Lauren’s LinkedIn

Having done LinkedIn profiles for several clients, I was asked to give a little presentation on LinkedIn to a little networking group to which I belong. I am all for repurposing, so here are some of my insights:

1. What/Why/How

LinkedIn is basically an online resume, minus the detail. Yes, you need a LinkedIn profile, especially if you don’t have a website. (If you do have a website, be sure to include the URL.) Potential clients and contacts often look first to LinkedIn for information when deciding about you.

Easy to fill out; just answer all the questions and fill in the blanks. Whether you include a photo is up to you; many different opinions. Do write a good, solid summary statement, which should be some version of your regular branding statement (told you I like repurposing). Don’t have a branding statement? Consider hiring a professional experienced with doing these things (hmm, such as whom?) to help you develop one.

2. LinkedIn vs. Facebook

LinkedIn is for business contacts; Facebook is for personal contacts. Exception is if you have a Facebook profile for your business that is separate from your personal profile. Don’t be Facebook friends with your business-only contacts. A friend, who is one of the best networkers I have ever met, shared with me her criterion for accepting a Facebook friend request: “Would I happily climb into a hot tub with them?”

3. Building your network

The goal is not to get the most people in your network; the goal is to get the most valuable people in your network. If you would not consider meeting them for coffee or going to their office, don’t make them part of your network.

4. Using your network

Search for connections to companies, by geography, industry, etc. The closer the degree of separation (1 means you know them; 2 means someone you know knows them; 3 means you know someone who knows someone who knows them), the better you’ll feel about asking for an introduction.

5. Recommendations

Yes, make them. It’s often considered good etiquette to write a recommendation for someone who has provided one for you. That’s how you can increase your number of recommendations without directly asking for them. But if you feel comfortable asking, do so.

5. Groups, Updates, etc.

Yes, join groups in which you might be interested. Yes, update your status when you feel like doing so. Yes, joining discussions can lead to better contacts and networks and, potentially, make you a thought leader or expert.

6. InMail

InMail lets you get introduced to people outside your network (for a fee). I have heard people speak who swear by this as a way to build business. It’s the modern equivalent of cold-calling.

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