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LinkedIn Best Practices

LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals to build a strong network of contacts and stay top of mind as an expert in your field. Via LinkedIn you have the opportunity for more frequent interaction with existing and potential clients than if you only saw them at a couple of events each year. Get back in touch with important contacts, collect a lifetime of business connections, and cultivate a strong base of referrals and prospects. The following is excerpted from Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms, by Michelle Golden.

How to Get Active
  • Optimize your profile
  • Build your network
  • Provide status updates with technical insight
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Show your expertise by answering questions and participating in group discussions
  • Use as a research tool


Optimize Your Profile
The goal: help people find you, convey your differentiators and specialty areas, highlight the industries you serve, and reflect your personality. Think of your profile as a personal introduction, not a resume. Your profile should reflect your skills, qualifications, experience, and involvements. Its’ also important to note that Your LinkedIn page is often the first result that will show up in a Google search.
  • Make the setting of who can view your profile wide open.
  • List all your past companies, schools and organizations to help you expand your network.
  • Revisit your profile periodically to make sure it is up to date.
  • Use a good, professional headshot
  • Professional Headline: this is visible everywhere your name is on LinkedIn. Change it from the default, which is your job title/co. name. Good example: “Attorney with 20 years of broad-based experience achieving positive outcomes for clients in employment and business law.”
  • In the Specialties section, list your expertise in a keyword format with commas separating keywords and phrases, example: “employment law, age discrimination, wrongful termination.”
  • You can drag sections of your profile into the order that you prefer.


Build Your Network

  • Do a search of contacts to add your network (under contacts tab). Build the biggest network you can, but only invite people you know, don’t invite complete strangers to connect with you.
  • Cross-connect with others in your company and their networks.
  • Research your contacts connections to see whom you might invite to connect.


Provide Status Updates/Posts
  • Provide status updates with professional/technical insight. The ratio should be 5 -1 educational vs. promotional updates. Be a resource, not a promoter.
  • Frequency: post once or twice a week.
  • Limit is 700 characters so use link shorteners like Bit.ly.


Ask for Recommendations
Asking for recommendations is perfectly acceptable.   The best time to do this is after you have had a very positive professional interaction: i.e.: delivered exceptional service or results for a clients or power partner.


Answer Questions
  • Post or answer questions to show your expertise.
  • Provide new information, a new perspective or idea. Remember to stay on topic and avoid being too promotional.
  • In their Weekly Network Updates, your contacts will see that you have answered questions, demonstrating your expertise throughout your network.


Participating in Groups: Discussions
  • Join relevant groups that line up with your professional interests.
  • This is a great way to expand your reach and interact with people who share common interests.
  • Launch your own LinkedIn Group to reflect a particular area of expertise.


Use for Research
  • Study the competition.
  • Identify new prospects: use geographic parameters and do an advanced search by industry.
Probably one of the most important aspects of LinkedIn is that, along with your website, this is where most potential clients will go to find out more about you. So take the time to flesh out your profile, build your network and get active!