LinkedIn is a great tool. Whether you’re a self-employed consultant or employed in a larger organization, LinkedIn can greatly improve your working life.
As a self-employed consultant, LinkedIn will get you noticed by people who need your services if you do it right. This can directly drive business your way. In this case you will have the opportunity to share your successes and showcase your products, services, skills and differentiators.
If you are employed at a larger company, using LinkedIn correctly can do two major things for you. It can improve your chances of being sought out as a prospect for new career opportunities. It can also expand your network, and others’ awareness of your work. That last point can enable you to get more done, since many projects and initiatives require third-party participation.
Include the Right Photo
You should very definitely include a good photo of yourself in your LinkedIn profile. It has been found over and over again that LinkedIn users pay little or no attention to profiles without a photo — no matter how great the text might be. The photo does not have to show you in an office setting, wearing a suit. In fact, such a shot can create a cold vibe — not what you intended at all. Remember the old rule: people don’t buy products; people buy people. The photo you choose should look relaxed and natural, and it should be a high-quality shot, of course.
Joining groups on LinkedIn can serve several different purposes. Some will give you the opportunity to participate in industry-relevant discussions. Provided your comments and contributions are smart and well-presented, this gives you valuable exposure and opportunities to make valuable additions to your network. It can also help you spot trends, and it’s a good source of inspiration for starting new discussions, for blog posts, etc. — ahead of your competitors. Some groups can help you find new talent within your industry, for potential additions to your network or even your own team. Other groups are more locally focused, and can help build your brand within your local community. Finally, in choosing which groups to join, remember that other users can see what groups you’re part of — so be strategic in your choices.
Share content that’s relevant for those whose attention you want to attract, whether they’re potential future employees or prospective business partners. You should also be sure to share success stories, successfully completed projects, new campaign or project launches and other good news. This builds an healthy image of energy, progress, success and accomplishment.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. They are excellent for building trust and confidence, and in showcasing your skills, competence, reliability, customer service, and other favorables. Be sure to ask for and feature specific recommendations that focus on the things you want to highlight. Any recommendation helps, but those that zero in on your signature products, services and differentiators are priceless.
Track the Effects
Use tools like Bit.ly to track clicks when you link to a third-party site, so you can monitor the effectiveness of your efforts. If you’re linking to your own website, you can use Google Analytics to track results. Google URL Builder is another tool, for monitoring the effect of each new update.
Remember to follow Slideshop.com on LinkedIn, to get news, tips, updates and offers for improving your presentations.