Top 5 To Do’s on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s IPO has brought a little more attention to this professional networking site powerhouse. Attention that is more than well deserved. If you’re anywhere near serious about building an online profile – personal/ professional or company – you need to be getting connected through this site.

Like most social networks, the more work you put into it, the greater the return. Well, almost. You don’t have to “live” there but there are a number of “To Do’s” that everyone should get done.

My top 5 LinkedIn To Do’s:

1.  Complete Your Profile:  Much more than a simple CV, your profile offers a quick overview as to your professional credibility. That blue profile completion bar – a little gaming feel – needs to be at 100% as soon as possible. The payoff happens once you get there. As LinkedIn is all about connections and recognition, so include anything that will help people recognize you. Yes, you’ve moved on from that old job and it’s just as likely that some of the people who knew you way back when have moved on too, you’ll want to connect with them. Include links for your website and link your blog directly into your profile. Don't forget to add in your Skills and Languages. Last but certainly not least – be sure to include a profile picture. No photo reduces your credibility to near zero. 

2.  Join Relevant Groups:  You MUST do this! Jump in and take part in them. There are groups for just about everything and if you can’t find one that fits your sector or niche, start your own. Regardless, groups are at the core of a successful LinkedIn experience – “IT” happens here. This is THE networking opportunity where you can shine – share and gain knowledge that is directly relevant to your business.

3.  Reply/Share and be friendly:  Like in the real world, generosity and politeness are the rules to follow – both pay off. In the virtual world answering messages are key; even those unsolicited ones require a polite “thanks for asking but no thanks” response. As tempting as it is to ignore people remember that they are connected as well. This is networking and politeness counts in the virtual world in the same way as it would at a conference or a cocktail event. Share your knowledge when asked –even with strangers. Nothing like seeing 3rd parties tweet about how generous you’ve been with your time.

4. Recommendations & applications: Demonstrate that you're worth my time and that you're an interesting person. There are many applications to add to your profile that make it more engaging – opening up doors for more connections. Connect your blog and twitter feed. There are plenty more options under the “More” menu, like Events which can be particularly useful – why not create a get-together for your local connections? Put up your most recent presentations using SlideShare or Google Presentations. The collaboration tools included there are great for working with team members who are offsite. And if you’re just starting to monitor what’s being said about your company across the social web, there’s an application there for that as well. More applications are being added all the time, so check them out frequently.

5.  Ask and Answer Questions: One of the real strengths of LinkedIn is the number of generous experts who will take the time to answer questions. It’s something that everyone can participate in – either asking or answering. It’s a great way to share your expertise and take a leadership position in your field. It opens you to new connections and opportunities. There’s nothing more generous than offering up your time and expertise.

Bonus To Do – Personalize your URL: In “Edit My Profile” mode, click on the “Edit” tab next to your URL. This will lets you to create a unique URL. Like this:

I’ve been an advocate of LinkedIn for a long time now, and so far, no one’s told me that it’s a waste of time. Thirty minutes every week should do the trick. It is an ongoing effort and it does require maintenance. If you’re patient and are willing to put in a little effort the rewards will come.

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