LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks. It’s often not even mentioned when people talk about social media, but it is a social media platform. LinkedIn has added so many features recently that it’s easy to get confused about how it works and what to do with it. But if you focus on the things it does best, you can get a lot of value from it.
In this short slide show, I share ten things you can do with LinkedIn to establish credibility and enhance your authority.
1. Update your profile
Ensure your LinkedIn profile is professional, current and accurate. Use a professional head-and-shoulders photograph. For the “Summary”, write a succinct description of your role and what problems you solve in your organisation. Include as much contact information as you’re willing to share.
2. Change your public URL
By default, your page on LinkedIn has a weird URL, but you can customise it to make it more readable (for example, mine is linkedin.com/in/gihanperera). This is not essential, but it’s free and easy (provided the URL you want is available), so you might as well do it.
3. Add a Professional Portfolio
Enhance your “Summary”, “Experience” and “Education” sections with documents, pictures, videos, and slide shows. This gives depth to your profile and helps newcomers understand more about you. If you don’t have original material to share, start with company material (with permission).
4. Connect with people you know, like and trust
Most of your LinkedIn connections are not your prospects or customers, but peers and colleagues who are connected to you for mutual gain. Think professional association, not marketplace. They are more likely to refer you than to buy from you.
Connect only with people you know (both for incoming and outgoing invitations). There are some exceptions to this rule, but this is a good start.
5. Search for interesting people
Use LinkedIn’s Search feature to find people you might want to connect with. For example, if you’re attending a conference or other event, look up the speakers, panellists and other participants on LinkedIn. You might find some that are worth connecting with before the event.
6. Ask for introductions
One of LinkedIn’s best early features was the ability to ask people you know for introductions to people they know. This feature is used less now, because we can connect with people in other ways. However, it’s still useful because you get a warm introduction from somebody you both know.
When asking for an introduction, explain why you want to connect, so the “middle man” knows how best to pass on the request.
7. Write Recommendations
Write testimonials for people in your network by writing a “Recommendation” for them. Apart from helping to boost that person’s reputation, LinkedIn also invites that person to return the favour, so this is a good way for getting recommendations for yourself as well!
8. Share your articles
All of the ideas above will help build your LinkedIn network. That’s all leading up to the most important thing you can do: Share your own ideas.
LinkedIn has its own article publishing platform called Pulse. Use this to publish original articles, and all your immediate LinkedIn connections will be notified. These articles also appear on your profile, so they boost your authority further.
9. Participate in groups
The more you participate, the more value you get. On LinkedIn, the best place to participate is in groups. Search for groups you like, join them, and participate. Start by “lurking” (just watching silently to see how the group operates), and then join in and contribute. Start by answering other people’s questions. You don’t have to be a world expert; just share your experience.
10. Do more!
If you really find that LinkedIn is working well for you, there are a lot of advanced tools to help you get more value from it. Set a goal to try one new thing regularly, and you’ll quickly start getting more value from LinkedIn.