3 Top LinkedIn Tips

LinkedIn MobileDo you have a LinkedIn account that you rarely (or ever) use?  If so, you’re in good company.

LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool to help you build your personal brand, but many people don’t use it because they don’t know where to start.

Like thousands of other professionals, I had a LinkedIn account that was gathering dust.  I was confused about just what to do with it and didn’t have time to figure it out. Until I met Crystal Thies of CrystlaClearBuzz.

Crystal is a LinkedIn consultant and social media strategist who helps individuals and companies get the most from this powerful networking tool.  I first met her last Fall when she worked with me one-on-one to help me develop a profile that matched my business objectives.  Later I attended one of her webinars then saw her speak at a regional WordCamp.  Each time I came away with some solid ideas including how to use my LinkedIn profile to increase web traffic and links to our web site.

She was kind enough to share some of her top tips for using LinkedIn.  Here they are:

1. Headline

Your headline is crucial because it is the only thing that will set you apart in a list of names from a search.  Search results only list a few pieces of information – name, geographic information, and this headline.  So it has to stand out and say, “Pick Me!”
Your headline should accomplish two things.  First, it tells people what you do from a functional standpoint.  Second, it tells people who you serve – your target market.  If you have space, you want to try and fit in some performance results.  However, LinkedIn only gives you 120 characters.

2. Growing Your 1st Degree

The power of LinkedIn is in the 2nd and 3rd degree.  However, to get to the 2nd and 3rd degree, you have to have a significant 1st degree of people you know, trust, and who would be willing to introduce you.  The quickest and easiest way to get your connection base growing is by using the Import Contacts function.  This function will automatically import your connections from the most common webmail programs.  If you use Outlook or another CRM then you manually upload it as a comma separated values file (CSV).  Warning, after you have exported your contacts, pop the CSV file into Excel and remove all fields except First Name, Last Name, and Email Address.  The additional fields will confuse LinkedIn and the import won’t pick up the data correctly with the extra fields.

This is a crucial step to getting started because LinkedIn will automatically tell you who on your list is already a LinkedIn member.  You simply check the boxes next to those you want to connect to and a mass invitation will be sent out.  As you start connecting with people you already know, spend time reviewing their connections.  You’ll likely find many people you know who weren’t in your own contact database.  You can easily invite those people to connect.

3. Summary

Your summary is as crucial as your headline – it is what will entice people to connect with you.  Your summary is not your bio…it’s your elevator speech.  For those of you searching for a job, it’s your cover letter.  Essentially, it takes the goal of the headline – what you do and who you serve – and delves deeper.  What do you do? How do you do it? Who benefits? and What are your results?  Your summary should always be in first person and present tense.  It should be active…this is what I can do for you today and tomorrow.  The past is important only to the extent that it bolsters why you should work with me today.  It should also be short – approximately 200-300 words.  If it’s too long, people won’t even bother reading it.  Where possible, build in white space for easier reading by keeping paragraphs short, adding bullet points and indenting.

Crystal is hosting another of her popular webinar series beginning this week.  It is well worth the time so check it out.

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  1. […] this year LinkedIn expert and consultant, Crystal Thies, wrote a guest post on this site about the Three Top LinkedIn Tips. That one post has generated so much interest that I asked Crystal to do an interview to discuss […]