Making the Most of LinkedIn
I recently had a friend and small business owner ask me about LinkedIn and though my knee-jerk answer was the same one I use with my husband, we continued our conversation and I explained it as follows:
LinkedIn is an opportunity for business professionals to connect with their peers on a professional level. It’s sometimes used by headhunters and job seekers, but it really is more about connecting and less about recruiting. Facebook Business Pages is an opportunity for a small business to connect with and reach out to their customers, so many articles you would post on your Facebook Business Page could also be posted on LinkedIn. But keep in mind you are not selling on LinkedIn, so any sales-ey posts should be kept away from this social media platform.
I offer 5 quick tips for small business when it comes to LinkedIn (and yes, this applies to authors too):
1) Make sure your profile is complete – this is your chance to tell your story. Use what you have on your resume, but then add some more. There is no rule on LinkedIn about keeping your profile short and sweet. Go ahead and include as much about yourself as you feel comfortable. This will help LinkedIn make suggestions and connect you with groups with similar interests and backgrounds.
2) Look in the mirror – not really (lol) – but make sure your profile is an accurate reflection of who you are professionally. When I first started on LinkedIn, I used a head shot that was very professional and serious looking but the words I used to describe myself indicated I thought outside of the box and was creative, artsy, and fun. A dear friend pointed out that my picture should be updated to really reflect who I am.
3) Find a second set of eyes – we all have friends and/or family. Have someone else take a look at your profile to make sure there are no serious mistakes. If you own a small business, make sure you’ve included information about your business and that it matches what you have on your business website, Facebook Business Page, etc. Be consistent with your branding and marketing.
4) Get connected! – don’t be shy about connecting with people. This is your chance to connect with those in your community as well as those who have similar professions who may live on different continents. If you read a great article in Forbes Magazine and you feel you want to read more article by a particular author, go ahead and look them up on LinkedIn. Send them a request to connect and add a personal note telling them you enjoyed their article. It is unlikely they will turn down your request (as long as you are sincere).
5) Stay Busy! – I don’t want to be connected to someone who hasn’t posted anything in 3 years. Bring value to your professional network by sharing things of value. It’s great if you wrote the article about attracting and retaining a top notch work force, but you can still bring value to your connections by sharing the article someone else has taken the time to write. I suggest posting or sharing something 3-5 times each week. Try to avoid sharing articles you disagree with. Those type of shares may give you a reputation for being a ‘negative nelly’. Share value added articles and say a few words about why you felt the article was worth sharing.
If you’re already on LinkedIn, pop over and say hello or connect with me.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn yet, what’s holding you back? If you’re there, what do you like most?
Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 7, Breccan 2, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.
You can find Crystal riding unicorns, blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/ and here: http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/