Is 2015 going to be the year of LinkedIn? It's certainly looking that way from where I'm sitting.
With 300 million members, this social network has enjoyed plenty of success to date - but I'm hearing more and more people saying they've created accounts but they really don't know how to use it.
There's so much more to LinkedIn than just creating your CV online. Your personal profile is an important opportunity to make a great first impression, not just on LinkedIn but across the internet as a completed profile will be one of the first results returned when people 'Google' your name.
What makes a good personal profile on LinkedIn?
I recommend avoiding overused 'buzzwords' such a 'motivated', 'passionate' and 'creative' in your summary and the experience section of your profile. Instead think about who you want to reach and influence on LinkedIn. Do you want to reach new clients, business partners or recruits? What do they need to know about you; what problems can you solve and how can you add value? LinkedIn allows you to upload or link to examples of your work, videos, blog posts, presentations, images which really help to tell your professional story.
Customising the URL for your personal profile makes it easier for you to be found in search results and it looks more professional than the default list of letters and numbers that LinkedIn tags on to your name.
The headline for your personal profile will default to your current job title, but you can edit this in to something more meaningful for your target audience, and include the keywords for which you want to be found.
How to use LinkedIn to raise your profile in your industry or sector
By writing articles on LinkedIn's own publishing platform, Pulse, and also by commenting on articles created by others, you can establish yourself as a thought leader, build relationships and reach out to new, useful connections. Think carefully about the headline and cover picture for your article to attract readers. Articles you create will sit on your personal profile - another useful way of demonstrating your skills, knowledge and ideas.
Look for relevant LinkedIn groups and pages where you can extend your network, offer advice to others and build relationships. Be generous in your support of your connections and look for opportunities to show your company's vision and values.
Many businesses can benefit from having a company page on LinkedIn which can show job candidates why your business is a great place to work. Your existing employees can be important ambassadors to spread the word to their own networks when you add new updates to your company page. Ensure all employees and partners have included your firm in the experience section of their personal profiles. This automatically makes them followers of your company page and pulls your logo into their profiles.
I'll be covering these points and lots more concerning making quality connections on LinkedIn, ways to contact them, privacy and confidentiality, personalising your home page and keeping tabs on your rivals and what's new in your industry at workshops, training sessions and one-to-one coaching in the coming weeks,
If you're interested in training or coaching tailored to your business needs, contact me here for a chat about any help you need with writing you profile and creating articles, groups and company pages.