Contact Information: Contact availability is an important part of networking. Include an email address and phone number whether personal or strictly through your company. Allow inmail and Connections in your settings. There are eight options for Opportunity Preferences, and I hope everyone will select all eight options as this indicates an engaged professional with a desire for a strong LinkedIn presence. The more contacts you solicit and allow, the more opportunities you solicit and allow.
Personal Links: linkedin allows for three personal URL links in your profile under the Additional Information section. If you have a personal blog and a company website include these links as two of the three available for input. If you do not have these or do not want to use them, get creative. Put in the Google and Yahoo public profiles you created. Put in a personal or professional Facebook link. (If you are using a personal Facebook link ensure you have the privacy settings on your page to Friends only.)
Do you contribute to a writing site or guest blog for anyone? Do you volunteer at a favorite charity? Do you teach a course at a college or trade organization? If so, include these as your links with further explanation in the Groups & Associations section. Customize the link name to fit what you have included. Take full advantage of the personal links feature to enhance your profile’s interconnectivity. Cross promotions help you get the most of your LinkedIn professional Internet presence which helps establish your brand. Include your Twitter account link. LinkedIn allows for your tweets to be linked to your LinkedIn status update if desired. This could be great for a business, but more specific control is better for an individual.
Status Updates: As noted, we are in an attention economy. It is important to stay visible with your network and on LinkedIn in general to maximize your presence and brand. Provide a status update once a week or more with input on the home page to announce and direct—to your new blog post, to your updated website, to your expanded products or services, to your professional training completion, to your conference attendance, to anything of brand importance or interest. Allow privacy settings for updates to be public. This allows for them to be search results on your name and increases your Internet presence. Ensure all updates adhere to your company and client confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements of course!
Answers: Answers can be searched by selecting Answers in the search bar at the top of the page from the drop down box. Members post business questions under various topics. This is a great feature for connecting and contributing in addition to positively affecting your visibility. Being helpful and sharing your expertise by answering questions is a thoughtful way to establish presence with purpose. Demonstrating expert status and productive participation are elements of good branding. Posting a question or an answer is a great way to engage and meet potential new connections, referrals, and clients. And, wouldn’t it be mutually beneficial if an answer involved the direct use of one of your products or services?
Groups: I am especially impressed with the quality and selection of groups and their discussion topics available on LinkedIn. Groups can be searched by selecting Groups in the search bar at the top of the page from the drop down box. Useful groups to join can be found by searching under Groups by keyword or reviewing the groups available by category. This is the best feature on LinkedIn to establish new connection possibilities; to connect to people with similar interests; to connect to people in your industry or an industry you want to know more about; to gain valuable insight from different points of reference and expertise; to contribute your expertise to others; to stay current on specific industry news and issues; and to inspire creative collaboration and opportunity. Group membership allows entrance to discussions, member lists and updates, a direct member email option (unless restricted by the member in their settings), and related topic news. Participating in LinkedIn groups by starting a discussion or participating in one underway is a sincere component in establishing and maintaining professional visibility and brand.
Finding a Job: Jobs can be searched by selecting Job in the search bar at the top of the page from the drop down box. LinkedIn Jobs has thousands of job listings by category searchable by keywords, location, title, and company. You can also install the Jobs Insider toolbar which integrates into your web browser. When you are viewing a job listing on an external job site, you can automatically see your inside connections at that company. You can access this toolbar download under Learning Center- Job Seekers. Many smart job seekers search for recruiters by location and/or placement specialty.
Filling a Job: It’s expensive to post with most job listing sites that specialize in the career field particularly for small to medium size companies in today’s economy. LinkedIn can be an excellent source of potential candidates for recruiters or for any HR personnel looking to fill a client or company position. Professionals on LinkedIn have already demonstrated they are engaged and up-to-date with technology. Their profiles already indicate their level of networking, their industry interests, and recommendations for their work. Possible job candidates may be found by searching on specific industry, location, and title desired. Candidates may be found more directly by posting job openings in the appropriate areas within Groups and discussions and on LinkedIn Jobs. (Fee program is also available under Recruiting Services at the bottom of the page.)
Company Pages: This is a feature provided by linkedin in partnership with Capital IQ. Information is pulled from the profiles on linkedin. Company pages can be searched by selecting Company in the search bar at the top of the page from the drop down box. Linkedin is working on companies having the option to edit their page information produced by linkedin and to produce their own page. Detailed information can be reviewed under Learning Center – Company Pages.
Service Provider: This is a section for service providers that are recommended by their network which are then listed in LinkedIn’s directory. This is an excellent avenue for visibility and branding for companies as well as specific product and services offered. This feature and instructions to become a listed service provider or finding one can be found under Learning Center—Service Providers.
Toplinked: Find possible network connections among the top linked people on LinkedIn by going to toplinked.com.
LinkedIn Applications: Do take the time to review the applications available and add as you see appropriate and useful for your particular profile and interest. Utilizing applications generally increase your presence and brand recognition.
LinkedIn Profile Directory: Since you have taken the time and made the effort to provide a stand-out profile on LinkedIn, promote your brand by including your linkedin public profile URL on your business cards, website, blog, and email signature.
Thoughtful participation highlights your presence in the mind of potential employers and clients. Being visible and reflected as an expert and top in your field is a vital element in successful branding. Any successful individual or business is a direct result of successful relationships. Good professional experience and reputation initiates your brand building. Great associations and endorsements cements your brand foundation. Excellent relationships maintain and grow your brand strength. Maximum public presence begets new opportunities and increased brand excellence in reputation, associations, endorsements, and relationships. Success begets success.