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Linked What?

If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn, then you have really been missing out. In a nutshell LinkedIn is a business networking website, similar to Facebook but for business connections. It is also one of the most valuable online tools for boosting your business; hence it is worth spending the time to ensure you get the most of your LinkedIn account. More and more individuals and businesses are using LinkedIn to reach out to potential customers, employees, employers and suppliers everyday, so if you don’t have an account then it should become a high priority to get one.

Top Tips For Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn

Many of these steps may seem obvious, especially if you are an experienced online networker. However others are simply, small things that will really make a big difference to the number and quality of connections you can generate, for your business. Part One of this two part article focuses on how to build a strong profile on LinkedIn, which maximises your networking potential and ensures you and your business present the best image possible to potential clients and suppliers.

Top Tips for Building A Strong LinkedIn Profile

1. Complete Your Profile

It is amazing how many people get their LinkedIn accounts and don’t spend the time to complete their profile. An uncompleted profile means that you will turn up less often in searches and that people will not get as much information about your and your company as you might like. Make sure you fill in all the areas of the profile including work history (giving a good summary of each position you have worked), key skills, current position, contact details (very important), educational background and a good profile picture. Make sure you link your twitter account, blog and website if you have them so that updates can be made across all your digital media easily. Think of LinkedIn as your online CV for yourself and your company. The more information you have up there the more likely people are to connect with you.

2. Write A Really Good Summary

This should also read, “write a really good headline”. Your summary should be your elevator pitch as to what you and your business do and offer. Make sure to list your key skills and areas of expertise, not just in the body of the text but also in list form at the end, so that when people search for those terms, your name will come up. Another trick is to make sure your title contains your speciality, many people use #keyskill after their title to increase the number of hits they get on their page and in the searches.

3. Invite All Your Business Contacts

This again seems obvious but many people do not do this. LinkedIn has the option to import your contacts from your address book / email provider and then will search to see who is already on LinkedIn. You then can send contact requests or requests to join LinkedIn. Inviting people you know and know your business is essential for building your network, as then you will not only have their updates and profile, but access to all of their contacts as well, which is useful for networking and generating new business.

4. Link To Relevant Skill Keywords –and get them endorsed

When you edit your profile you have the option to add relevant skill keywords to your profile. While you can add quite a lot, it is a good idea to think hard about the most relevant ones to your business. By adding these keywords potential contacts can see, at a glance, what your core skills are and you will appear more often in searches around these skills. You can also get other contacts to endorse your skills, further boosting your reputation.

5. Add Links To Your LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn has the ability to allow you to add various links to your profile. These include links to your blog, Twitter account, Facebook and website. Once you add these links your profile page can often drive traffic to your other pages and help you grow your business. Another helpful feature is that your can tweak the settings so anything your post to LinkedIn can be sent to your Twitter and Facebook accounts and vice versa (only the first 140 characters for Twitter), making managing your business social network much easier.
Another thing many people forget is, to add links from their other sites to their LinkedIn Profile. A good idea is to add a link to your email signature so that people you are already in contact with can go and see your LinkedIn profile. Other areas you should consider adding links to, are your business’ Facebook page, website and Twitter accounts. Remember you can also set up a dedicated LinkedIn page for your business with links to your website etc as well.

6. Post Regular Updates

Online networking is all about maintaining regular contact and interest. The more often you post status updates, the higher you appear in Google (yes your LinkedIn account is searchable by Google and often you will be found this way), and LinkedIn searches. It also increases your credibility and engages your clientele, so they know it is worth continuing following you and reminds them of your existence in their update page.
In summary, it is essential to build a really strong profile on LinkedIn as it is one of the best free tools available to network and build your business. A little effort at the beginning to ensure you have a clear, easily findable and well-linked profile can make a big difference later on. In Part Two we will look the best tips for using your LinkedIn profile to maximise your networking capabilities.