Ah, LinkedIn - the boring business cocktail party of social networks. Look, there's the guy who always talks about himself. There's the woman who constantly hands out business cards to everyone and anyone, regardless of whether there's any real need or reason to connect. And there's the inappropriately dressed person who didn't seem to get the memo that this is a business function. Awkward.Seriously, though - if Facebook is a backyard barbecue that got crashed by a bunch of brands, and Twitter is a modern-day party line, then the LinkedIn analogy above holds true. And no one wants to be that who makes everyone wonder, "who invited him?!" So what's the right way to do LinkedIn? In short: don't be lazy. Put a little thought into your presence there and how you connect and interact with others, and you'll do fine. Here are some LinkedIn tips.
- Don't just "set it and forget it."Many people upload their resume details to LinkedIn and then walk away, expecting to be showered with career opportunities and networking know-how. That's not how it works. You master the basics and get your profile to full-strength, sure, but it doesn't stop there. You also need to add value by sharing good content updates, connecting intelligently to people you know (or at least know of) and providing recommendations and endorsements when it makes sense. These best practices ensure you're a contributing member of the LinkedIn community and not just a lurker.
- Think quality, not quantity, of connections.We've all seen the "LION" or "LinkedIn Open Networking" folks with a gazillion contacts. I get it - they want to open up their network as broadly as possible. However, LinkedIn loses a bit of its value if you connect too broadly - and it also opens you up to spam. I want to be able to truly recommend and refer folks in my network to those seeking candidates or contacts - and I can't do that if I don't know a thing about you. At the very least, when you seek to connect with someone, send a short note with a bit about you and your business and how you might be of service.
- Share smart updates.I'm glad we have the ability to post longform content and even blog regularly on LinkedIn. It's a great platform for BtoB marketers looking to dip a toe in the waters of blogging. That said, I'm also a fan of the quick, meaningful links that people in my network share. Whether you take the short or long route to content sharing on LinkedIn, do be sure to say something. It's a terrific way to showcase your expertise and point of view, be of service to others in your network and keep your name and business top of mind for the people who matter most.
- Above all, be a person first.If there is one piece of advice that matters most in business, it's to be a human being. Lead with who you are as a person. Connect with me as another person. Then we can talk business and figure out how our companies may share some synergy. If you come at me like a robo-sales person, chances are good I will not respond - and if you're a repeat offender, I may even mark you as a spammer.
These are pretty basic tips - I'm sure no one reading would dream of being this lazy on LinkedIn - but I see these and other bad LinkedIn habits all the time. If you're more advanced in your LinkedIn presence and you're looking to create or enhance a LinkedIn company page for your business, check out our free downloadable guide to doing just that.