I just signed up because I didn’t want to disappoint my friends. I got started, entered a few details and didn’t bother to login again for several months.
Just like everyone else, I got a few LinkedIn promotional emails from time to time. I also received a few connection requests from other people once every few days. Those things kept me engaged and once in a while, I did login to accept or reject the requests or read messages etc.
But I wasn’t serious about LinkedIn or any social networking site (including Google’s Orkut) for a long time.
When LinkedIn Became Important
Near the beginning of 2008, I was just starting to explore business ideas. I wanted to diversify my income streams. So, I was looking for ways to leverage the latest marketing trends. In the process, I was attending a lot of networking events to meet people and learn what was going on in the marketplace.
Facebook and Twitter were catching everyone’s attention. At every networking event, everybody was absolutely excited about the new phenomenon of online social networking and personal branding.
As I attended more events and connected with more entrepreneurs, I was convinced that online social media was the wave to ride. I quickly realized that it was something that was happening whether or not I participated.
I jumped on the bandwagon right away. I got on Facebook and Twitter as well. I already existed on LinkedIn but without much activity.
Social media was fun. It was exciting. It is indeed very fascinating to use Facebook and Twitter for business. Not just that, today search engines depend on social signals to rank websites and as more and more people are spending time online, social media is becoming the mainstream media day after day.
LinkedIn has never been exciting (so to speak!) in general. The look of your profile is like your resume. It doesn’t give many options to load pictures, videos and all the fun stuff that you can do on Facebook (and now on Google+ as well.)
They have made many improvements, added many features to make it interesting. But even today many people don’t like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is professional and boring to many people and it was for me for a long time.
Things changed for me after I read two awesome books on LinkedIn that completely altered my perspective:
Both books had a tremendous impact on my approach to LinkedIn and I began to take LinkedIn seriously. LinkedIn became part of my daily social media routine and I grew my influence from 67 people with first degree connections to about 2000+ first degree connections.
Did it have a positive influence on my personal branding? Did it add to my online brand identity? Did it have a positive influence on my businesses?
You bet it did!
Should You Take LinkedIn Seriously?
In my experience, LinkedIn is one social networking platform where professionalism is at its highest.
Simply because it takes a lot more time and effort to create a good LinkedIn profile than on any other social network where you’ve ever been, people take it more seriously. Simply because LinkedIn is not sexy like some of the most popular networks, people who aren’t serious don’t even come there.
I think that LinkedIn is a good deal for serious professionals as a credible and reliable networking platform.
Building business relationships, finding a job, getting some contacts is much easier on LinkedIn than on any other social networks. LinkedIn was designed keeping those goals in mind. It serves that purpose very well.
Large businesses are focusing more and more on LinkedIn. Recently there was news that HP became the company with the largest following with over a million followers on LinkedIn.
Whether you are a job holding working professional or a business owner, here are a few benefits of using LinkedIn which you shouldn’t be ignore:
- Making professional connections is much easier and more appropriate on LinkedIn than any other social network.
- It is much easier to engage people in conversation on LinkedIn than on any other network.
- Your prospective clients and future employers check your LinkedIn profile before checking any other social profile that you may have.
- You can land big opportunities if you have an impressive and up to date profile. People and companies are consistently exploring LinkedIn for prospective opportunities and they may find you.
- Your LinkedIn profile gives you the credibility that other network sites cannot give. If your Personal Branding is important to you, this is the place you must not ignore.
If you are ready to setup your professional profile on LinkedIn, you need to get some of the basics concepts clear:
- Your LinkedIn Profile is the place where you can tell your complete story to the world. It is a great opportunity for you to make that story as impressive as possible.
- Every word in your profile is a searchable keyword. Having as much relevant detail as possible, will increase your chances of being found. Being found; that is the goal!
- Your prospective employers, clients or the people you are going to meet are checking your LinkedIn profile before meeting you. They want to know as much as they can about you before they meet you for the first time.
It is absolutely imperative to have a 100% complete profile with as much detail as possible. The details should be professional in nature and must be public information. There is no benefit in sharing personal data that will not add value to your profile.
I will be sharing additional tips on leveraging the power of LinkedIn groups, recommendations, endorsements, adding connections and much more in separate articles. To start, here are 5 basic things you should be doing if you don’t yet have a LinkedIn presence:
- Create your LinkedIn profile and add all the professional details that you can about yourself, your education, your experience, etc. Make certain your profile is 100% complete. Remember, incomplete profiles will not show up as high in the search results on LinkedIn.
- Your profile picture is the most important thing on your profile. Make sure you put your best picture there. Many professionals will accept or reject your connection request based on that picture. This is the only place where you can have a picture of yourself on LinkedIn. So keep your best picture here!
- Connect with all the people you already know through your email, Facebook, Google+ and even Twitter. Please send connection requests to the people you know because you don’t want to come across as a spammer. When you run out of people you know and you want to add more connections, there are ways that we will discuss it in another post.
- Join LinkedIn groups that relate to your niche activities. If you are an IT professional, find out the groups that match your interest areas and join them. Groups are great places to start conversations, add value to other conversations and even make new connections.
- Ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues and previous clients. The best way to ask for a recommendation is to first write a recommendation for them and then ask them to return the favor. Most people will be glad to return the favor. This is a great way to show off your credibility.
Over To You For Comments
If you are not yet on LinkedIn or, if you aren’t active at LinkedIn, why did you not get started in the first place? Please share your thoughts.
If you already are on LinkedIn, do you agree that you should get your LinkedIn profile up to date? How do you utilize its power to find new opportunities for your job or business? What would you like to add to this list for somebody just starting out at LinkedIn?
Please click here to add your answer in the comments. Thank you kindly!