By Benji Hyam
Here’s the hard truth: You’re wasting your time on LinkedIn if you don’t know how to use it correctly. And if you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you might be missing out on what may be the largest professional network to ever exist.
With more than 90 million professionals already in its network, and one new person joining every second, LinkedIn is a vital resource in the small business community. Many companies are using LinkedIn as a recruiting tool to find new employees, and people in professional services industries are using Linkedin as a way to promote themselves and display their skill set and experience on their profile. In the midst of all of the clutter of professionals online, the question is: How do I separate myself from all of the competition on LinkedIn and drive more traffic to my page?
1. Take part in LinkedIn answers. If you weren’t aware, LinkedIn has its own Q&A section, where professionals can ask questions to the LinkedIn community. If you answer a question correctly, the person who asked the question has the ability to mark your answer as the “best answer.” If you start getting a lot of “best answers,” then you have the ability to become an expert on Linkedin. When you answer questions correctly, others will start to view you as a valuable resource in your field.
2. Update your Status. If you have a Twitter handle, link your Twitter account to your Linkedin profile so that anytime you Tweet it updates your status on LinkedIn. The benefit of doing this is increased visibility to your connections because your update will appear in your connections’ newsfeed. If you don’t have a Twitter account be sure to update your status regularly so that it has the same effect.
3. Participate in Groups. Participating in groups is a great way to network with the business community. Join groups in the same industry you are working in and participate in discussions to meet new people in your industry. Many people will ask questions to other professionals in their industry looking for help or someone to go to for advice on a certain subject. By contributing to discussions in groups you are likely to make new connections and draw more visibility to your profile.
4. Optimize your Profile with Keywords. It is important to fill your profile with keywords that pertain to your job title or industry because other individuals will be using the LinkedIn search function to find talent. For example, if you’re in public relations, even if your job title is account executive, your job title on LinkedIn should be “Account Executive / Public Relations” so that your profile is optimized for both someone who is searching for the account executive position or public relations. The goal is to be in the first page of the search function for your job title. By doing this, you will likely get more profile views than the rest of the professionals on LinkedIn.
Whether you are looking to hire or looking to become more visible to the hiring community, these simple steps will help increase your exposure to the Linkedin community. Send me any notes or comments you have about your LinkedIn success below so we can share them with our other small business owners.
Originally published: Sep 6, 2011