Getting Started with LinkedIn
First of all you will need a front-facing, professional photograph, with minimal background ‘noise’. It is perfectly acceptable to get your hair and make up done before you have the picture taken. After all, you want to show yourself if the best possible light, right? And don’t forget to smile!
LinkedIn is affiliated with Google, therefore you will need to write your profile with search engines in mind. Your headline is a key part of this. Use short, informative phrases separated with the | symbol to help you pack in as much information as possible.
Use the summary section to let people know what you are really all about. They will probably decide to read on based on this section so make it informative and passionate. What you can do (ideally results you can achieve), who you do it for (your target audiences) and why you are so good at it (your skills, knowledge and experience).
Keep your profile up to date with fresh content. Update regularly with news about your sector and even the assignment that you are working on. This is a great way to share useful resources that your peers may be interested in, and it is also an ideal place to share any articles you write, awards and achievements. These updates will automatically be notified to all your connections and keep you front of mind with people who may be able to give you work.
Get recommendations from as many relevant people as you can. Don’t just get them to write what a ‘nice’ person you are, but get them also to think about what you helped them achieve. Write testimonials for others who have done a great job for you.
Start by all means with your current contacts. Most of them will already be on LinkedIn. The real beauty of platforms such as LinkedIn is the exponential growth in the number of people you can reach through your contacts or your contacts’ contacts (referred to as ‘degrees of separation’). Don’t just connect with as many as possible, but target those you would really like to connect with. Search by company name or a person’s name that you are targeting and then you’ll see a potential route for getting a warm introduction to them.
We advise you not to use the ‘import contacts’ function. This will invite everyone on your contact list to LinkedIn, even if they are already registered under a different email address to the one you hold for them. It is much better practice to be selective about who you invite to connect, and personalise your invitation to connect with them (perhaps referring to the last time you met and mentioning why you would like to connect with them).
Join groups and get involved in discussions
Find relevant groups. There are countless groups on LinkedIn that are of particular relevance to SMEs. Additionally, you may wish to join the specialist recruiters’ LinkedIn groups to keep up to date with latest job vacancies and it is always a good idea to join groups that focus on your particular sector and function.
Ideally, get involved in discussion groups where your target markets ‘meet’ and get involved in answering or posing questions that are of interest to them. Following these discussions is a great way of identifying the key issues that concern them (and ways that you can offer your services to help them!).
You may simply wish to join certain groups to keep abreast of issues that interest you. Remember that you can ‘unjoin’ groups any time, thus avoiding the email ‘digests’ that arrive in your inbox every so often (these can also be turned off or their frequency adjusted in your account settings).
Groups are also a great way to find out about available job roles. Every group has a ‘Jobs’ tab, in which recruiters and clients can post LinkedIn sponsored jobs (paid adverts), or free ‘job discussions’. Be sure to check these pages every so often, especially in niche groups that apply to your sector.
Remember, time is money
Lastly, keep your time spent on LinkedIn to a minimum. Spend time creating a great profile and connecting with important people in your network. Allot a small amount of time each day (we recommend no more than 30 minutes each morning) to connect, read, comment and update, so that you stay in touch with your network.