So you have your website, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account... but do you have a LinkedIn account? And if you do, are you keeping it up to date?
Recently, I've noticed a lot more engagement taking place within the platform, such as sharing of content, commenting and activity within discussion groups. LinkedIn has really shifted over the past year from being a tool for job-seekers to a tool for networking and content discovery.
Creating new, relevant connections is a great benefit from using LinkedIn, and for start-up businesses the ability to connect with potential partners, investors, suppliers and customers is second to none.
Here are my top five tips for using LinkedIn:
- Upload a profile picture
This one should be obvious, but the number of profiles I see without a photo is astounding. When using a platform where building relationships is key, you should humanise your profile with a picture, just as you would Facebook or Twitter. Ensure that the photo you choose fits the professional nature of LinkedIn and clearly shows your face (head and shoulders is ideal).
- Don't use your job title as your headline
Sell yourself and your capabilities by expanding here. For example, 'Eco-friendly Product Specialist, Homewares Designer and Owner at eHome Design' is better than just 'Owner at eHome Design'.
Sometimes your headline and name will be the only thing a person sees while they're browsing LinkedIn – make sure you capitalise on the space you get here.
- Join groups
Networking is one of the greatest strengths of using LinkedIn and this is a great place to start. Groups also stimulate great debate and conversations, a fantastic way of staying in the loop within your industry or area of interest.
There are also plenty of small business groups which will connect you with other entrepreneurs.
The ability to learn from their knowledge and experience is invaluable. And you don't even have to leave your desk to go to a networking event!
- Share useful and relevant content
Position yourself as a subject matter expert by sharing content on your LinkedIn profile that is interesting and relevant. For example, the Owner of eHome Design would share an article about the importance of not having chemicals in the home. If you create your own original content (e.g. you have a blog) you can be posting this as well as sharing third-party content.
- Keep your profile current and login regularly!
A LinkedIn profile is not a resume any more, as it might once have seemed. It should be a living, breathing representation of your professional life that is constantly being updated and tended to.
One of my biggest tips is that the first thing you should do after a business meeting is connect with those who were present on LinkedIn. Aim to share content or participate in group discussions 2-3 times a week. You will be amazed with the value of the connections you make and information you acquire.
Have you made any valuable connections for your business through LinkedIn?
Lauren Ridgway is MYOB's social media manager. With a marketing background, Lauren lives and breathes social media, communications and customer experience. Also a qualified workplace trainer, Lauren regularly speaks at conferences and delivers workshops. She shares her social media experiences and insights with Women's Agenda sister site StartupSmart.