Your 5-minute Linked In Profile Check-Up for the new year

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I love Linked In and consider it a corner stone of my marketing to my commercial photography clients and prospects. It’s a form of ‘online networking’ that goes hand-in-hand with face-to-face networking. It’s also a great way to stay in people’s minds, to demonstrate your knowledge and to let people know about your current projects and special offers.

But not everyone feels this way about Linked In, and I often hear clients and friends say, ‘I’m on there, but what now?’

If you’ve just joined Linked In the best thing to do is to follow the prompts provided to you when you log in, to start increasing your sphere. But if you’ve been on there a while and just want to spruce up your profile page and the quality of your interactions in the new year, these tips might be useful for you.

On your profile page

  • Linked In now makes it easy to ensure all areas of your profile are up to date – just log in, go to your profile page and follow the prompts!
  • Business owners: Have you created a company page as well as your personal page? Click the Companies title on the top toolbar and you will see a prompt to start your own page. Here you can be more specific about your business and include general information, products and services, job offerings and specials. Don’t forget to add your logo! View ours: http://www.linkedin.com/company/new-work-photography
  • Get some recommendations! Hover over the Profile title at the top toolbar and click on Recommendations. Here you can manage existing recommendations, as well as locate your clients on Linked In, sending them a message to ask for a testimonial. You can also write some for others, not only helping them out but increasing your visibility on other pages! But… always be specific and genuine in your recommendations – they reflect back on you.

Extending your circle of influence

  • When you first log in, do a quick scan of the notifications down your home page. If you see anything interesting, click on the link and like or comment now and then. You can also share the link on your own page or on other social media such as Twitter. I also sometimes bookmark articles to read later or to share with my newsletter readers or on my blog (acknowledging and linking to the source, of course!)
  • You can click on Contacts – Add Connections to start searching for people you already know to connect to
  • Follow other people and companies. Click on Profile – Following to see recommendations about who to follow or just click ‘Follow’ when you see it near a person or company that interests you, on any page
  • At the top right of the home page, Linked In gives you suggestions of people you may know – if you do, you can connect with them here
  • The right sidebar also gives you suggestions for discussion groups you may like and companies you may like to follow. Discussion groups are a great way to connect with people, learn and share your knowledge. It builds credibility and respect… when you go easy on the sales talk!

And the photo…

Last year I was invited to participate in a Linked In presentation run by the Graduate Management Association of UWA. I was asked to be a consultant for the visual aspects of the Linked In profile, allowing participants a chance to bring up their profile on my laptop and receive a quick critique and some suggestions for their profile pic.

I was impressed by people’s willingness to have their Linked In photo critiqued – after all, it’s not easy to have someone point out what’s wrong with a photo of your own face! But it was a great opportunity to chat not only about weaknesses but also strengths in the choice of photo people made, and to get the chance to see them in real life and come up with on-the-spot ideas of what might work for them – for their face, general appearance and personal brand. One guy had a real arty look and I could just see his profile in black and white against a grainy wall. Another had a youthful, friendly appearance in his funky t-shirt and suit jacket, and I suggested using this look to stand out online, rather than the standard suit-and-tie which was not necessary for his brand.

Some general trends and tips that came from this session on improving your profile photo on Linked In:

  • Photograph should have a plain background, a soft-focus (blurred) background or a very simple background
  • Photo should be head and shoulders and should finish below shoulders. This gives enough of a closeup to see your face without looking cut off at the chin!
  • Wearing a suit and tie is not absolutely necessary. Consider what suits your brand, and as a general rule wear something you feel confident in that is appropriate to wear when meeting a new client or prospect
  • Creativity teamed with professionalism is good
  • Good lighting is essential. Try to use diffused light to soften shadows
  • Cropping a photo of you out of a group shot taken in a social situation is NOT ok – it’s obvious you’ve looked for an easy way out and it cheapens your image! Who wants that??

By the way… if you’re thinking the photo isn’t important, think again! It’s the first thing everyone looks at, and you know what they say about first impressions.

Some warnings

  • When requesting to connect with people, don’t click on ‘Friend’ if they are not your friend! In some cases Linked In allows you to message people you don’t know (such as people who are in a discussion group with you) so you can try to reach them that way first. It does nothing for your credibility to connect under false pretences.
  • Linked In now gives you the option to receive more detailed insights into who is viewing your page… but beware: if you choose to see details of who is viewing your page, your details will also be shown to others when you view THEIR page! If you want to do this, go to Edit Profile, scroll down and choose Customize Visibility
  • Keep your network of high quality by only accepting invitations to connect with people you either know, have heard of, or are genuinely interested in knowing more about. It’s for your own good… or you’ll end up getting spam from all over the world in your Linked In message inbox!

And finally, the BEST Linked In tips I can give

  • Allocate an hour or two the first time (actually schedule it in your diary and do it when you say you will – that’s the hardest bit!) to do some polishing of your profile page and some exploring around Linked In. You may want to jot down some follow-up ideas
  • After that, allocate a little bit of time EVERY week to Linked In, and you will very quickly see your circle of influence increase… and as you get better, you may start really enjoying being on Linked In!

Have fun 😉

 

Thanks to Mike Conway Promotions and Social Divas, our wonderful clients pictured here

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