With more than 85 million users and “a new member being added every second,” LinkedIn is often regarded as the premier social networking site for business professionals. Companies also see LinkedIn as a valuable place to promote their products and services.
Let’s explore LinkedIn together and see if you can identify new ways to enhance your user experience by considering the topics discussed below. As I’ve done in the companion pieces to this post, 26 Twitter Tips and 26 Facebook Tips, I’ll introduce LinkedIn Tips from A-Z.
These tips will reference both personal and company perspectives. But before we get started, let’s go over a couple of LinkedIn basics—who’s on LinkedIn, creating your LinkedIn profile and developing your list of LinkedIn connections.
Who’s on LinkedIn?To put it simply, everyone; full- and part-time employees, contractors, freelancers and key decision-makers from any given industry or company can be found on LinkedIn.
Creating Your LinkedIn ProfileIf you’re just getting started on LinkedIn, you’ll want to strive for 100% completeness on your personal profile by adding your current position, at least two past positions, information about your education, a summary of your background/experiences, a profile photo, details about your specialties and at least three recommendations. And if you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while, think about profile changes you can make to further demonstrate who you are and what you have to offer.
Developing Your List of LinkedIn ConnectionsYou can grow your list of LinkedIn connections through webmail contacts (email contacts who are already on LinkedIn), colleagues and classmates, and through networking on LinkedIn groups.
Your connections are what make LinkedIn work for you, so taking the time to expand your reach is time well spent. A unique perspective on connections is offered by Stephanie Sammons in her post, How Connecting Your Connections to Connect with One Another Will Help Elevate Your Social Status.
LinkedIn Tips From A-Z
#1: ApplicationsAs LinkedIn suggests, you can add third-party applications to “enrich your profile, share and collaborate with your network, and get the key insights that help you be more effective.” There are currently 19 applications to choose from. Depending on what you want to highlight, you can give a good example of your specialties, areas of interest, and work samples.
For example, on my LinkedIn profile I’m currently using Reading List by Amazon, Blog Link and the new Publications feature. You can have a total of 15 modules and/or applications on your profile. A message bar will appear at the top of the page if you need to remove an application prior to adding another.
#2: Blog LinksYou can bring your blog posts into LinkedIn with applications such as Blog Link or WordPress LinkedIn. It’s a powerful way to engage your connections with material you’ve written and if they hadn’t already been visiting your blog on a regular basis, your posts will make it in front of their eyes when they receive their LinkedIn updates.
#3: Company PagesLinkedIn has offered company profiles since 2008 and last month the profiles were upgraded to “Company Pages.” Companies can now showcase significantly more about their business. With the new Products and Services tab, companies are able to feature products and services with descriptive overviews. Videos can also be embedded on the page, one per product or service. At this time, you can only upload videos from YouTube, although LinkedIn expects that to change in the near future.
“Since the Company Page roll-out, 20,000 companies are sharing over 40,000 products. Companies of all sizes and industries are using Company Pages,” said Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s director of product management. When a LinkedIn member recommends a company’s product, they share the recommendation with all of their connections.
Ryan spoke about the power of recommendations for businesses, and referred to the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, in which Nielsen found that recommendations from personal acquaintances or opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising. Ninety percent of consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.
#4: Direct Ad CampaignsLinkedIn Direct Ads allow you to target ads by industry, company, geography, job function, seniority, gender and age. Ads can appear as a media box, banner ad or text hyperlink. Ads are pay-per-click or by impressions and can be stopped at any time.
#5: EventsWith the LinkedIn Events application, you can browse by event type, topic, location and add your own event for users to find, promote and attend. Coree Silvera has a helpful post, Promote Your Event by Using LinkedIn Event Application. As she suggests, you can share with your contacts and also purchase paid advertising options targeting a specific audience on LinkedIn. This would entail going outside your own network of connections using advertising methods such as CPC (cost-per-click), CPI (cost-per-impression) or text ads.
You can also follow LinkedIn events on Twitter.
#6: Follow CompaniesCompany follows make it possible for you to keep your eye on key events happening at companies you’re interested in. You’ll see information regarding new jobs, new hires and promotions, what it’s like to work there via employee testimonials and how to contact a recruiter.
#7: GroupsLinkedIn Groups are a great way to stay on top of topics of interest to you and to network with others in your field. You can see who was most influential in the group the past week and follow their activities on LinkedIn. To find groups, go to LinkedIn Groups Directory.
LinkedIn has restrictions about whom you can reach out to with a free account. The person has to have been a colleague, classmate, someone you’ve done business with or a friend. One of the best bonus features of Groups is that you can send InMail to group members without having to upgrade to a premium account.
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