Why Is LinkedIn A Must-Use Tool?

Why is LinkedIn so important these days? As professionals or business owners, connections are key to our success.

Keeping up with our connections, both business and personal, are so important and I think even more difficult to do these days. There are so many online opportunities to connect that it is overwhelming.

In addition to that, the question may be, do we really get enough face time with our connections to make these relationships deeper? In all honesty, we all need both, online and offline connections to make a difference in our businesses or job searches.

For today, let’s focus on the online tools. We can discuss offline at other time.

When it comes to the online world, you need to be picky about which tools you spend your time on. Be as picky as what your weekend plans will be. Choose a tool that will give you the biggest bang for the time. Social media tools can be total time sucks, if we allow them to be.

In many ways we reconnect, and can now stay connected, with individuals that we would have never connected with 20 or even 10 years ago. These online tools connect us with other professionals who can promote our companies and consumers who can buy our products or services.

I am very picky about where I spend my time online and off. I have two school aged children and a husband with a very intense work schedule. I am a business owner that loves what I do and could do it all the time. I love my community and could volunteer in many areas. I am blessed with many options but with those options comes decisions.

Where do I spend my time?

In my humble opinion, for online connection tools, LinkedIn is near the top. It is a place to find and be found.

I tell all my clients if they are not on LinkedIn, they have to be and now. I work with young to mid-level professionals who are in a career transition or tactical job search. Even if they still have no idea of their job target I tell them to get on it and begin a profile today. I work with them to fine tune that profile. I give the same advice to fellow business owners or really anyone who provides a product or service.

There really are few audiences I think LinkedIn could not help.

So what does it take to get a good profile up on LinkedIn and searchable?

The key is searchable and content rich.

More and more individuals and recruiters are searching LinkedIn for future employees, providers, and partners. As job postings shrink more corporate recruiters are scouring LinkedIn for the right people.

There are a million, or it seems like that many, of articles telling you what mistakes to avoid etc. I agree with much of it. But let’s focus on getting started and the most important pieces to begin with.

1. Your Profile

Complete it. Be sure to look at it from the perspective of, “How am I presenting myself to others?” Always keep in mind the value proposition you bring. Ensure the readers know who you are and what you are all about professionally.

2. Professional Headline

Know what it is and use it to your advantage. The professional headline is the field below your name. This field is longer than you think. Most individuals enter a simple job title but this, many times, is not descriptive enough.

This field is shown whenever another user mouses over your photo. Your name and professional headline show in a pop-up. In some parts of LinkedIn, the pop-up has your name, professional headline, geographic area, and current job title.

3. Website Link

Change the “My Website / My Company” links to be specific. You can edit these fields within your profile. When you edit, use the option of “other” then enter the text you want to display on your profile.

I suggest entering the name of your company and have it link to the part of the website you want people to go to. I have my link going to the home page of my website. It is the best place for people to start and to discover more about my business and what I specialize in.

4. Make Your Profile Public

In the privacy settings, be sure to set your profile to public. It makes it much easier for people to find you and utilize your services or reach out to you for a job opportunity. The more you allow people to view your profile the more likely you will be contacted.

Also be sure to change the default URL of your profile to your name. This is a great tool when you add a link to your profile on marketing documents.

5. Status Updates And Tweets

Once you are up and going on LinkedIn be sure to utilize the status updates.

Promote your business, articles you have written, an event you are attending or presenting at, etc. If you are not posting status updates somewhat regularly you will be viewed as an inactive LinkedIn member. Not good. But on the other hand, posting all your Tweets or doing daily updates is over-kill. The rule of thumb here is, keep it professional and balanced.

6. Recommendations

Do not be afraid to ask for and give recommendations. They build your credibility. An easy way of breaking into this area is to be generous yourself. Give a few authentic recommendations for your colleagues.  Many times the favor is quickly and easily returned.

There you have it, six quick ways to get yourself up and utilizing LinkedIn as a business building or job attraction tool. Make it a regular practice to get on LinkedIn as least once a week for an hour. Stay active and continue to build your network. You will be glad you put in the time.

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