How and Why to Use LinkedIn
I recently had two different discussions with people in entirely different industries asking specifically about LinkedIn. One was simply asking about how to make LinkedIn more useful for them. The other person hadn’t joined LinkedIn but had received a number of requests. So – I thought it would be interesting to explain how I use it and get your feedback on how and why you use LinkedIn.
My general position is that LinkedIn is a great personal branding tool, and I also really like it as an always up to date rolodex (more on this below). I’d debate the efficacy of LinkedIn as an SEO / link tool, but it is definitely helpful from an online reputation management standpoint. Whether we’re talking about your personal online reputation or your company’s reputation. Full profiles with full names, company names, and links to company sites can help own that search results page, and it makes it easier to find you when someone wants to hire you for a job but lost track of your contact info.
I think like anything of these other tools, a little bit of maintenance goes a long way. I have a recurring appointment in my calendar where I actually set aside about a half hour a week to update Facebook and LinkedIn specifically.
When I meet people at networking events or new clients or whatever, I make a point of collecting their business cards simply so I can add them as LinkedIn contact. I used to add new contacts to my Outlook contacts and never talk to or hear from them again. Now – I get updates on what they’re up to or when they get a new job etc. and if I want to send them a message to congratulate them on that new job or to get together for lunch or whatever – I always have the right email address when I send the message via LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn specifically, here’s what I like to do:
- Maintain & build a full profile – keep it up to date
- Employed? Link to your company site
- Not employed? Link to your personal site or blog – or even your downloadable & printable resume
- Keep your connections up to date – add new contacts as you meet people
- When you login to LinkedIn, scan your network updates & see what your connections have been up to
- Check out the “people you may know” and add people that you actually know
- Fill in the “what are you working on” status update thing
- For example – I just updated my status & said “Ben is working on a blog post outlining how I use LinkedIn”
- Got an open position or need help with something? Send the info to your LinkedIn connections and ask them to help you spread the word.
- Join some groups, participate in discussions
- Ask or answer questions
- Tip: see the Q&A link, find a category that applies to you, and subscribe to it so that you see the questions on your start page / feed reader every day. Then just reply to the ones that look easy to answer quickly.
- Write & ask for recommendations
- Generate leads & business by getting listed in the service provider directory
For good measure – here’s a link to my profile: Ben Lloyd on LinkedIn
What did I miss? How do you use LinkedIn? Why do you use LinkedIn?