LinkedIn has become one of the most used social sites amongst professionals world-wide. Everyone is looking to connect and network. Keeping an up to date profile not only helps to position yourself better within the professional world, but it can also be used to advance the networking and presence of the company you currently work for.
Make it Pretty
Before you try any sort of networking, the most important thing is that all of the information on your profile is up to date. This includes your employment history, skills, education, and connections. The best way to approach this is the same way you would approach updating your resume. You want to keep it as current as possible. This allows for you to paint a picture of not only what you have done, but what you’re doing currently. There is nothing worse than trying to gain information regarding a potential connection and their page is either out of date or practically empty. Be sure to provide a good summation of your employment and educational background. Making sure that you are up to date with your current connections is equally important because your connections can play a huge role in who you talk to and what opportunities you are presented with. While it should go without saying, updating your profile picture to one that is professional and appropriate is another detail that helps with the success of your continued marketing via LinkedIn. Crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s with your profile provides a nice package for potential new connections to see and evaluate. It helps with marketing your current employer in that, as an extension of that company, you are presenting yourself in a professional and organized way.
When using LinkedIn on behalf of your company, I would advise picking your area of expertise and marketing within that community. While you might possess a wide range of skills and areas of expertise, choosing to focus on networking within the area that you perform daily within the company you work for will solidify you as the company expert or representative for that area of expertise. For instance, if your marketing specialist has also been a graphic designer, you would want them to focus on networking within the marketing groups and community on the site. Yes they have other skills and experience, but their major role currently within the company is that of a marketing expert. Having everyone connecting online within their specialization not only helps to solidify their role as a department representative for the company, but it also helps to span the company’s total reach through several different areas, rather than the general industry of that company.
Now the fun part begins. Once you have updated everything and determined your focused are of expertise (for the company anyway), now you need to start connecting. One of the best ways to do this is to get involved in groups and discussions. Join groups within your selected expertise. Once in those groups, pick a few and start participating in discussions. I wouldn’t choose more than 4 or 5 to participate in weekly only because it can become time consuming. Group discussion can not only be used for problem solving purposes like finding a recommendation for an open position within your company, but they also help with information sharing. Sharing your knowledge and using the knowledge of those group members’ helps you learn and expand you understanding. It also helps to build relationships and connections organically. You don’t want to be that person that only connects to get something. By sharing your knowledge, you provide a picture and insight into what you are capable of which in turn leads to people wanting to connect with you. Share your current questions within the discussion and help other by providing solutions or tactics you use within your company. This builds the foundation for a further connection, and possibly future business, between you and other group members.