In the race to see who will own social media, LinkedIn can if nothing else claim to be the first to publicly sell out. But there’s more to business networking than an opportunity for Reid Hoffman to join the ranks of the über-rich. Savvy business people increasingly see LinkedIn as a critical place to find new employees, recognize existing ones, troll for sales prospects, and build their own digital brand. Here are some tricks you can tap to buff up your own LinkedIn profile:
- Create a custom URL. This helps your profile rank more highly in Google and LinkedIn search results, according to LinkedIn spokesperson Erin O’Harra. “And it’ll be a lot prettier to put on a business card,” she adds. Click the “Edit” hyperlink at the bottom of your blue profile box next to “Public Profile” and your current URL. On the next page, click “Customize your public profile URL” and type in your preferred URL. Try “firstnamelastname” and if that doesn’t work, “lastnamefirstname.”
- Strut your smarts (and tap other people’s) via Answers. This is under the “More” toolbar button. You can ask any question you want, or answer someone else’s. After a week, the questioner tags the best answer. If you give the best answer, you get a badge on your profile that calls attention to your expertise. O’Harra says participating in Answers is a way to clients, partners or others looking for a specific skill. “By answering a question, that may open the door to a new relationship,” she says.