Last night, I hosted a LinkedIn workshop at my home for members of the Hatch Network a modern business school for entrepreneurial women. Our guest speaker was Kim Kochaver, a Trade Marketing Manager for LinkedIn.
Kim gave a fast-paced, gem-filled presentation on how to nurture your LinkedIn profile, build your network and then leverage it. Because many of the women in the room were LinkedIn neophytes, we spent most of the time on primping profiles, which is what I will share with you in this post.
Why should LinkedIn be important to you?
Because 60 million other professionals are using it. It is THE social media site for business networking. And most importantly, (as Kim stated so effectively last night) it is a growing phenomenon that our career or business success depends on managing our own personal brand. LinkedIn gives you an excellent platform to do just this.
Start managing your personal brand with an optimized profile.
Above all, Linked in is a site meant for doing business and making professional connections. The profile layout is straightforward and simple with fields to let people know who you are, what you do, your professional memberships and interests. The following are a few tips to help you set up an effective, professional profile (click on “settings” in the upper right corner of the your LinkedIn homepage to start editing). Definitely post a picture of yourself.
Choose a head-shot style picture. This is not the place for a picture of you on a beach in Mexico. If you can afford it, hire a professional to take a head shot. You can use it many other places.
Write a summary that is brief and interesting. Write it in paragraph form, not bulleted like a resume. Cutting and pasting your resume is probably not a good idea – do you find resumes interesting reading material? Highlight your specialties… Choose the experience or personal qualities that most represent your brand. If you don’t like to write about yourself, enlist the help of a professional writer/editor to help you.
Choose a custom Public Profile URL. Kim recommends using your name since your employer or business could change. You will always be you. For example, my URL is http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathycurtis
Choose custom names for your websites by ignoring the default “my website”, “my blog” and choose “other.” By choosing other you can name your links whatever you like. Another great tip: rotate your links and websites depending on what you want your contacts to know about you. For example, Kim has a website link called Get LinkedIn’s Audience Stats and Follow Kim on Twitter.
Edit your Public Profile. The default public profile is too basic. At least include your picture, headline, summary, specialties, websites and interests. If you peak a viewer’s interest the more likely it is they will go on to read your full profile increasing your chances for a connection.
Use the Network Updates box to promote yourself and your business. Some ideas for effectively using this feature: post new blogs you have written; post event info, let your contacts know about special projects you are working on related to your business or job, if you are openly job hunting, let people know here. Network updates is a great tool to remind your network of what you are up to on a regular basis.
Take Advantage of LinkedIn Applications
LinkedIn has added several applications and there are more to come. Here are a few that are easy and fun to use and further the goal of building your personal brand:
Reading List by Amazon: You are what you read? Let your contacts know more about you by what you read. You can post your reading list and write recommendations for books you like.
My Travel by TripIt, Inc: Fill in details of your upcoming trips. The application then let’s you know who lives or works in that area or if one of your connections is travelling there too. Think about the opportunities to meet business contacts while on the road? Or solicit helpful comments about places you are going?
WordPress: This automatically syncs your wordpress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile. Expand your readership and contact list.
Tweets: Integrates your twitter account with LinkedIn and allows you to choose tweets for posting on LinkedIn.
SlideShare Presentations: If you are particularly proud of a presentation you have created, you can now share with your connections. This is an effective way to highlight your particular knowledge or expertise and show off your slide-making skills. Think about the opportunities for connections with potential clients or employers!
Once you get your profile primped up to perfection, you can step up your network building activities and then start to leverage your network. In closing last night, Kim challenged us all to log-on to LinkedIn and spend a couple of hours carefully going through every section under “settings’: Profile settings, email notifications, home page settings, RSS settings, groups, personal info, privacy settings and my network. There are many important choices within these sections that you won’t want to miss.
I’ve primped my profile, have you?
Primp your LinkedIn Profile: Your Brand is Depending on You.