10 Things You Can (And Should) Do On LinkedIn

10 things you should do on LinkedInAs LinkedIn’s user base continues to climb (currently 160+ million members), you have more and more opportunities to connect with colleagues, clients and prospects, not to mention establish your industry expertise and pursue new business development initiatives.

And although LinkedIn is simple enough to use, what’s truly fascinating about the site is that it offers a wide range of functionality if you take a moment to dig beneath the surface. The good news? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and have compiled a tip list of 10 things you should be doing on LinkedIn to get more leverage out of this professional networking site.

Expand your search. As with any social site, one of the key components of LinkedIn is conversation. If you want to find out who’s discussing a particular topic, click the drop-down menu next to the Search box and select Updates. Enter your preferred search term and you’ll receive a list of users whose status updates match your search.

Optimize your URL. Your default LinkedIn URL is a hard-to-remember mix of numbers and letters. Instead, choose a custom URL for your public profile. Not only will it be easy to remember, but it will also help Google pull up more results when your name is searched. To customize your profile URL, click Profile > Edit Profile > and, next to Public Profile in the gray box, click Edit. Specify your name and click Set Custom URL.

Post content to groups. As you find (or write) content that you want to share, make sure you post it to specific LinkedIn groups (as long as the subject matter is relevant to that particular group’s focus). Not only will you likely spark great discussion, but you’ll also keep yourself on that group’s radar screen, which could lead to new business opportunities.

Update your profile. Keeping your profile up-to-date doesn’t only make sense within the LinkedIn microcosm—it also helps Google, too. LinkedIn results typically rank high in Google search results, so the more information you include in your profile, the more often you’ll appear in a wider range of Google results.

Research your dream job. LinkedIn isn’t only a great tool for connecting with prospective employers—it’s ideal for research, too. If you aspire to work in a certain industry or have a specific job in mind, search that information in LinkedIn to find profiles of people who work in that area. You can read through the profiles to see what types of skills and expertise you’ll have, thereby allowing you to better prepare for your dream career.

Create your resume. If you’ve been out of the job hunt for awhile, you may not have an updated resume that’s ready to go. So why not let LinkedIn do the work for you? Sign in to LinkedIn’s resume builder and follow the step-by-step instructions to use the information you’ve added to your LinkedIn profile to build a resume. You can select from several templates and, when you’re done, can print your resume and/or share to a number of different sites, including email, Facebook and Twitter.

Maintain your company page. If your brand or business doesn’t already have a LinkedIn company page, now’s the time to create one. LinkedIn users will be able to stay up-to-date with current job opportunities and company information, and the page will also showcase your company’s employees who are on LinkedIn. Aside from keeping your company page updated, make sure you also post regular status updates with relevant content that will encourage user comments and help people get a better sense of your company’s industry and expertise. You can also enable a sidebar tool that will pull in mentions of your company as they appear in news stories, as well as include your corporate blog feed (if applicable).

Find new employees. LinkedIn isn’t just great for job-seekers—it can be a valuable recruiting tool for employees, too. LinkedIn offers a number of corporate recruiting solutions that are worth exploring if your company has ongoing recruiting needs. You can collect leads from a referral engine, for example, and also distribute current job openings.

There’s an app for that. Enrich your LinkedIn profile by adding an application (or several). A couple of our favorites include the WordPress application, which lets you import your WordPress blog feed directly to your profile, and SlideShare, which embeds your SlideShare presentations so that visitors to your profile can take a look at your work.

Update your status. Regularly posting status updates is one of the best ways to stay visible in the LinkedIn stream. Discuss what’s going on in your business or industry, or share informative, relevant content that will be of interest to your LinkedIn connections. Plus, the more you share content, the more likely you’ll appear as part of LinkedIn Today’s daily digest, which will help boost your LinkedIn visibility.

There’s far more to LinkedIn than may initially meets the eye—and by using these tips and tricks, you’ll be poised to get more out of the professional network.

If you have any other must-do LinkedIn suggestions, be sure to share them in the comments.

Image by Nan Palmero via Creative Commons

  • http://www.deaddinosaur.co.uk Chris Norton

     What is your take on connecting to people you don’t know? I realise this expands your network but what does it achieve connecting to people you have never spoken to,met or engaged with. Do you hit confrim or ignore?

    I am interested to hear people’s thoughts on that – that’s all. Thanks

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/annelizhannan Anneliz Hannan

    @chrisnorton2:disqus I will, on occasion, connect with people that ‘I don’t know’ personally if they are in a group that I follow or they write about a topic of particular interest.  I find that way I can more easily track with updates, articles or blogs in my feed.
    I never follow to simply increase my personal network number. I am lenient in accepting followers if they contact properly with some justification (similar interests). I may ignore if no commonality but I do not ‘IDK’ as it creates havoc for them on LinkedIN. If I see that it is a definite spam then I would hit “IDK”. 

    I believe the purpose of these platforms is for sharing ideas, discussing issues of the day and networking. Clicking ‘ignore’ is more polite, IMHO.

  • http://rhogroupee.com/ Rosemary ONeill

    I’m not a LION, but I do occasionally accept someone in the same way Anneliz mentioned (if they can provide some reason that makes sense).  However, I was recently burned doing that with someone who turned out to be a smarmy sales person who was just trying to get access, so beware.  My favorite LI activity is answering questions in the Q&A; it’s a great chance to be helpful and build legacy content at the same time.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/annelizhannan Anneliz Hannan

    All it takes is that one bad apple and sentiments change. As soon as I see that I would block (unlink) and report, but it does leave a bad taste. I have not had that problem on LinkedIN, but oh boy Twitter is another story. Thanks

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Excellent tips; very much appreciated! I looked at my profile; didn’t even know I had already customized it so I tweaked it again with my full name. So, I have to ask, is this the channel where you spend the most time? I wonder how you fit all of this in as above AND tweet, FB and G+?

  • Anonymous

    Jayme,

    I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn … it is work and not as enjoyable (at least for me) as FB or Twitter, but it sends me business on a regular basis. No surprise there, it is the biggest business social network – which I regularly remind myself. Finding time — that’s hard. It’s a good thing I function well in a state of chaos :))

  • Anonymous

    I do the same thing, Anneliz. I don’t have much LI spam issues, but when I do, I report them. And unlink. Spam exists everywhere and there’s always some loser who wants to game the system. Wish I could just drop kick ‘em all!

  • Anonymous

    Good for you, @Rosemary. Did you see Allen Mirales’ post here recently about how to pull in an RSS feed of Q&A? I’ve not yet done that, but I need to. Q&A is a great way to build awareness and contribute to that community. I love it too!

  • Anonymous

    I have such a big digital footprint – lots of Twitter followers, lots of FB friends, and I write for so many different blogs that people “know” me – or feel as though they do – so I’m pretty open in who I connect with. And if they behave like asshats, they get the boot.

  • Anonymous

    As I mentioned to my note above, Chris, I have many connections in the online space, so sometimes they know me and I may or may not “know” them. I also participate in a lot of groups on LI, speak all over the country, and write for bunch of different blogs. That said, I’m pretty open about who I connect with – and often many more people know me than I realize. I believe in giving someone a chance and if they behave in a way I don’t care for, ditching them. To me, putting up more walls in the online space rather than less – especially from a business standpoint – isn’t a smart strategy.

    Will be interested to see what others say.

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

     Then this is exactly where I’m going, too. Get outta my way, Sistah! Heh.  Seriously, in serious biz dev mode and hooked up with a few new groups today to see what fruit I might pick. Hope it’s as fruitful for moi as you!

  • Anonymous

    And when is it that I’m getting that guest post from you …. you know I love your big brain, woman!

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Oh, crap, busted. Thought I’d sneak in a comment to ANOTHER AUTHOR, and lo…it’s tu.

    I’m still thinking; every time I have a topic for ya, I snap it up myself, but I’m getting closer. Hah! OK, nudge taken. Sheesh.

  • http://www.v3im.com/ Katy Ryan Schamberger

    I agree with Shelly’s course of action, Chris. I tend to be more open in regard to accepting connections on LinkedIn (but I do let out a big sigh when I get a request to connect with someone I don’t know and there’s no personal note included – this is probably my biggest LinkedIn pet peeve!) If it turns out the person is being spammy, or the connection doesn’t otherwise make sense, then you can always remove it.

  • http://www.v3im.com/ Katy Ryan Schamberger

    Love your sentiment about not following simply to increase the size of your personal network, Anneliz – couldn’t agree more!

  • http://www.v3im.com/ Katy Ryan Schamberger

    Good call, Soulati. I have to confess that, as I was writing this post last night, I opted to change my custom URL from “katywrites” (to match my Twitter handle) to “katyschamberger” so that I could get more Google leverage out of people who are searching for my name.

    As for how to budget your time, I think Shelly’s approach is spot-on. I’ve made LinkedIn part of my daily social media routine, but I could still interact there more frequently – I find it more natural to talk to people and post on sites like Facebook and Twitter. That being said, LinkedIn is a goldmine of content, especially industry-specific information. I always enjoy my time there and expect the site to get more powerful and effective in the future.

  • http://www.v3im.com/ Katy Ryan Schamberger

    Great point about the Q&A, Rosemary – such a valuable source of information and a good way to make yourself more visible on the site, but one that’s probably overlooked by a lot of LinkedIn users.

  • http://twitter.com/DressyGirlK Dressy Girl Kouture

    Thanks Shelly!!! This was helpful – I have recently been spending some time on Linkedin but #2 I didn’t not know, so after I read this post I went it and customized my url :) also shared with my friends on twitter!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/annelizhannan Anneliz Hannan

    Yes, and you have a steel-toed boot (influence) to kick with so your generosity is appreciated. We never met personally and you accepted me on profile only …and look, here I am following you everywhere and commenting on your posts.  It can work..don’t use and don’t abuse. (Of course, I am the one that called you Nancy when I was recuperating from colonoscopy anesthetic, but you forgave me!) Thanks

  • http://www.v3im.com/ Katy Ryan Schamberger

     Hurray! Glad you could put the tips to immediate use!

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    Nice refresher on some of the things I “should” be doing on LinkedIn! (Honestly, haven’t been spending too much time on there, but know I should). 

  • Anonymous

    That made me guffaw!!! See, it’s a perfect example of not erecting barriers, but rather letting people in. Now two people who were strangers aren’t anymore. Which is awesome. And imagine the business benefits that ultimately might be driven as a result.

    Love it!!! And you can call me Nancy. If you must. But I’ll make up some really ugly name for you, so be forewarned.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Ricardo. I always have to force myself to spend time on LinkedIn, but it drives a ton of business to our agency, so I’m always glad when I do.

  • http://rhogroupee.com/ Rosemary ONeill

    Yes I saw that post, but since I suffer from RSS-o-phobia, I have yet to implement.  I saved it to my Instapaper though, so I can DO IT some time!

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    Some good advice Katy, and like any social activity LI is a ‘use it or lose it – or get nothing out of it’ proposition. I’m gonna take a hint from @soulati:disqus  and maybe find/participate in some different groups, see if I get more traction there; see also @rosemaryoneill:disqus on the Q&A front. Even if we don’t use it so much, lots of us still do well by the SEO value, so it’s worth it keep that profile active.

    Your last point – status updates – yes do that, but IMO do not do so by linking every tweet. I cross-post a little – but a continuous stream of scheduled tweets, that’s a big no in my book. What’s the point in LI if it’s just all your tweets? Which brings me to @chrisnorton2:disqus question: Linking w/ anyone? I don’t. The “casual may have met you somewhere, but hey let’s connect” – that’s what Twitter or G+ are for; plus it’s easier to give folks the boot there. Something about the more ‘professional’ nature of LI, keeping things all biz – I’m a little more selective. FWIW.

  • Anonymous

    It is pretty easy to give people the boot on LI, so I never forget that. But I’m with you on the people who feed their Twitter stream into LinkedIn – or anywhere – I loathe it. Such bad (broadcasting) form.

    I love Q&A and am glad Allen Mireles taught me to feed it in via RSS, which makes it easier. And I’m active in lots of groups, not only sharing my own content but also sharing lots of other content, commenting on things others share and supporting and sharing their work.

    To me, LI is just like “real life” networking – and so anything I would do in person, I do online. I’ll never understand why that’s so difficult for people to understand!

    Thanks for coming by, Davina. Always appreciate hearing what you’re thinking!

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  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    I really should share my own stuff more often – not just in updates, but via groups too. Except I always feel that broadcasting, self-pimping ickiness – someday I’ll learn to get over that b/c you’re right, it’s part of real life networking. 

    I have somewhat different audiences, therefore different approaches to the various networks; a few things overlap and add personality and human interest of course. But as in life, I wouldn’t share all the same things at a networking expo as I would to the college football fans in a sports bar or vice versa, right? Doesn’t make sense to do so online. 

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s totally fine to share your own stuff, as long as you do it respectfully and while also sharing other things that aren’t something you’re doing/have created, etc. I try and just about always follow the 80/20 rule … and it works :))

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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.lusher John Lusher

    LI is still on of the most underutilized social platforms available. Great points and tips in this post and in the comments!  Q&A is so valuable along with staying current with your own experiences, jobs, projects and skills. I would add, update your profile once per week; change something, add something or include a tidbit that you haven’t added yet. This will help you show up with “user has an update profile.”

  • http://twitter.com/bbrian017 Brian

     I’m actually having a lot of fun sharing relevant content on Linked in with the groups. I want to find some more to join because I see blog content all day long and when the bloggers have the social buttons it’s so easy to share, I just need to get into a few more non social media SEO groups.

  • Anonymous

    I agree, Brian! Even better, it brings me business. #winning

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