The recent disappointing Facebook IPO and the pronounced slide in the performance of sites like Groupon have many proclaiming a new dot-com bubble in social media. While there’s some validity to that argument, the current slowdown in the tech sector is completely different from previous stock meltdowns. For the most part, major social media websites are successful businesses that are either already profitable or well on their way to becoming so. LinkedIn is a different kind of social media site in that it’s focused more on business than pleasure. With that in mind, there are a million and one reasons to join up if you haven’t already.
Why You Should Get Started with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is commonly seen as a way for job-seekers to get hired for positions and for employers to headhunt prospective talent, like a variant of Monster.com with better design.
However, it’s so much more than just a digital resume. One of the most compelling reasons to hop on the LinkedIn bandwagon is the credibility that a professional profile confers on a user. LinkedIn can be a powerful way to research potential clients as well, especially in the B2B sphere.
Studies show that LinkedIn fosters a far greater level of engagement when it comes to professional interactions than any other platform.
Obviously, you’re going to need to sign up for a free account and fill out a profile at the very least. Begin with the basics and provide your educational details, credentials, company information, experience, and accomplishments. We’ll get to more specific, concrete tips in a moment.
You don’t have to tell your life story or write an autobiography of your professional history.
Remember that your account profile should say as much about what you’d like to do in the future as it does about what you’ve done in the past.
Flesh Out Your Profile
As soon as you have the basic details taken care of, you can start to work on making your overall profile more full-featured and content-rich. Add a few personal details to humanize yourself. After all, business is highly personal in nature when you get right down to it. Just don’t overdo it and post pictures of yourself partying at Lake Havasu.
Users can now import WordPress and Twitter feeds into their profiles, which gives others some insight into what’s going on in their professional life at the moment. Take advantage of this functionality to keep your profile up to date.
Learn to Network, LinkedIn-Style
Unlike other social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn requires a networking strategy that’s a bit less aggressive than you may be used to. You’ll want to be more selective when it comes to adding users as contacts. People aren’t impressed by 1,000 connections if 990 of them are either unrelated to your field or just plain irrelevant.
In addition to making direct, one-on-one connections, it’s wise to join one of the many LinkedIn groups available to meet like-minded professionals. Furthermore, you can “prime the pump” of goodwill by recommending some of your connections to other users.
The Last Word
It’s tough to quantify the value that a dedicated LinkedIn strategy can bring to your organization or your own personal brand. Regardless, networking with more than 160 million users can be the fast track to professional success if you play your cards right.
If you spend a few minutes every day tweaking your profile and networking, it’ll be worth it in the long run insofar as new opportunities are concerned. However, nothing turns off potential employers and collaborators like coming on too strong. Expand your profile and increase your visibility organically, and you’ll reap the benefits over time.