By MIKE GINGERICH
LinkedIn ranks among the top social media networks, and with more than 200 million professionals as on January 2013, it is the preferred “business to business” social channel. The site has recently added a number of new tools that enhance the experience, particularly for the average business user. These new tools unlock some great new potential that every LinkedIn user can integrate to strengthen their profile, networking opportunities, and their first impression.
With LinkedIn being a strong online calling card for you and your business, take time to review and update your LinkedIn profile with a review using this checklist:
Use a professional picture
The importance of images can never be understated in today’s digital age. Since LinkedIn is a “business focused” social network, this means the profile picture used for your personal LinkedIn page should be a business style personal image. This is not the place to bring over a profile picture of yourself that you used on Facebook from your last vacation! It is also not the place to use you’re your company logo! Your LinkedIn profile needs to be a picture of you in a business setting. LinkedIn is about business networking, so take time to review your profile picture and ensure it puts forward your best first impression.
Add digital media to profile
One of the biggest and best new changes in LinkedIn profiles was the addition of a series of new media features available to user profiles. These new opportunities bring more substance and visual power to user profiles. The new features enable users to turn profiles into something closer to a portfolio.
LinkedIn users can now include content such as photo galleries, PDF ebooks, videos, and slideshows in their profiles to showcase examples of their work experience and capabilities. Each item added is represented by a large image that adds some flair inside the users profile. It also offers visitors to a user profile a means to comment on the work.
These new rich media features allow job seekers to showcase their skills by adding a resume and visuals reflective of work they have done. Different media materials can be added to the summary and to each area of “Experience.” For other business professionals the new tools provide great opportunity to showcase products and services that they offer and represent. This section should be reviewed, maximized, and then kept up-to-date with new materials every few weeks or at least every few months. For directions, see: http://tabsite.com/blog/?p=1695.
Take advantage of summary
Many LinkedIn profiles underutilize the summary section, or worse, leave it blank. The summary section offers 2,000 characters, allowing users to tell a story, or provide viewers with a focused gist of what the profile is all about. It is also possible to offer links that lead visitors to relevant pages in this area. If nothing else, it offers space to add on to the experience, expertise, awards, and other achievements or credentials that you had begun adding above, and it adds an alternative location to add keywords that are relevant so that you can keep the headline focused and sharp.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations offer ability to have a “testimony” by others to your skill and expertise. Many LinkedIn profiles do not carry recommendations or endorsements by other LinkedIn users on their skills or areas of expertise, simply because it is optional. It is, however, an area to not ignore! Recommendations can make a profile a cut above the rest. Recommendations do not just lend credibility to the profile; it ensures better visibility as well.
Do not underestimate the importance of a comprehensive LinkedIn profile to enhance your, and your brand’s, profile in the social world. LinkedIn is really upping the game and becoming a content marketing source that offers tremendous value. For more items to review, see the full checklist here: http://mikegingerich.com/?p=1050.
Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.