This post was originally contributed for the Social Media Week – New York 2012 blog and was published on December 9, 2011.
I’d like to offer some point-counterpoint commentary on a topic matter that currently occupies a lot of my physical and mental energy consumption: how to optimally leverage your LinkedIn network to land, as I affectionately like to call a “full-time position with benefits.” A Job-Job. While I am currently enjoying my flexible schedule freelancing for various Manhattan start-ups as both social media strategist and sales manager, I am really after that Job-Job. As a social media enthusiast, I am hell-bent on finding ways to optimize my usage of LinkedIn to get ahead and land that ideally suited position.
I recently stumbled upon a really interesting infographic (because seriously, what infographics have you come across that weren’t interesting?) billed as the LinkedIn Boot Camp (praise you Mashable and Pete Cashmore!). It immediately sparked a barrage of pre-conceived opinions I possessed about this social networking site. I decided to take the time to offer a bit of a point-counterpoint analysis on this, largely spot-on piece outlining nine ways to best take advantage of the site’s functionality and features. Note: please excuse the somewhat corn-ball ‘boot camp’ metaphors that each point leads with; they were MindShare.com’s, not this author’s, choice of vernacular.
● Point #1 – Core Conditioning: Completing Your Profile – This is a no-brainer, baseline action item that you should check-off your LinkedIn To Do list as soon as possible. From an SEO perspective, completing your profile in full is a crucial component of managing your own personal brand. To be more transparent, as the infographic accurately points out, your LinkedIn profile will consistently index as a top 5, first page search result when you, or more importantly, potential clients and future employers, “Google you” in search for more information on your background. So get on this…pronto!
● Point #2 – Endurance: Connect with Everyone – I’m not sure that I fully agree with this. Yes, direct connections are integral to building your network and, in turn, would presumably improve your ability to leverage said network for both business lead generation and professional opportunities. That said, you should not dismiss the very clearly stated message that LinkedIn champions each and every time you reach out to ‘LinkIn’ with someone (yes, the term has become a verb); that is, it is not best practice to connect with someone you do not know at all or, more specifically, someone who has very little to do with the professional space that you occupy. Every generic, rather innocuous LinkedIn invitation that I receive from someone I have never met in my life just makes me feel like I’m being ambushed by some obnoxious telemarkterer. So unless you have some affinity for bantering with telemarketing folk, I would steer clear of this spammy-practice.
● Point #3 – Guns & Ammo: Customize Your URL and Websites –Like point #1, this is another ‘no-brainer’ that needs to be at the very top of your To Do checklist, not only for SEO purposes but for ensuring that your profile maintains a clean look and feel. After all, you are the keeper and protector of your own personal brand, a brand that I contend is the most important out there (lo siento Starbucks…).
Hope these first three points were a helpful start to all of you savvy, social networkers out there. Here’s to hoping your next step is your LinkedIn page. Stay tuned for the second half of this point-counterpoint LinkedIn discussion…
● 6 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation (hubspot.com)
● Want more for your business? Say something nice, and say it on LinkedIn (marketing.yell.com)
● How to Find New Clients via LinkedIn (xemion.com)
● Career Networking Etiquette in the Facebook Age (blogher.com)
● LinkedIn Nets Relationships (wiredprworks.com)
● Facts About LinkedIn That May Surprise You (community.constantcontact.com)
● Link: Nine Ways To Use LinkedIn To Advance Your Career – Susan Adams (forbes.com)
● Creating a Successful LinkedIn Group with Smart Content (community.constantcontact.com)
● 4 Genius Ways to Use LinkedIn Group Statistics for Lead Gen (hubspot.com)