In Part One of my LinkedIn series I convinced you that LinkedIn is the one social network that you really need to be a part of. Now you’re ready to join and have maybe already signed up for an account. But being a part of LinkedIn means more than just signing up; it requires some degree of maintenance which some people may find overwhelming. To take away some of this “social anxiety” I’ve compiled five simple tips to help you maintain an effective LinkedIn presence:
- Include a picture: LinkedIn gives you the ability to include a picture on your profile. This is the number one thing you can do to add authenticity to your LinkedIn presence. Adding a picture to your profile helps your colleagues and other connections put a name to a face. When deciding on a picture a professional headshot is best. If you don’t have a headshot, choose something simple. Exclude other people and background distractions.
- Use a descriptive by-line: Under your name there is a by-line field. Some people put their job title here and some people include a broad explanation of their role or field. I suggest including both your job title and your company in this space. This allows people to quickly identify you and determine how you might be relevant to them.
- Update your profile often: Adding job responsibilities, skills, and achievements to your profile as you acquire them will guarantee that your profile is up to date. Updating as things happen will help you remember everything you have done and ensure that you are not scrambling for information when you need it. Additionally, frequent edits to your profile will keep you top-of-mind in your network.
- Connect with everyone you meet: While this may seem excessive at first, it is really the best way to build your online network. Right after you meet a new colleague, partner, or vendor use LinkedIn to connect right away. This will help them remember you and makes sure that you have a direct connection with them if you need it in the future.
- Recommendations and Endorsements – Give and you shall receive: LinkedIn provides a mechanism for its members to provide each other with recommendations and endorsements. An endorsement is a one-click recognition of someone’s skills and expertise, while a recommendation is a longer write-up of someone’s work and achievements. These recommendations and endorsements add value to your profile and legitimize the information you have written about yourself. Take the time to give them to other people in your network and hopefully people will take time to return the favor.
Maintaining a social media presence is not something that should make you stressed or anxious. Connecting with business contacts digitally should in fact make your life easier. If you follow these five tips you’ll not only look like a social media pro, but you’ll also start to reap the benefits of participating in a social network.