Monday, January 16, 2017

The Ten Commandments of LinkedIn

by Mike Shelah
Mike Shelah Consulting
2017 VRPS Management Conference Session Speaker
"The ABC's of LinkedIn"

LinkedIn is THE BEST platform on the planet for developing business contacts, identifying new customers and finding your dream job. What I have seen in my ten+ years of using the platform is, while many people have a profile, only a small percentage of people actually optimize it. Today I will review my top ten for optimizing LinkedIn. I will skip the whole “Thou Shalt” part, for the rest of the post.

I know; it’s a little heavy handed. Yet, I am amazed at the number of people who have an inappropriate picture or worse, no picture at all. I could go into all the examples of what a bad picture looks like, but in the interest of time, I will simply say, make the $100 investment and get a pro to take your pic and be sure to update it every 3-5 years. If you do not know a photographer, LinkedIn is chock full of them, search for one in your area that is well recommended.

If you think of LinkedIn like a search engine (think Google or Bing) then you begin to understand the importance of keywords. By default, LinkedIn will load your latest job title into your headline (which appears right next to your profile picture).  I recommend creating a list of 20 keywords that people would use to find you. Think of it like that gameshow “Family Feud.” The top five answers are on the board and you need to guess what they are. Keywords are so important that I will tell you to use and reuse them throughout your entire profile.

This section is often missed by people creating a LinkedIn profile. First, the more sections you add to your profile, the higher you show up in LinkedIn search rankings. Adding this section will help. Second, this section is a great place to add more keywords. Specifically, it should be written in the first person and should be conversational. It is not meant to read like your resume. Tell the world why you do what you do. And please do not describe yourself as “a seasoned and dynamic professional team player.”

This is another section commonly missed and used incorrectly. Simply put, make it easy for people to contact you. Include an email and a phone number. This is a great spot to use some more keywords. I suggest creating an email address just for LinkedIn (to keep it separate from the rest) and you can get a free phone number from google voice to protect the privacy of your other phone numbers.

If you don’t have some, get some. Find a cause you care about and give them some of your time. It is a great way to network and lets people know a bit about you as a person.

Like the volunteer section, this lets people know the things you care about, that make you a person and not just another name. You can use keywords here. This section should be a mix of personal and professional.

These sections finish telling your story. They give the reader some perspective and scope of who you are as a person. These can apply to personal and professional as well

Regardless of the level of education ( or where it is from) adding this section helps you move up the LinkedIn search rankings and can help convey your expertise in a certain field or industry.

LinkedIn groups are incredibly powerful. They allow you to connect with likeminded people and share content. It also allows you to position yourself as an industry expert by asking and answering question in the “Conversations” section. Most groups will also allow you to post job openings in your company. You can join up to 100 groups.

This is the biggest miss. Once you have built a great profile (which should take 1-2 hours) daily maintenance of your account should only take 15-20 minutes ( and I know you spend at least that much time on Facebook). You want to respond to connection requests, check daily updates ( new job, anniversary, birthday, new blog posts) and respond to any LinkedIn messages you have received.

There is much more we can discuss about LinkedIn and what a powerful tool it is. I wanted to try and keep this brief. If you start doing these things today, you will be amazed at the positive results in just a couple weeks. I love talking about this subject. If you want to contact me about LinkedIn or any of my other subjects including: sales, leadership, public speaking, and training, please contact me directly and ask away or 443-808-1670

Mike Shelah will be speaking at 2017 Virginia Recreation Park Society Management Conference to be held February 26-28.  Learn more here.