How to Get Up to Speed on Linked In

Photo by Jpctalbot

Linked In has been around for a while now, but it appears to have hit a a tipping point recently with well over 20 Million people on the free online networking tool.

According to the statistics, over 47 thousand people were added to my network…just in the last day!  My network consists of my direct links and 2 levels below that (3 degrees of separation).

What does that mean?  It means that a tool that’s been useful so far is only going to become more useful and that pace is picking up.  It means that now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and start taking advantage of the opportunities.

Background on using Linked In

To start with, Linked In isn’t going to replace face to face networking.

What it can do is make that networking more effective and give you more ways to connect with people, let people understand who you are and what you’re doing and more ways to share your connections with others.

The good news is that using the tool doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  You should invest some quality time up front getting things set up, but after that it’s something you could just check every now and then and use when it makes sense.

Having said that, the usefulness is directly proportional to how many quality connections you have in your network (note – for most people it’s all about quality, there are some situations i.e. recruiters, where quantity is more important but that’s the exception in my opinion).  So investing some time in building your network is probably worthwhile.

Building your network doesn’t have to be difficult, start with people that you are already running into on a regular basis and build it from there.  5 or 6 people a week would get you 60+ in 3 months.

Getting Set Up

First, make sure you’ve got all of your email addresses added into your profile.

(go to Account & Settings – upper right hand corner of page on the navigation bar, from there click on Email Addresses).

This is important because your accountant is keyed by your email address and if someone invites you on an email address that’s not in the system (and you accept it without noticing) you will end up with multiple accounts.  The only way to fix multiple accounts (at least for now) is to have Linked In delete one of them and then manually combine whatever you lost.

Next – establish or fill in your profile.  The profile is the most important part of your account, it’s how people will find you, how they’ll understand who you are and what you do and it’s your chance to market yourself and your business.

Here are some quick ideas for filling out your profile:

  • Add a picture (of you preferably) – it adds a lot of credibility and really helps people remember who you are.
  • Treat this as a marketing piece – it should be factual and accurate, but just like your resume it should reflect you in a positive and professional way.
  • Put enough history and background to be useful, but don’t put every last detail.  Summarize and focus on the best stuff.
  • You’ve got up to 2000 characters for the summary, so use them if you need to.  This is a great place to make sure you cover your most important Keywords (for searchability) – although you’ve got to do that in a useful and readable way.
  • Make sure that you’ve turned everything ‘on’ in your public profile.  The point is to let people know who you are and what you’re about. 

Last point on the setup – get some recommendations on your profile.  The best way to do this is to recommend people that you know, like and trust (and vice versa).  More than likely they will return the favor.

If you’re interested in more ideas and details – go to Aspire – Linked In and look for the link to download the Getting Started Guide or register for one of the Linked In workshops.

Are you on Linked In?  Introduce yourself and maybe we can get connected.

Shawn Kinkade