What do you do with a LinkedIn account? The key is not to neglect it. Here's some practical guidance for using a basic LinkedIn account as a personal PR tool that will help to open doors for you professionally. By Jane Wong, Australia. May 2011, updated March 2013.
<ul><li> Ive got a LinkedInaccount, now what?Making a basic account work for you Jane Wong, Consultant Social Media Planner </li> <li> A friend invited you to join, and you didBut then you werent sure what to do with itOf the 4million Australians on LinkedIn this is commonSo its time to get cracking </li> <li> A basic LinkedIn account is freeLinkedIn has revolutionised how the world connects professionallyFor some its a way to post their credentials without actively beingseen to be job hunting </li> <li> LinkedIn has over 200million members globallyUse it to raise your professional profile locally and internationallyGenerate career and business opportunities by being involvedLearn, share and broaden your horizons </li> <li> Anonymous accounts are pointlessIts like hiding at the back of the crowd, no one will see your potential </li> <li> Treating it as an online job noticeboard wont get you noticed But participating regularly and making community contributions will </li> <li> Your profile is the new first impressionIts normal to be googled before meeting someone professionally for the first time So your LinkedIn profile may be what they see first </li> <li> Create a great personaThe best profiles are rich with relevant informationTheyre like a candid conversation about yourselfTheyre not just a list of prior employers </li> <li> Have an avatarUnless you work with Disney dont make it a cartoonA photo of you, head and shoulders only, keep the background simpleA personal brandmark will maintain continuity between social accounts </li> <li> Consider yourself as a productMake your strengths stand outState your career goalsUse tools like Behances Creative Portfolio Display app </li> <li> Use SEO to help you get discoveredIf you were looking for someone like yourself, what search termswould you include? Use them in your profileMake you public profile available to everyone for search purposes </li> <li> Its not necessarily your resumeYou can upload a formal resume separately for contacts to downloadSo think of what would make your profile stand out from the crowd </li> <li> Build your networkImport your email contacts and look at LinkedIns suggestions of others you may knowFind the people you were educated with and who share alumnisLook at company pages for former colleagues and suppliersConnect with the people you meet at events </li> <li> The people with the most friends dont always winTrue value will come from adding people to your network that youve met or have an online relationship withA reference from someone you respect is recommended but choose wisely,less is actually more gravitas rather than peer popularity </li> <li> Wallflowers dont get invited to danceBeing social is the key to being discoveredActive participation will draw others to you </li> <li> Matchmaking can help you and your contactsIntroduce people within your network to others who may benefit fromthe professional connection </li> <li> Everyone has an opinionContribute by commenting on your networks updatesJoin groups where you can contribute to discussionsParticipate in polls and share business knowledgeSo answer questionsAnd ask questions </li> <li> Consider yourself as a brandLinkedIn is a personal PR tool use it in a dignified wayDont over share personal details, think before postingAct like Barack Obama not tabloid celebrities </li> <li> Build your own villageYou can create your own professional groupsAsk people to join and keep the conversation livelyOpen your group so that it can appear in search results </li> <li> A little bit of application goes a long wayYou can stay top of mind within your network with regular updatesAdd up to 6 LinkedIn profile apps to share whats happening in your career </li> <li> Rub shouldersInvite others to join you at events that youre attending via LinkedInWhen you meet new people, use LinkedIn as a secure point of contactfor them to follow up with you afterwards </li> <li> Overlap your social platformsUse Facebook Search to find existing LinkedIn profiles that may be usefulLink your professional blogs and websitesLink your professional - but not personal - Twitter account to your updates streamDownload a Twitter list of your LinkedIn network </li> <li> Youll catch more flies with honey than vinegarLies, spamming and hijacking threads are not acceptableAvoid banalities, expletives and controversial posts that may reflect negativelyon your career, clients or employerBe polite, thank others for their positive reinforcement or contribution </li> <li> You got mailRegularly check your inbox for updates and invitationsIt is acceptable to exchange inmail before accepting an invitationYou do not have to accept every invitation that you receive </li> <li> Whos looking at you?On the home page follow the link to see whos viewed your profileAdjust your setting to allow others to see if youve visited their profilesYou may find a new career lead </li> <li> It doesnt hurt to look aroundCheck out the jobs advertisedYou may find interesting leads for yourself and others, so share themIntroduce yourself to others who may share professional synergy </li> <li> Lazy webYou can effectively seek out potential job candidates on LinkedInBut avoid asking non connections to find you those people </li> <li> A central line of contactSave a few trees and make LinkedIn your digital business cardAdd your email address and phone number to your profile for your contactsWith LinkedIn mobile apps you can instantly connect networks via bluetoothplus store all connection details in your smartphone contacts </li> <li> Get discovered beyond the LinkedIn websiteFor ease of discovery your Linkedin public profile URL can be made into a vanity URLFor example mine is www.linkedin.com/in/wongnumberIf you leave a comment at a news site or a professional blog, enter your LinkedInpublic profile URL in the your website sectionAdd your URL to your professional Twitter profileShare your profile URL to any of your other social networksMake it part of your about me if you have a blog relevant to your professionAdd it to an about.me splash page or similarAdd it to your email signature </li> <li> Learn to be socialSchedule some regular time to visit LinkedIn and to participateRead LinkedIns Today section which aggregates the most shared news updatesCheck out whos new, there may always be someone you knowUse desktop or web apps such as Hootsuite to concurrently view your networksupdates from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or many other social networks </li> <li> Sitting on your hands achieves nothingEnjoy LinkedIn for bringing you opportunity, friendship and knowledgeIt is the new way to assist you with your career and businessYou neednt be aggressive to reap the rewards, just active </li> <li> Created by Jane Wong, Social Media PlannerAn Advertising and Marketing specialist for over 20years, this guide is the result of Janespersonal experience of using a basic Linkedin account. And the ROI of LinkedIn for her?She has made excellent contacts and derives 70% of her commissioned work fromapproaches made by LinkedIn members. The Wong Number, May 2011. Updated March 2013. http://www.linkedin.com/in/wongnumber </li> </ul>