations on this journey and am adapting, like everyone else, to delivering this training and consulting online.
Think Bespoke’s online resources distil my learnings from 100s of LinkedIn consultations and strategy sessions to help answer your LinkedIn questions. My aim is to provide practical tips on how to achieve your professional goals with LinkedIn.
I’m often asked “Can you please show me how to use LinkedIn properly?”. Yes, I can! I’m available for online 1:1 or small group training and have trained individuals and organisations across Australia and New Zealand. My approach is proven and I’m recognised as one of Asia Pacific’s Top 10 LinkedIn Experts* (2019) and Top 20 (2018). I enjoy working at your pace and can show you how to start online conversations that result in genuine leads and focussed outcomes.
*Social Media Marketing Institute