Why would I ever care about LinkedIn?
I hear this a lot. Here’s my basic response to skeptics or newbies: (See the end of the post for two real LinkedIn gurus!)
Think of LinkedIn as Facebook without a sense of humor...
LINK: I use it to connect (and get on the radar) with potential clients and creative peers. I've made some great business connections this way.
POSITION: For example, making sure people KNOW you are a writer, or a _______. It's SO important to position yourself CONFIDENTLY, CREDIBLY, and CLEARLY.
Your personal brand must be represented in the PHOTO you choose, and articulated clearly in your HEADLINE. After your brand photo and headline are established, it’s time to start connecting with others.
BE A PRO: Watch for the occasional emails from LinkedIn offering a 30 day free Premium membership, and use this offer to its fullest potential (cancel at day 29 if you'd like, but the features might be worthwhile for you). You’ll be able to find, message, and connect with VIP’s in your arena with this expanded access.
SEARCH: LinkedIn has a great "advanced search" function that really helps target best connections (by city, company, expertise, etc.) and the Premium account give you access to more features like "InMail" which allow you to message people, and include your web site in the message.
(Another question I often get is, “Why do you so many ALL CAPS?”...)
You only get one chance at a first impression, so make sure your BRAND and VALUE PROPOSITION are clear (what you offer and why you're awesome), then you can confidently connect with new prospects.
NO SOLICITING: "Selling" is frowned upon in LinkedIn-ville. This is about building win-win business relationships. Your connection requests should have more than just the default text ("I'd like to add you...") and NOT feel like a sales pitch.
Take time to learn about the person you'd like to connect with. Be creative, thoughtful, and generous in your connection requests.
GROUPS: This may be the best part of LinkedIn! Much like Facebook groups, they let you connect on a more conversational level.
WEB: Don’t forget to add the LinkedIn icon/link to your web site. Some people actually prefer connecting this way.
LinkedIn is a way to "Position" yourself in a way that’s attractive to potential clients. Take some time to look around, get your profile polished, and dive in.
Guru alert! (They might not even agree with me…)
And a great book by new friend, Becca Ludlum: http://everythingbuttheposts.com/
And wait, there’s more!
Build “Company Pages”: http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/whats-new.html
Connect with me on LinkedIn here.