Popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great for connecting with friends and family to keep up to date on their social life, but is it ideal for connecting with industry professionals?
LinkedIn is an online platform for individuals to showcase their experience and network with others to gain credibility within their industry. It is a necessity for any individual who wants to enhance their professional profile, from graduates who are kick-starting their career to professionals who have been in the industry for years.
University graduates use LinkedIn to create a name for themselves and network with organisations to become familiar with who is in the industry. Whilst, professionals with years of experience in the workforce predominately use LinkedIn as a platform to create and maintain credibility by posting statuses, images and videos, and sharing articles. LinkedIn is also used by many to observe what their competitors are doing and who they are connecting with. It is a versatile social media platform that every industry professional should use.
There are key features to take advantage of on LinkedIn to increase network growth and engage with high profiled people.
Grow Your LinkedIn Network
Would an industry leading professional connect with you if you didn’t have a profile picture, had limited connections and no endorsed skills? The answer is probably no. It is extremely important to spend time creating a detailed profile and showcase your experience. Tell people who you are, what you do, where you currently work and where you previously worked, and your skills. Your profile acts as an accessible and short snippet resume.
However unlike resumes, you must have a profile picture on LinkedIn. It is suggested to have a corporate style head shot. But try to avoid the stock standard white background and suit profile look, try taking a head shot in a more natural environment to give your profile page personality.
After setting up your profile page you are ready to grow your network. Connect with people who you currently work with and who you have previously worked with as these people can endorse your skills which gives you credibility – very similar to a reference on a resume. However, there is no limit to the endorsement function, you can receive over 100 connections endorse one skill, giving you a high level of credibility.
After meeting professionals at work functions it is a good idea to connect with them on LinkedIn to maintain the connection, particularly if you think there is a possibility of collaborating with the individual or company in the future. Your LinkedIn profile is now an online directory for you to engage with your network.
Engage With Your LinkedIn Network
There are numerous ways to engage with your network, from posting status updates, joining and participating in groups, liking and sharing pictures and videos. All these features of LinkedIn are to be used weekly to keep up to date in ever-changing industries. However, there are a few features you may not be using.
If you or your organisation communicates with businesses overseas and speak a different language, LinkedIn is the perfect place to introduce yourself as you can create additional profiles in different languages. Similarly, if you are seeking to expand your team into the international industry, LinkedIn can assist you to reach people in the emerging markets. Therefore, LinkedIn is an online network to showcase your talent and source others talents whether that’s from Australia or from China.
You can search any industry professional who has created an account by searching their name, company, location or keyword, such as a job title. Through LinkedIn you can find the people you need to collaborate with, whether they’re in Beijing, Melbourne or New York. It is not a surprise that LinkedIn is becoming a new recruitment tool where businesses are increasingly employing professionals without hiring a recruitment agency.
The third feature to engage with industry professionals is through publishing blog articles. As a professional you can write content based on your expertise and publish blogs on your personal profile. By utilising three tags that are relevant to your content, any professional who searches the same or similar phrase in the keyword search bar can access your blog article.
If your article receives enough traction, then LinkedIn favours your writing and publishes it to LinkedIn Pulse – a platform within LinkedIn that provides professionals with current tips and how to’s in the industry, opinion pieced articles and important business news. Having a blog article published in Pulse means that you are recognised within your industry as a leader and expert in the field. Yet simply writing blogs reinforces authenticity and not promotion of you or your organisation, you look less robotic and more approachable as a reliable professional.
LinkedIn is more than just making connections with other business professionals, it has become a one-stop-shop for communicating thoughts, ideas, experience, and updated industry information on a conversational and interactive platform.