LinkedInDo you have a LinkedIn profile?

Many of us do. But here's the real question: When was the last time you accessed it or updated it? If you're not paying your account much mind, it might be time to re-evaluate both how you're using the platform and why. 

Thanks to advancements in technology, you now have the ability to do everything you're capable of doing face-to-face in a digital environment. And, as Tess Vismale of DAHLIA+ Agency shared with attendees at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017, everything we thought we knew about corporate relationships and business networking has changed. 

Let's take a moment and consider what LinkedIn offers its users. You can:

  • Engage with your professional network
  • Get informed with industry news
  • Expand your connections organically
  • Refresh your personal profile
  • Showcase yourself as a versatile and well-rounded professional

In determining your purpose for using the platform (and any goals you may have for doing so), you can ultimately drive greater value for yourself and your connections. 

Ready to get started? Here's a few examples of worthwhile goals to establish for yourself: 

  • Networking: When reaching out to people, craft a custom message to remind them know where you met or inform them why you’re interested in connecting. If someone reached out with you and you don’t know why, ask him or her. See if you can find a connection point.
  • Increasing sales opportunities: Many people conduct a considerable amount of business in digital sales today. Don’t miss out on using LinkedIn as a space to generate leads or connect with prospects.
  • Career opportunities: Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, take a look at job descriptions and use them as an example of how to update your own profile or create a job description for hiring. Then, when you’re ready to make a move, your profile will be targeted toward your desired position.
  • Exposing your personal brand or company: Create blogs and posts to express your opinions on industry topics and establish yourself as a thought leader in the space. Don’t forget to include an image or video help draw attention to your post. After all, the average attention span of a person is a mere three seconds.

Now that you've established your goal and purpose, you can construct your profile around that goal, create a persona, and dictate your posting and sharing strategy. Your usage will become more focused, and it will be easier for you to decide when (and more importantly how) to engage.

The Keys to Success on LinkedIn

Before you start posting, audit your profile to see where it can be updated or enhanced. LinkedIn offers many tools and features to help you complete your profile. Take advantage of them to clean up, refresh and reorganize your digital presence.

Here are some recommendations to take your profile from ho-hum to top notch:

  • Keywords count: Make your headline and summary sections count with a unique, keyword-rich headline and a relevant, interesting summary. Don't simply list your current job title and company and call it a day. (Take a look at Tess's’ profile to see how she does it.)
  • Include media: You can add photos and videos to the summary, experience and education sections with a URL to further improve your profile.
  • Personalize: Update your profile picture with a professional headshot, personalize your public profile URL, and never send out a generic invitation for contacts. People want to see you and hear from you, not an avatar with a pre-populated message.
  • Get recommendations: If you did a good job with an employer or client, ask them for a personalized recommendation. Make it easy on the person and put together a few sentences for them to use when making your request.
  • Join groups: More than 200 conversations are happening each minute in LinkedIn Groups. Join them to network and discover new contacts within your industry or field of expertise. Look for groups where you have an opportunity to extend your personal brand as a thought leader and groups you want to learn from. (For example, consider joining the CONEXPO-CON/AGG group.)
  • Share wisely: Craft posts and blogs that tie back to your goals and objectives and like and comment on other’s posts. Be sure to use the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your activity should be sharing valuable content and engaging with others, wihile 20 percent should be about you. No one wants to be sold to 24/7/365.  

Now that your strategy and goals are in place, and you have an updated profile and a consistent stream of relevant content, you're well on your way to establishing yourself as a thought leader and trusted partner in the industry.

This article appeared in a recent edition of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 newsletter.

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