Recently I had to pair down a LinkedIn class which was 2 hours long to less than an hour. Now considering that the full class was jammed full of information that I wouldn’t leave out, this was a task and a half. So I thought about what the most important things are from the perspective of someone who does not use it very often and would most likely need the crib notes. These would have to be the most important things to know and /or the handy-to-know things. So I pulled out my proverbial information scissors and shredded my class into the following bullets. Here are the 12 most important things to know about using your LinkedIn account.
- Make sure your profile is as close to 100% as possible- all pieces are equally important. Take the time to fill it out. Sometimes it is the 1st impression people have of you and what you leave out says volumes about how you handle your job and your customers.
- Research – You now have the ability to learn much more about a company including key contacts and changes than ever before. Bye-Bye gatekeeper!
- Connecting – By using LinkedIn you can connect with many people and grow your network. LinkedIn makes your connection paths clear.
- Endorsements – Give them to get them. Having other people endorse the skills on your profile is a verification that you aren’t just tooting your own horn
- Recommendations – Again, a testiment to your character, quality of work and good business management. Keep these updated at least once per year. Old recommendations leave questions in your potential clients minds.
- LinkedIn network map – great depiction of where you may have gaps in your network that may help you grow your business. You can find your own network map here: http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com/
- Activity Updates – This is a great way to stay on the top of the mind of your network and potential clients. If you are on top of their minds, when it comes time to buy your chances of being the person they call is much higher. Remember that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Twitter. You should keep your posts business related and to a minimum.
- Groups – A great way to interact with like-minded people and one of the key aspects of a complete profile. Consider starting a group but remember that groups must be purposeful, have a logo and an administrator to manage the group.
- LinkedIn Today – This is your network news stream and is is customizable to be exactly what you like to read about. You can subscribe to channels like you can with YouTube or you can follow what is trending in your network, identify which industries you want to see in your stream and how often you want updates. This is a great way to stay on top of what is happening in your world.
- LinkedIn Outlook Connector – This is an easy plug in for those who use MS Outlook that identifies which email recipients you are reaching out to who are and are not connected with you on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=microsoft_outlook
- Company Pages – A great way to feature your company, products, key contacts etc.
- Jobs – LinkedIn’s job section is a great way to find jobs. There is a search feature that allows you to find jobs in via many categories including state, company, job title etc. You can also post jobs on LinkedIn which is available as a feature of a premium account subscription.
So there you have it. The 12 key things to know about your LinkedIn account that should help you better navigate your profile and utilize the great tools within LinkedIn for networking success!