This isn’t a comprehensive guide to EVERYTHING on Linkedin – but should cover the main points to help you get started!
Firstly – what are you using it for?
When using LinkedIn it is important to consider the goals you have for this networking channel, e.g.
- to grow relationships with your current and past contacts
- to learn from knowledge leaders and follow industry trends
- to get introductions and build connections with new business contacts
- to grow brand awareness of yourself or your business
- to grow and extend the network into new markets
- to increase visibility in search engines
Your objectives should influence how you interact with Linkedin, and also how you write your content and create your profile. If you want people to find you when searching on Linkedin – what would you like to be found for? Identify the keywords that describe what you do, so you can build them into your profile. If you’re new to Linkedin, you might want to look at the profiles of other senior figures in your industry to see what they have done. Then write your own profile – it must be personal to you.
Whilst editing your profile, turn off broadcast settings so your connections do not see each change you make to your profile. Click on your name > Settings > Privacy control > Turn on/off activity broadcast. When you’ve finished updating your profile, turn broadcast settings back on.
Select who can see your activity feed – unless you have a good reason not to, set this to “everyone”.
Completing your profile (profile / edit profile)
This is usually just your name, although you could add something after it to differentiate yourself from other people with the same name and make it instantly recognisable.
Create an engaging headline that describes what you do in brief, descriptive keywords so other LinkedIn users can find you. There is a 120 character limit, so be clear and concise.
e.g. ✰ Internet Marketing Specialist ✰If you want to use online marketing to promote and grow your business, talk to me!
Note: You can use symbols to make things stand out – e.g. the ✰ in my headline above. Just find a symbol you like, copy and paste it in.
First impressions are important, and people do want to see what you look like! Upload a good photo that looks professional.
Contact info / Website links
You can add up to 3 website links here and it’s possible to edit the links creatively
- Click Edit Contact Info near the bottom right of the profile overview section.
- Click the pencil icon next to Websites.
- Choose the type of website from the dropdown list.
- Note: If you choose Other from the list, you can type in your own website title.
- Copy and paste your website address or a link to a specific page on your site into the URL field.
- Click Save.
e.g. on my profile I have:
Websites that work – links to www.wsibestnetsites.com (home page)
Search Marketing Derby – links to www.wsibestnetsites.com/search-engine-marketing.aspx
Internet Marketing Healthcheck – links to www.wsibestnetsites.com/healthcheck.aspx
If you use Twitter, you can include a Twitter link here as a contact reference but it’s better not to include your Twitter feed into LinkedIn. Twitter and LinkedIn are very different networks and it’s not ideal to have every Tweet displayed on LinkedIn.
The “Summary” section appears under your profile details, so use this to describe who you are and what makes you interesting. Make sure it’s personal, i.e. about you – not a job description. Instead of writing out full paragraphs, you can use a wide variety of relevant keywords in bullet-pointed lists, to make things stand out more. You can make this pretty much as long as you like (2000 character limit).
Add details of your current position and at least two past positions with descriptions of your role that include keywords. Again, write these in the first person, i.e. what you did in that role – not a job description. What you’re doing here is a bit like writing a cv – describe your past positions honestly but relate what you did to what you want to be known for now.
Skills and Expertise
You can add up to 40 of these.
e.g. Search Engine Optimisation, Online Marketing Analysis, Small Business Online Marketing, PPC, Search Engine Ranking, Web Design, Public Speaking
As you start to type in the box, you’ll see suggestions for popular areas; you can select from these or carry on typing and create your own phrase. It’s good to use popular ones as far as they fit though – because people are interested in people with those skills. Also see the comments about endorsements below.
Get Your Profile to 100%
Complete every single section, and use LinkedIn’s help to guide your profile to completion.
Company Name: 100 maximum characters.
Professional Headline: 120 character limit.
Summary: 2,000 character limit.
Specialties: 500 maximum characters.
Website Anchor Text: 30 maximum characters.
Website URL: 256 maximum characters.
Position Title: 100 characters.
Position Description: 200 minimum and 2000 maximum characters.
Interests: 1,000 Characters
Phone number: 25 character limit (Viewable only to 1st degree connections if populated).
(Instant message): 25 character limit (Viewable only to 1st degree connections if populated).
Address: 1000 character limit (Viewable only to 1st degree connections if populated).
Skills: You may add up to 40 skills
LinkedIn Status Update: (more about this later) You can use up to 700 characters unless you want to update your Twitter status at the same time. Twitter® updates are limited to 140 characters. If you go over the 140-character limit, only the first 140 characters will be visible on Twitter.
How to Connect with Linkedin members
Start with people you know very well – send them an invitation to connect. Linkedin provides a standard message for this, but we recommend personalising it for each invitation. You can send invitations by:
- Clicking on a member’s profile and clicking connect
- Go to the add connections page and invite people using their email address
- As your network builds, Linkedin will suggest “people you may know”
It can be hard to get recommendations for your profile and often it is best to give recommendations first – good practice too, so you know how it works. LinkedIn requires 3 recommendations to mark your profile as 100% complete.
You can only recommend your first degree connections on LinkedIn. To recommend someone, you go to their profile page and from the drop down box “send a message” choose Recommend.
Alternatively, go to profile > recommendations, click sent recommendations and scroll down to the make a recommendation section. You can select someone from your connections list or, to recommend someone who isn’t a connection, enter their first name, last name and email address.
When someone gives you a recommendation, you will have the opportunity to review and approve it before it appears on your profile.
There are differing opinions on the value of these – they’re so easy to give, how much value do they really have? You don’t need to ask for a skill endorsement to receive one. It’s generally agreed that you shouldn’t actively try to trade them (e.g. I’ll endorse you if you endorse me…). But if you give someone an endorsement, they will be notified, so they may well give you one in return.
Endorsements do influence the appearance of your profile – if you don’t have many and your competitors do, the fact is, you don’t look as good as them (to some people anyway!). While endorsements currently carry little weight in how well your profile ranks on Google or in LinkedIn search results, the expectation is that this may change in the future.
If someone does endorse you, why not send them a message – particularly if it’s someone you haven’t seen or communicated with for a while. You could also endorse them back – but only if you mean it!
There are two types of skills for which you can be endorsed. The first are those that you have chosen to add to your profile (Skills and expertise, above). The second are related skills that LinkedIn thinks you might have, based on the skills you’ve identified.
How to give an endorsement
- You can only endorse people who are a direct (1st degree) connection of yours on LinkedIn. This prevents people you don’t know from making endorsements.
- You endorse a connection for each skill/expertise individually.
How to endorse someone for a skill listed on their profile:
Scroll down to the Skills & Expertise section of a connection’s profile. It will look like this.
For a skill you see listed that you want to endorse a person for, move your mouse over the skill and click on it. A + symbol will appear next to the skill/expertise and the block will flash “Endorsed”. Your photo will then appear as someone endorsing the person for that skill/expertise. The number shows the total number of people who have endorsed the person for a particular skill/expertise.
Choose another skill or skills you want to endorse the person for and go through the same process.
Endorsements: Something to watch out for
You may find that, when you login to Linked in, Linkedin suggests that you might like to endorse some of your contacts, by showing you a box like this
If you click “endorse” you are endorsing them for each of the listed skills – that may not be what you want to do, so you can click on the “X” next to a skill/expertise to remove it. You can also type in a skill or expertise that your connection has not listed for themselves, in which case your connection will have to approve the endorsement before tit appears on their profile. That’s a helpful way for each individual to protect their reputation and positioning for what they want to be recognized for.
TIP: If you really want to recommend someone, then endorse them for their specific skills/expertise and write a recommendation for them that will appear on their LinkedIn profile.
Edit your public URL to match your name. This will also help with Google search. Don’t forget your name is your personal brand.
You can customize your public profile URL when you edit your public profile from the Settings page. Custom public profile URLs are available on a first come, first served basis.
- Go to Settings and click “Edit your public profile”.
- In the “Your public profile URL” box on the right, click the “Customize your public profile URL” link.
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click Set Custom URL.
Note: Your custom URL must contain between 5 – 30 letters or numbers (no spaces, symbols, or special characters).
The most obvious choice is to use the name you’re normally known by. Example: www.linkedin.com/in/maureenwright
However these URLs are unique, so it’s possible that your name might be taken. Here are some other options you might consider:
- Use a middle initial
- Use the suffix: “onLinkedIn”
- Use your business name but bear in mind that if you leave the company you will need to change it and may need to create a new profile
- Use a descriptive term, e.g. maureenwrightinternetmarketing
- Use a number e.g. maureenwright99
Getting active on Linkedin
Complete the “Groups” and “Interests” sections so users may see the groups that interest you and also what interests you share.
Joining and participating in relevant groups won’t just expand your network, but it can improve your profile’s optimisation. Since the group names appear on your profile, search engines have no choice but to crawl the titles and learn more about who you are and what you do. Not only will industry-relevant groups improve the keywords on your profile, but local groups can help with geo-targeted Search Optimisation.
Expand your network by searching your email contacts. Plus, it’s the perfect platform for connecting with colleagues but still maintaining a semblance of work-life separation on social media.
Put a link to your LinkedIn profile on your email footer and business card.
Share interesting valuable content with your network of contacts to build that network and be seen as an influence and knowledge leader in your area of expertise.
Your status update “block” is a white box located just below your picture on your “View My Profile” page. If you don’t see such a block, then you’ve not yet posted a status update.
From your LinkedIn home page or your “View My Profile” page, you can change your status update as frequently as you desire. EVERY time you update your status, the home page of ALL of your network connections is “pinged” with your status update. Status updates are also distributed to your network via email when LinkedIn sends you your weekly “Network Update.” Your latest status update is always displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
The general guidance is to post a status update at least once a day. That might sound like a challenge, but if you’re logging into linkedin daily to see what your contacts have posted, it should only take a couple of minutes to post something yourself. Here are some ideas for network updates:
- If you’ve written a blog or an article yourself, or if you’ve read and liked someone else’s article, write a short, engaging summary and link to it.
- Mention what you’re working on. One of the best status updates is a simple mention of the most interesting thing you’ll be working on each day. Over time, mentioning different aspects of your work will help your connections understand how you can be a resource to them.
- Share advice/opinion. You have expertise to share—why not summarize it and share it? Even if you think it’s simplistic, there’s probably someone out there who would benefit from your knowledge.
- Ask questions. A question mark is the only punctuation mark that demands feedback. Phrasing your status in the form of a question is a great way to engage your audience, tap into their expertise, and show them you care about their opinion.
- Mention events you’re part of. There’s also a halo effect associated with examples that show you’re investing in improving yourself or interested in connecting with others.
- Share job opportunities. Is your company hiring? Why not inform those you trust first? And don’t just limit this to jobs with your employer: help your contacts find talent, and help job seekers, by promoting others’ job postings. It’s a great way to be a resource to those in your network.
How do you use Linkedin? Please post any comments or questions below.
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