The Do’s and Don’ts on LinkedIn

linkedin-user

With over 500 million members and 260 million users logging in each month, LinkedIn is a dream come true for business to business marketers and job seekers. Delving further you find that half of Americans with a degree utilize LinkedIn with a whopping 45 percent of users in upper management. Yes, we’re talking about an opportunity to connect with the C-suite and even open conversations with these all-important decision makers. Did I just hear someone say cha-ching? There is one issue though, not everyone, in fact very few, use LinkedIn to its full capacity. Here’s what to do and not to do on this business-oriented social media powerhouse.

Do completely fill out your profile and include a professional image of yourself.

You may think “who gives a patootie about the college I attended in 1982” but that information could lead to a valuable connection. LinkedIn features different levels of profile strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All Star. Beginner is quite easy to achieve, just add a few details and voila you’ve hit LinkedIn’s first benchmark. The remaining levels take more work and we know you want to eventually become an All Star, right? Here are a few tips to make your profile complete with quality information that will earn you that top mark.

1.       Write a headline instead of just typing out a simple job description.

2.       Your profile picture should be high quality and professional.

3.       Don’t ignore the summary. Compose an attention-grabbing summary that will grip your connections right from the beginning.

4.       Complete all the education and work history sections.

5.       Take time to complete a full list of your skills and add them to your profile.

6.       Connect with others.

Don’t take 2 minutes to fill out your profile.

Copying and pasting some old information from your resume while ignoring pertinent material that could lead you to having an awesome LinkedIn experience is a no-no. Take your time filling out your profile because a well-thought out profile will shine above others. Use as much space as you need in your summary. We believe the summary might be the most important part of your profile so don’t skimp.  Don’t worry you won’t run out of room; you have 2,000 characters to wow your connections. An initial investment in time crafting a stellar summary and profile will pay big dividends over time. Trust us.

Do make plenty of connections.

Find others that share your interests and connect away. Under the “My Network” tab you’ll find recommendations from LinkedIn. Within this category you’ll also find “Groups,” “Companies” and “Hashtags.” Focus first on connecting with people. Don’t like LinkedIn’s recommendations? No problem. Look up the page and you’ll see the search window. Click it and you’ll view an option to search “People.” From here you can filter results using “Connections,” “Locations” and “Current Companies.” Need more filtering? Don’t worry LinkedIn has you covered again. Click “All Filters” and filter until your heart is content.

We have a rule with connections.  Connect with anyone you want. Let them decide if they want to accept your invitation. You have a limit of 3,000 invites so you have plenty of space to fill up your network. Have fun with it and don’t worry about offending anyone with an invite.

Don’t DM your new connections right away.

Like and comment on their posts and engage but don’t DM. Admit it, you hate when someone DMs you right away. The immediate sales pitch DM is beyond irritating. Impress your connections with your expertise not with some cheesy elevator pitch thinly veiled as a “thank you” for connecting message. Be patient and build relationships the right way on LinkedIn.

Do share company news and great images from events. Be original.

Original material is like gold on LinkedIn. Take pictures of your employees doing work, volunteering at a local charity or having a good time on a Friday afternoon. Let your connections know what’s going on in your company. News articles should be about your industry. Try to stay on topic because LinkedIn is not Facebook. Did you read that last sentence? Good.

Don’t treat LinkedIn like Facebook.

Check your kitten videos, inspirational quotes (quotes are just lazy), that Mr. T video where he talks about his old shoes and anything else you’d share on Facebook at LinkedIn’s door. A little personality is fine but remember, LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. Humor should be relatable to your industry. If you want to be inspirational, share an original story such as something you or an employee has overcome professionally. A video that has been passed around like a guacamole appetizer platter at a party is just boring. You and your company are interesting. Show your connections just how awesome you are.

Do publish articles.

Let your expertise muscles flex by sharing articles regarding your industry. Conjure up a snazzy, attention-grabbing headline and put on your thinking cap. Write a well-thought out article that is about 500 words long. Don’t go over 1000 words. This isn’t the place to pen your 10,000-word masterpiece. Next, add a header image (it should be 600 x 322 pixels but LinkedIn suggests allowing for a 20 pixel border so when the image is displayed on other devices it won’t look wonky. In other words, the most important part of your visuals should be included within a 580 x 302-pixel area). After you edit your article – better yet let someone else look at it— you are ready to publish. You are given the opportunity to target your audience with hashtags before the article goes live. Use a few pertinent hashtags and publish your piece. You can also share your post to other platforms, which is not a bad idea. This can provide more exposure to your LinkedIn profile across other social media sites.

Finally. Don’t be creepy

Jane is quite a knockout in her new profile picture, but you don’t have to share that opinion with her. LinkedIn is not Tinder. LinkedIn is not Bumble. LinkedIn is not OkCupid. LinkedIn is not a dating website so don’t treat it as such. Keep all your exchanges 100 percent professional. Here is a good way to gauge if you are on target. If it’s something you wouldn’t say with your mother present, then don’t say it. LinkedIn should be comfortable for all users.

Now you have a strong starting point to make LinkedIn the place where you can make amazing business connections. Connections that can yield outstanding results professionally and personally (not the creepy version of personally). Yes, we definitely heard someone say cha-ching.