Mastering LinkedIn: Top 10 Tips for Executives

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Dawn Bournand, Editor of the QS TopExecutive Guide, investigates and comes up with ten top tips for executives on mastering LinkedIn

Started nine short years ago in co-founder Reid Hoffman’s living room, LinkedIn is today one of the big four social media powerhouses (along with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) on the internet. With over 90+ million members as of early 2011, LinkedIn is a networking hub for professionals the world over and yet how to utilize this tool to its full potential remains a mystery to many executives. 

So you have decided you are ready to create or update your LinkedIn profile and start using one of the most powerful tools on the internet today, but where to start? With input from some of the world’s top social media experts, here are ten tips to get you on the path to success.

1. Get current – Although an obvious point, make sure that your profile is up to date. The first impression you make is through your profile so make it a good one. Head over to your profile right now and look at it through a stranger’s eyes. What impact does it make on you? If it is not what you want to be sharing with the world, change it.

2. Create a plan – Decide what you want out of the time you invest in LinkedIn. Is it to seek a new job, make new business connections, or spend time with like-minded people? If you are investing your precious time, make sure you have a goal in mind and then set about achieving it.

3. Open up to opportunities – Every new person you meet has a potential to help you and for you to help them. So open yourself to the idea of meeting people that you may not have thought of as being potential network connections.

4. Help others get what they want – International speaker Brian Tracey is known for saying, ‘The best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want’. Networking essentially means people cooperating to benefit one another through the exchange of opportunities, information and support. Why not get things flowing by offering a helping hand first?

5. Build your brand –Deb Dib, executive job search expert at Job-Hunt.org says “Building a LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to project a vibrant personal brand and value proposition while concurrently displaying your career impact, work history, education, and activities. In other words, everything that would appear on a resume—but packaged with an interest-attracting infusion of personality and passion.”

6. Be consistently active – Set aside a certain amount of time every day to dedicate to your LinkedIn activities. Lewis Howes, bestselling author of Linked Working, recommends 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at the end of the day. If you can only fit in 15 minutes a day though, that is fine just make sure you are keeping it up on a regular basis if you want to get the most out of your network.

7. Make, keep, re-establish connections – With millions of professionals to meet, chances are there are going to be some important connections for you to make on LinkedIn. Reach out to new people but don’t forget that reconnecting with former colleagues, classmates or long lost friends can be equally important to your professional advancement.

8. Use those status updates – Social media expert Ian Brodie suggests “Linkedin status updates are a nice way of helping to stay top of mind with contacts. If you were to call or email all your contacts any time you did something small but interesting, it would quickly become seen as pushy or spammy. But updating your status is a non-intrusive way of getting a gentle reminder out.” Also remember that your network follows your updates, so they are an effective way of putting yourself ‘out there’, especially if you are looking for a position or if you need help for a project you’re working on.

9. Be the initiator – Start a LinkedIn group. Don’t hesitate to take the lead. If you see that there is a need for a certain group to be started on LinkedIn, do it yourself. If on the other hand there is already a group on your chosen subject, become an active participant and get your name associated with that topic.

10. Ask and be asked – An often overlooked but valuable tool on LinkedIn is the Answers section. Take advantage of this area to not only gain the knowledge you seek but to also dispense the wisdom you have to help others.

Written by QS Blogger

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