LinkedIn is Easier Than You Think It Is
I know it’s hard to focus on learning another social media platform when it seems like you can already get lost just fine in Facebook, Insta, Pinterest and of course the godawful Twitter feed that gives us a peek into a madman’s head. If you are looking to grow your business, your professional brand you need LinkedIn. When you want to strike out on a new venture in your career, you need LinkedIn. And if you are thinking of returning to corporate after any type of hiatus,then LinkedIn is absolutely worth the investment. And the time required to get a decent presence going is far less than you may think. Some would argue that LinkedIn is more buttoned up than Facebook and it is, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be yourself. You want to present yourself, in the best light – it’s the version of you that shows up for an interview, not a BBQ. BBQ you should be reserved for Facebook. And being authentic on LinkedIn doesn’t take a lot of time. In 5 minutes a day you can get active and start getting noticed for what you do and your professional persona.
If you are like most busy women with high ambitions, you probably started a career at some point. And then when kids came into the picture, you started thinking of other ways to stretch your time and career. LinkedIn is great, because there are a lot of women using the platform to expand their solopreneur businesses. LinkedIn helps you stay connected with your industry, and meet other like minded people interested in new ventures. This is gold. And it’s on a mobile ready platform. You can still hold the baby, and find out if you are a good fit for that contracting gig at a local startup.
You Better Werk – Tips for LinkedIn Success
Use these seven tips in addition to your regular social media routine to get that LinkedIn presence going for you. These are things that you can do in 5 minutes or less. Do them all at once for a power session or spread it out across the week to keep your profile getting noticed and top of mind in your network
- Request connections. This is a great thing to do when you are transitioning or thinking about transitioning. Make sure to connect to people you work with on a regular basis, or those who you just finished wrapping up a project with. By expanding your network one by one, you are increasing your reach by the hundreds. All of those people will now be able to share your expertise with those that they know, and associate with. You can set a daily goal (connect with 5 new people/send 5 requests a day) or a long term goal (hit the 500+ mark by year end). Both work well to keep you tapped in.
- Write a recommendation for someone. This is a quick note that you can post on someone else’s profile acknowledging how awesome they are to work with. Think of it as a quick synopsis of the reference call you may have to make one day, but instead it lives evergreen on the interwebs. Need help on writing a great recommendation? Subscribe to this website as that’s post is coming soon.
- Ask for recommendations. This is easy. Go through the last few firms you have worked for, and request others to write a recommendation for you. You can find this on your profile page in the “Recommendations” tile. In the top right hand corner there will be a hyperlink to “Ask for recommendations”. It will auto-populate names from people in your network as you start to search for them, and then you can choose the organization and relationships before hitting send. LinkedIn provides a template request message, or you can customize it to make it more friendly.
- Send congrats messages. LinkedIn does a great job of notifying you when people in your network have birthdays, work anniversaries, or start new roles. The easiest way to stay somewhat present on the platform, is to check your notifications and then hit the “like” or send a quick Congrats message. Again, the platform auto-populates a standard “happy birthday” or “congrats on the new job” message, to make this easy. Again, don’t be afraid to go for extra credit, and customize these to increase the likelihood of a response. Ask a question like “What are you doing now?” or “this is exciting. Would you like to catch up for a coffee sometime?”
- Keep your eyes open when people want to connect with you. Depending on where you work, your title, your social/ethnic affiliations or who you know, you may find that people you don’t know and have never worked with will want to connect with you on LinkedIn. The platform itself frowns upon this sort of connection. Ideally everyone in your network is someone you have interfaced with in real life. You can’t vouch for someone’s work ethic without working with them at some point. So what do you do when a rando wants to connect with you? Answer: Tell them you are so glad they reached out and ask them how you can help. This is a really easy way to determine if someone is trying to sell you something, or genuinely is looking for mutually beneficial connections. I have met some great people this way, often messaging back and forth until we can set up a phone call or a coffee date to explore opportunities. If they respond with a template sales pitch, I usually unLink them and move on. Best way to keep my network clean and spam free. But by actively engaging in new connections, you are expanding your network in a way that would not be possible nearly as quickly with in person networking events.
- Contribute original content. Now I know what you’re thinking: Marie, that’s gonna take me more than five minutes. But wait, if you are a blogger or have an online presence where you are already writing and producing original content, this is truly a copy and paste situation. Take your existing content and post in the LinkedIn platform as an article. Change the banner, edit the headings, and drop quotes and voila! Original content that is primed for a business oriented audience. Do it frequent enough and people will start to notice you for your expertise. Still not convinced? Make sure to hyperlink back to your website/business page at the top and bottom of the repost. Interested readers will note know where else they can find you (ahem, drive traffic to your other ventures).
- Read the Daily Rundown. This is my little secret so don’t go telling e’rybody. LinkedIn has a daily newsletter rife with hyperlinks to all the news that’s trending in career and work. There’s one for the US, UK and India so it keeps it relevant. And everyday there is a ton of current material that you can read, repost, and quote for your own profile. Follow them on LI and then you get notified when it is published. This is a great way to always look on top of it without having to read all the trade publications on a regular basis. Use what you like and toss the rest. It even tells you what hashtags to use for specific topics of the day. I read this when I am walking to the train and can have 2-3 posts out to the world before getting to the turnstyle. Depending on how generic it is, I can use it to post content to my company FB page as well. (Like I said, don’t go telling everybody bout this one).
What other questions do you have about using LinkedIn? Post a question in the comments below. Subscribe to the newsletter for info about courses and web tutorials on using LinkedIn..