LinkedIn – an Underused Resource
Bottom line (may I start with the bottom line . . ?): you need to be on LinkedIn, because your clients, members, colleagues and peers are there. And not only do you need to keep up with them, your profile has got to be better than theirs.
How can you achieve that?
It starts with having a recent, professional head shot. “Recent” means not more than two years old. Remember that conference you went to last year, and you did not recognize the speaker when he mounted the platform? That’s because his picture in the program was taken 12 years ago. Maybe in an earlier era, in our youth-obsessed culture, that was the thing to do. No longer. Authenticity rules, and that includes that you and your picture must be the same person. A Social Media manager for a nationally known resort I interviewed a few months ago had a child’s picture on his LinkedIn profile. I assumed it was his son, but when I asked him about it, he said it was he, himself. His passport picture at age 6, he said, taken for his first trip abroad with his parents. He thought it was ‘entertaining’ to use this for his on-line profile. In places where whimsy rules, he might have been correct; for LinkedIn it was silly.
Your professionalism is further demonstrated by having your websites or blogs named. “My website”, “Company website”, “Personal website”, “Danny’s blog” are all indicative of an amateur at work. You are not an amateur; you are a professional, so show that.
When it comes to connections and recommendations, I have two simple rules: quality trumps quantity (in LinkedIn, that is; on other platforms, such as Facebook, that is not necessarily the case) and at least 10% of your connections should be willing to write a recommendation for you.
According to Daniel H. Pink, in “A Whole New Mind”, one’s memory capacity allows for about 148 people each of us is able to remember. So, why do we need 500+ LinkedIn connections? And then have 3 recommendations? Personally, I would not hire such a person.
There is, as we all know, a great deal more to LinkedIn and its optimal use – groups, companies, answers and more – and I will come back to these in the future. For now, do this:
Make an appointment with yourself to take a look at your LinkedIn profile later today, tomorrow, certainly not later than next week. If necessary, get a new head shot made by your favorite photographer (not your spouse or neighbor!), make sure the entries in the “websites” box are appropriately named, e.g. IBM, Boeing, Vistage NewYork (and the links are active!), and give some thought to your connections and recommendations. If you have “connections” who are not doing you any good, delete them (they’ll never know . . . .).
Lya Sorano is CEO of The Oliver/Sorano Group, Inc., a 30-year old business consulting firm that specializes in marketing, public relations and Social Media strategies, with special expertise in LinkedIn optimization. She may be contacted via her web site, www.lyasorano.com