There's a growing recognition of the opportunity to use the social web as a means of engaging directly with customers, employees, prospects and suppliers.
LinkedIn is a good starting point.It’s a professional social media network of more than 500 million people each showcasing their experience and skills, and sharing content and information related to their professions’ expertise.
A LinkedIn profile is a great basis for new professional relationships. People can seek out your expertise via the platform’s search functions or newsfeed. You can also use these functions to find other people.
It’s important that you complete your profile to maximise the opportunity for search and discovery. Rich profiles are visually engaging and enable prospects to seek you out. They are also optimised for search.
Here’s how to get started.
1. OPTIMISE YOUR PROFILE FOR DISCOVERY
There some basics that you need to get in place to make your profile discoverable. The first job is to make sure that your account isn’t set to anonymous. Log into your account and head to the settings and privacy section. Select Edit your public profile and ensure that the visibility is set to public.
2. PROFESSIONAL PHOTO
According to LinkedIn a professional photo will make visitors seven times more likely to visit your profile than a profile without an image. Use a close cropped photo of your face. LinkedIn recommends a high resolution image with a neutral background cropped to 400 by 400 pixels.
3. BACKGROUND IMAGE
Aside from your profile photo, your background photo is the thing that people notice first on your profile. A carefully chosen image relating to your professional experience will inform prospects who you are and what you do.
Write your profile headline to appeal to your target audience. Consider including what you do and who you do it for and what differentiates you from other people on LinkedIn.
5. PERSONAL SUMMARY
Use this space to differentiate yourself from other individuals and organisations in your sphere and showcase the skills that appeal to your target audience. Include examples of the organisations that you’ve worked for and the outcomes that you have delivered.
6. CAREER EXPERIENCE
Use this area to record your previous roles and achievements. Focus on the organisations that you have helped and the outcomes that you have delivered. Focus on what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved that relates to stakeholders for your current role. Ditch experience that doesn’t fit with your career narrative.
7. STATUS UPDATES
There are two ways of sharing content with your network on LinkedIn – either by posting an update or an article. Content is shared with your network and the newsfeed. It’s a way of building a community and sharing content that will help build your personal reputation. Updates are short posts that enable you to share a link, photo or video in the same way that you would on Facebook or Twitter. They’re a good way to start a conversation about what you’re reading, ask for ideas and to share industry news.
Use articles to share your insights, perspectives and expertise. The best way to drive conversation and attention is to write on industry trends or share commentary about the day’s news. Aim for 500 to 1,000 words. Like status updates this content is pushed into the newsfeed of individuals in your network.