Every popular social medium is important. This is also true for businesses, but varies according to the goals, targets and business needs. For us, that primary medium is LinkedIn. However, this isn’t about how we’re using LinkedIn, but giving you some more helpful advice on how to make the most of the network to boost your career prospects.
What is this LinkedIn you speak of?
Since you’re here, you’re probably not asking that question, but let’s answer it anyway. LinkedIn is the biggest business social media network and one of the older social networks out there. It’s THE social network if you’re planning on doing any type of business networking.
The proof is in the pudding (the pudding being Richard Branson):
Some facts about LinkedIn presented in glorious bullet points
- A huge database or a research tool for job-seekers and business-developers
- Has 500 million users worldwide
- LinkedIn's reported user total goal: 3BN
- There are currently 57% male users and 44% female users on the network
- After the US, India, Brazil, Great Britain and Canada have the highest number of LinkedIn users, number of LinkedIn users in the U.S. currently stands at 128 million
- 13% of all millennials (15-34 years old) use LinkedIn
- Number of monthly unique active users is 106 million
- Geographical reach of LinkedIn currently spans 200 countries and territories
- An average user spends 17 minutes on LinkedIn per month
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining are currently the top skills on searched for on LinkedIn
- Your average CEO has 930 LinkedIn connections
By giving people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent.
Is LinkedIn for me?
If you’re over 25, already working in IT or seeking employment, the answer is yes. LinkedIn was made for business networking of potentials employers and employees, also the communication between associates and industry peers.
This social network is centered around careers, enabling users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues as well as potential employers, business partners, and new employees. This is why, while other social networks usually don’t thrive on business conversations, LinkedIn embraces them.
More glorious bullet points about the business aspects of LinkedIn:
- Channel for promotion of brands and companies
- Channel for providing services and products
- Often used as a CV form by recruiters (why examine a CV when you can get all the info on LinkedIn?)
- Online market for business opportunities and information
- Network which showcases success and accomplishments
- Great for creating brand awareness
- A very good PR tool
“This means nothing to me!” - Ok, ok, LinkedIn has many benefits beyond just talking business
It can also be about making connections with the people you respect, admire and want to converse with. Whatever you might be doing, whatever kind of opportunity you’re looking for, social media give you an unprecedented access to industry leaders, business leaders, tech stars, media personalities for direct conversations you couldn’t possibly find anywhere else.
Below are some examples why making connections on social media is both cool and helpful.
It's a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don't understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.
You can get a cool interview for your hockey writing needs:
Social media is reducing social barriers. It connects people on the strength of human values, not identities.
If you’re a big name brand like Coca-Cola, you can inspire change:
I’ll give it a shot, but how do I use it effectively?
Everyone needs pointers, especially if you’re new to social media. Like we said at the beginning, LinkedIn is a specific network that has its own usage nuances.
- More formal business communication than on other social networks
- Favors people who provide useful Information and education
- Otherwise functions much like Facebook – adding people, sharing links, photos or updates, writing blog posts, editing profiles, liking and commenting
The reason people need advice on using social media is that they're a much more complex and nuanced way to communicate than a conversation or email.
So, here’s our quickfire advice that will make you a LinkedIn superstar in no time.
Big no noes (What not to do)
- Don’t flirt - sure, some profiles look more attractive than others, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn't act professionally
- Expressing attitude towards politics and hot topics is generally not a good idea, especially if you’re acting on behalf of a company or a business entity
- Directly asking for charity and/or donations is just spam - there’s a classier way to do these things and you know it - also, avoid other annoying stuff like:
- Avoid putting personal photos or videos for entertainment purposes, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook and your connections won’t appreciate you wasting their time
- Don’t spam your connections with inbox messages, remember how you last felt when you got people begging for endorsements or default “Congrats!” in the inbox, yeah not good
- Be honest, don’t create a false image of yourself - lying makes your nose bigger
- Asking people you don't know for recommendations or referral is rude - they have no idea about your skills and you're basically asking them to lie
- If you're in Business Development, don't send a connection invitation and immediately hit them with a sales pitch the minute they join your network, that’s the quickest route to getting unfollowed
- Don't invite people to connect with you in order to get their email address just so you can add them to your newsletter subscriber list
- Don’t turn off email notifications, you might miss out on a lot of important, real-time information
- If you’re posting content, try to post once per day, the leading thought on this is 20 posts per month (which is about 1 post per day). This usually gives you about a 60% audience reach. This is what LinkedIn says anyway, so it is pretty much definitive. More than that will just spam your audience since all they’ll be seeing is your posts
- It’s always better to stay politically correct (especially when representing or tweeting about business) to avoid potential backlash
How to do it right (Big yes yeses)
Now, you might think that social media is a scary place, but in reality (if you do it right) people love to connect and share ideas. Especially if you provide helpful insight and post relevant content inside the space that you’re working / are interested in.
One thing I've discovered about social media is that people love answering questions. In fact, it sometimes feels like at any given moment, millions of people are online who have been waiting for exactly the question you fire off.
- It’s recommended you use horizontal pictures (in good quality) for updates
- Use shortened links (bitly.com) when posting content inside the text body
- The idea is to communicate with people as yourself so write in the first person when sharing updates
- Keep it short (the shorter the better - 2 sentences max) for maximum impact, people want an intro into the subject you’re linking, if you want to offer a bigger opinion, write a LinkedIn blog post (see below)
- Write your own LinkedIn article – it's easy!
- It is advised to always share original thoughts on things you share - look at it this way, you’re likely sharing something because it resonated with you, which usually means you have an opinion on it. Originality makes you stand out
- Do some casual networking with your peers, people are on LinkedIn to connect with one another, not to have one connection ie. Bob from high school
- Share updates from a certain brand or person you admire, or what motivates you
- Engage in discussions and offer your opinion on topics you’re qualified to talk about - who knows, it might benefit your career
- Watch your grammar (no, not grandma) - you might not be a native English speaker, or have perfect grammar, but there are a lot of tools that can help
Now, about your profile (addressing the elephant in the room)
Here are several aspects of a LinkedIn profile that help you establish credibility - basically, these things tell people you're a real, live carbon unit and that you care about your profile.
- A professional profile photo (headshot) - stats show that profiles with professional headshots get 14 times more views
- A short, impactful profile headline
- A well-written summary
- Your full professional experience
- Well-developed skills and endorsements
- Recommendations from clients, peers and colleagues
- Publications and written works
- Your LinkedIn profile should be up to date, filled with all the latest information about your position - think of this as an online CV which you should update more regularly than an offline CV
- Social media disclaimers - it’s always good that you clearly state that "Opinions expressed here are represent my own views and do not express the views or opinions of my employer." if you’re making a distinct connection between your social media profile and the company you work for
- Your profile should consist of a relevant job and duties – keep it neat and tidy
Or, if you prefer, here’s a simple photo guide to have your profile looking all spiffy
A great looking bio, cover and profile pic like so:
A detailed and accurate description of your current (and past) position:
A glowing set of featured skills and endorsements:
If you are on social media, and you are not learning, not laughing, not being inspired or not networking, then you are using it wrong.