With business interaction now limited to electronic means and while you may still have work to do, tasks to perform, you might find more time on your hands during business hours than you are accustomed to. There is no commute to and from the office, no business lunches, dinners or happy hours. With even “off the clock” recreational and entertainment options limited, this might be the time to invest in resources that will pay dividends when things get back to normal. One area to examine is your use of LinkedIn.
Tips to Build Your LinkedIn Profile
Develop your presence
Start with your LinkedIn profile. Does it include all of the means for other professionals to contact you and relevant company websites of your employer? LinkedIn provides a step by step profile builder and all you have to do is fill in the questions they have identified as the most relevant information on how people will find you.
Next, do you have a profile picture? Including your picture warms your profile and allows business acquaintances to add a face to a name. They might recognize you but do not know your name or the company that you represent. Without a picture that association is unavailable. Include a nice professional photograph. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it could be an everyday photo of yourself or “suit up” in your best business formal threads.
You can also customize your profile page by adding a banner image. Utilize this space as a way to visually inform visitors what you or your company make or do. Product displays, company signage, company logo, or a picture of a storefront are all worthy of consideration. Learn more about LinkedIn Image Specifications and How To Update Your LinkedIn Profile.
A recent new connection of mine, Spencer Schaetzel, has an excellent example.
At first glance we know right away that Spencer is in a business that is affiliated with mail. This is a good illustration on how to use the space and tell your story visually.
Build your network
After your finished with your profile, the next best way to build your LinkedIn Profile is to nurture your network connections. The goal of your network is to have relevant contacts that you build over time. If you’re just starting, here are some people to consider inviting to be a part of your network:
- people that you already do business with
- colleagues and friends with LinkedIn profiles
- people you in your industry,
- individuals with the same or similar job functions
Think of the people that you can offer the most value to you and vice versa. Networking is a relationship. When sending your invitations, make sure to let them know how you can both benefit each other through the connection. This is most important if you’re sending a prospective customer an invite. You want to remind them how you know each other and how you can help them achieve their goals and objectives.
If you’re stuck, use the computing power of LinkedIn to help you. If you click on My network at the top of the page, you’ll find a list of People you may know.These contacts are grouped by categories. People you may have worked with, People you may know with similar roles, People in your industry you may know, People from your alma mater, etc.
Each profile displayed on these pages has a connect button. This sends a standard invite to the contact to join your network; however, a personalized note will be the most successful. To add a note on a connection request, you need to open the profile of the person you are sending the invite to and hit connect button. An option will appear to send a note with the request.
Improve your newsfeed
Once you’ve made your connections, you can start diving into the true benefits of LinkedIn. Individual connections are not the only way to enable LinkedIn to become an industrious digital tool. Companies have pages and often post relevant information about their products, services and industry. Take the time to “follow” your key customers, prospects or companies outside of your industry that you admire. This will turn your feed into a handy resource bin to keep up with the world.
When used respectfully and wisely, LinkedIn is a valuable resource. I have been able to make mutually beneficial connections that previously would have been impossible to make. With a little investment of time, you can make it work for you and offer value back to your network. It can pay dividends during and after the lockdown.