Just like in real life, internet users are experiencing social networks in a circular structure. The largest circle symbolizes the largest social network, the one that is open to everyone (or Facebook, if you will). Inside this circle are the smaller communities, the ones that essentially target a smaller crowd, but a crowd with some kind of common grounds. By definition, these communities will never attract a large enough following to threaten the biggest circle, but that’s ok because that’s not what they’re about. These communities are going after niche markets.
One of the largest niche networks is LinkedIn, a community for “Professionals”. It allows users to utilize the social platform as a work tool. Uhm… but we all can use something like that so where’s the niche here, right? Well, LinkedIn is most effective for professionals of the the so-called “free professions”. Even though they do have a category for farming, I’m not sure it’s really the best spot for farmers to promote themselves online (will be more than happy to stand corrected).
Still, LinkedIn is attracting more and more types of professionals. A few years back, it was mainly dominated by marketing experts, programmers or web entrepreneurs. Nowadays, it is a relevant site for real estate, health care, human resources and many other fields of occupation. If you read further, you will get an idea of how, if at all, can LinkedIn help you promote yourself and your business website.
You Are Your Work
Accounts in LinkedIn are personal accounts that contain business information. It’s like an online CV, connecting you both with potential employers and with colleagues and partners that can vouch for you as a professional. This means that the focus is on you, not on the business that you own or work for.
This is great for people who ARE their own business – freelance designers, consultants, photographers, developers and so forth. For these kinds of professionals, LinkedIn is like a smart business card. The people you get in touch with on LinkedIn, your “Connections”, are an expanding pool of job offers. They can connect you with key players or write a recommendation for you.
The personal profile contains contact info, professional and educational experience, specialties, interests as well as links to external websites, like your Wix site. It doesn’t contain all the other things you would usually find in a social network – photo albums (the profile has one photo, which is usually of a representative nature), videos, comments, etc. They don’t mix business and pleasure over at LinkedIn – of all social networks, this is probably the least casual one.
Tips for Writing a Killer LinkedIn Profile
Your successful LinkedIn profile would have:
- A pleasant photo. Not too serious, not too preppy, not too fancy. Choose a photo you feel comfortable enough showing a future employer.
- A rather detailed account of your current and past positions. You should have at least three positions, however, don’t write down every position you ever held just to boast. Just like with a regular CV, remove positions that you believe to be completely irrelevant or even harmful.
- Recommendations are a very vital part of the profile. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a recommendation from your connections. They probably would want to get yours in return.
- LinkedIn profiles are very homogenous in their nature. It is advised to link from your profile to a personal website, where you can better exhibit your services or products. You can also link to your profiles on other networks.
- The Specialties and Summary fields are an opportunity to articulate in your own words the advantages you can bring in into a work environment. They help focus your profile viewers on your core traits as a professional. Keep it brief but interesting. Don’t get too technical (unless your qualifications require that).
- Along with the regular fields, LinkedIn offers additional fields for publications, patents, awards, events, lawyer ratings and so forth. It’s a great idea to lighten up the standard LinkedIn profile with these nice extras, but don’t overload your profile or the most important information will be easy to miss.
On the next part of this post, I’ll discuss additional LinkedIn features you could use to drive your professional profile forward. Stay tuned for more information about group networking, company profiles, direct ads and more!