Are Your LinkedIn Manners Sound?
LinkedIn may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but don't rule it out quite yet. This social network is one of the most underestimated social networks. If asked to describe what exactly it is you might hear, "It's like Facebook for business professionals". As vague as that may be it best describes the network. However, just because it is compared to Facebook doesn't mean it should be treated as such. Think of LinkedIn more as a online resume rather than "just another social network". LinkedIn not only can benefit you as a business professional, but as a company and generating leads.
Using proper LinkedIn etiquette can go along way whether it's for yourself or for your company. Follow these steps to optimizing your LinkedIn potential:
You have 5 seconds to make a first impression
You've got 5 seconds, what will you do with that valuable time? Start off your LinkedIn experience with yourself and setting up your account. Just like your web site or when you are meeting a potential client for the first time, your first impression can make or break the deal. Not only should you make sure your profile is completely filled out, but you should take into consideration the type of profile picture you want to use. Facebook and Twitter have the reputation to make it "normal" to post a picture of you on vacation, out with your friends and just having fun. Not the case with LinkedIn. Social Media Examiner, recommends using a nice, clean headshot. Show off your smile, have a clean background and have a clear view of your eyes. Also, make sure your photo is current! You also will have the option to have a vanity URL, although you may think this isn't necessary, it will make it easier for employers to find you. Take a tip from Social Media Delivered, and don't use a nickname. Use your actual name.
When providing your information, include keywords with your skill set so that employers are able to discover your profile. Include information as if you were designing your resume. Your profile will act as an online resume.
Get "LinkedIn" with your connections
Once you have set up your profile, everything is filled out and you have a great photo, start connecting with colleagues and classmates. Unlike Facebook, don't feel like you have to connect with anyone and everyone. It is ok to deny a request. When sending requests to other users be sure to personalize the request. Sure, LinkedIn offers generated request responses, but they can be edited. Top Dog Social Media considers this to be one of the most valuable forms of LinkedIn etiquette when making connections. Think of it this way, would you rather receive a response that says
"To Whom This May Concern" or no greeting at all over receiving a message that is personalized with your name. You'd rather see/hear your own name. Adding even just the slightest personal touch shows that you do care and aren't being lazy.
Network and Get Involved
You need to make connections, get involved with LinkedIn groups! Just like high school and college extra-curricular activities, groups look great. Not only do they look great but you can learn from other professionals and make new connections. Use groups as a soundboard or as a great conversation starter. Groups allow you to make new connections and network with other professionals, according to Slice Works.
When it comes to LinkedIn, don't think of it as just another social network, there is good value to the network vs other social networks. Facebook and Twitter have reputations of being the "fun" social networks where people tend to air out dirty laundry. These networks can be professional but are usually not kept that way. With LinkedIn, users are more likely to keep things professional. If there is one tip that you must walk away with when it comes to this network it would be keeping things professional. From your photo to your profile information or to the groups you choose to join, keep a professional mindset at all times and you will see great success from this social network.