If you’re like a lot of other people, you might have a LinkedIn profile…but it never really sees the light of day. Maybe you log in once a year and tweak it slightly, or you log in regularly but don’t really “get” how to use it effectively.
That might be a mistake!
Professionals and business owners who don’t utilize their profiles are leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. You are missing out on incredible opportunities to network, form valuable partnerships, and maybe even find a new client or customer.
Ready to give LinkedIn another go with fresh eyes? Here are some things you can do to better utilize your account and profile.
Update Your URL
Did you know you can update your LinkedIn URL just like you can on other platforms? Taking this one step makes it easier for people to find you. Got to your main profile, click edit, and then look for the option to update your URL under your photo.
Try to use your first name and last name whenever possible. If that’s taken, add your middle initial or some sort of industry monicker. After all, it’s a lot easier to find Sachs Marketing Group or Eric Sachs (our owner) than it is to find Eric2347809.
Update Your Headline and Summary
Your little headline is going to follow you around LinkedIn, showing up everywhere you comment or post. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point, with a few concise words about what you specialize in. Save the longer description for your summary section, but try to have a little fun with it. You have a lot of space to talk about your accomplishments, but don’t let it read like a resume – inject it with a bit of personality!
Review Your Job Description
One of the biggest mistakes we see people make on LinkedIn is creating a profile with jobs – and then never updating their employment history again. We’ve received prompts from LinkedIn asking us to congratulate people on ___ number of years with a company we know they’re no longer working for. How awkward!
Make sure you treat your LinkedIn profile like a resume, keeping it up to date at all times. A three-month update schedule helps; otherwise, just update every time you experience a major change. This is also true for business accounts, too, if you keep a record of clients or partners.
One more thing: this advice applies whether you’ve moved on or not. Check from time to time to see if your responsibilities have changed and need to be updated. What you were doing on day one may be different at month six or year two. Do you have a new title or new responsibilities? Make sure they’re clear.
Clean Up Your Connections
Most people who started out on LinkedIn years ago tried to build a network of people they knew. Some of these individuals were just starting out, too, and we’re working on the same outdated advice (add as many people as you can).
This isn’t Facebook. There is no reason for you to be connected with some guy you haven’t seen since third grade unless you have something industry-specific in common. You don’t need to connect with your bestie or with your mom unless you’re confident they’re also using LinkedIn to create a proper business network. In those cases, the potential for a future connection is more important than your personal relationship.
You don’t have to accept every connection request you receive, either. Review the person’s profile, assess whether or not the connection has some quality, and consider sending a private message to the person before you make your final decision.
Actually Network with People
Let’s say you really want to work with a particular company but you aren’t sure who to connect with. Start by looking for the main business page and then follow it. You’ll likely see a list of people on LinkedIn who have noted they work for the company. Choose the ones at or near the level you’d like to network with and send a request.
Don’t send empty requests, though. Make sure you are doing your homework first. Let the person know that you’ve been following the brand on social, compliment something they’ve been doing, and let them know you’re interested in what they have coming up. This is not the time to send a sales pitch or babble on about yourself. Connect and let the content you publish speak for itself.
Check In Daily
Using the platform daily doesn’t mean you need to let it turn into a time-waster. Hop on, quickly skim your newsfeed, leave a couple of comments, share a piece you find relevant (with a thoughtful comment of your own), or create your own unique post. You can spend a little more time, but try to limit yourself to once or twice per week. That’s when you can spend more thoughtful time in group chats or publishing a full-length article right to your profile.
Publish Articles Regularly
The people networking with you on LinkedIn are looking to connect with people who stand out in their areas of expertise. Take advantage of the article publishing platform by regularly publishing opinion, news, or tutorial pieces at least a couple of times per month, if not weekly. People who appreciate your knowledge base will end up coming to you to do business, making the platform into a funnel for warm leads.
Keep an Eye on Video
As of right now, text content seems to do better on LinkedIn than any other format. This includes video content uploaded to the feed. LinkedIn is getting ready to roll out a “live” video function. We’ll be keeping an eye on how things progress and whether or not this format becomes more popular.
This new feature might not be live yet, but you can still use video on LinkedIn, even right now. Upload your videos to the site; just use YouTube or some other platform as the host. You’ll still enjoy the same benefits.
LinkedIn is a more serious social platform, but it’s a great place to have a lot of fun with industry leaders, too. Show off your knowledge (without acting cocky), be inviting and engaging, and be willing to give as much as you hope to take. Do your best to avoid sounding desperate, even if you are in need of quick work. Think of it like a microcosm of give and take; the more you give, the more you’ll get!