By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)
Linked in is the well-known dark horse of social media. We all know it exists, but few use it to its full potential. This is a major mistake. When it comes to marketing yourself, most people go straight to Facebook because of its considerable user base, but demographically speaking, LinkedIn is ahead in the social media race with over 135 million users worldwide, 77 percent of users are age 25 and older, and the average household income of users is $109,000. If you want to get serious about social networking, ditch the Facebook playground and graduate to LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a network of professionals who are the movers and shakers of their industries. Yes, Facebook and Twitter can be powerful tools, but LinkedIn users are known for their no-nonsense sentiments when it comes to their jobs, industry and social network. So keep in mind that while it’s fun to post silly pictures on Facebook and tweet about what you had for lunch on Twitter, the conversations on LinkedIn are more focused on cultivating partnerships and advancing business.
1.) Complete your profile
Did you know that your Linkedin profile generally ranks in the top five Google search results for your first and last name? Make sure your profile is completely filled out, because first impressions are everything. Skimping on your personal profile will decrease your value, so take the time to tell people what you’re all about.
2.) Connect with everyone
When it comes to making connections, get out of your comfort zone. Connecting with people you already know and trust limits your network. Remember: There are 135 million members out there to connect with! The more direct connections you have, the larger your network will be, creating more business opportunities in the long run.
3.) Customize your URL and websites
Customize your URL and websites to reflect your name. You can do this by finding the “edit profile” option from the “profile” tab at the top of the website. If you have a blog or website to add, scroll down to the “additional information” section of your LinkedIn profile. Click the “edit” button. Select “other” in the dropdown menu and customize its name. A customized website name will inspire others to click through your sites.
4.) Spice up your image
Your profile now needs some pizzazz and style. A bland, lifeless profile turns off potential connections, so let your personal creativity shine through. Use stories, video recommendations etc. to tell others who you are, what you’re all about and how you can help them advance professionally.
5.) Recommend others
Recommend others as much as you can, and they will reciprocate. The more you give, the more you receive!
6.) Join groups
Join LinkedIn groups that will put you in touch with other experts in your industry. Try your hand at starting your own group and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Like a mini-social network, these niche groups will encourage discussions, spread your message and connect you with important people.
7.) Optimize your search ranking
Many people use LinkedIn to search for experts in their field, a new job or connections. This is where optimization in keyword search is crucial. It takes time and effort to reach the top, but imagine how cool it would be if you rank number one when someone searches for “social” or “management” for example. A way to start is by incorporating your desired keywords into your headline, current work experience, past work experience, summary and specialties.
8.) Add Apps
Lastly, add applications such as Twitter, WordPress and calendars to your profile. This will promote your work and improve your profile’s overall visitor experience.