A big part of what we do here at Deep Space Marketing is to train businesses on how to use their social media profiles. We offer this service to the small business owners and solopreneurs, who are perhaps just getting started on their business and don’t have the luxury of a big marketing budget. We teach the tips and tricks of each social media platform to help them on their way to success.

One of the biggest and often most under utilized profile is LinkedIn. With over 433 million users on LinkedIn (128 million users in the U.S.) it’s the third largest social network platform – coming closely behind front-runner Facebook (no surprise here!) and Twitter. I often get asked, “Why should I be on LinkedIn?”.  Well, it’s where your customers are, it’s where your potential customers are, your business partners, your industry experts and peers, and probably most importantly, it’s where people are looking for you. LinkedIn has a highly engaged and active community, and you could be missing out on the opportunity to be part of that.

So, you’re ready to go for it and not sure where to start? The good news is once you’ve set up your LinkedIn profile it is very easy to use and maintain. Here are three “Top Tips” to get you on your way to LinkedIn success. Once you’ve mastered these you’ll be well on your way!

LinkedIn Success Tip #1 – Profile Picture

If you do one thing only today, do this – upload a profile picture. If I see a profile without a profile picture I won’t connect with that person because it tells me they are not really interested in LinkedIn. I’m not into building connections just to get my numbers up, I want to connect with people who are engaged.

Use a recent photo, at least from the last couple of years, one that actually looks like you. You may think you looked your best in the 80’s but we want to know who we’re talking to now! Use an image that looks professional and approachable, and it’s O.K. to smile – this isn’t the DMV. It’s a headshot, so your head should take up at least 60% of the space. And a reminder that this is YOUR profile. We get that your significant other or your furry BFF may be what completes you, but save those personal photos for Facebook.

LinkedIn Success Tip #2 – Complete Your Profile

You’ve gone to the trouble of creating a profile so you may as well go that extra step and complete it. It’s easy to do, LinkedIn will prompt you all the way asking questions about each section. Why does it matter? Simply put, first impressions count. If I see your incomplete profile and your competitor has a complete profile, then I’ve already made a judgment based on that alone. An incomplete profile stands out and not for the right reasons.

Also, the more complete your profile, the further up in the search results on LinkedIn and Google you will appear. Again, giving you an edge over your competitor.

LinkedIn Success Tip #3 – Get Connected

Connections – request them and accept them. If you’re out networking and meet some great new people, as soon as you get back to the office find them on LinkedIn and send a Connect request. The key here is to include a personal note instead of the generic LinkedIn message. Keep it short and sweet; “Dear Gertrude – great meeting you today at the social media conference. Looking forward to connecting again soon, in the meantime let me know if I can help in any way –  Olive (480.555.5555)”. Simple, right? It makes people feel like an individual and not just another notch on your LinkedIn belt.

Unfortunately, spam is alive and well, you will receive connection requests from unknown people. I recommend taking a look at their profile and seeing if you have any other connections in common, if you do, then I say it’s O.K. to accept the request. If you don’t and they are just a random person, I decline the request, often these people are just building up their connections so they can send spam emails and messages. You won’t be able to avoid this altogether but you can control it a little. And of course, there is always the mighty Block option for the peskiest of pests.

So there you have it, three simple steps to get your started. Stay tuned for the next installment coming soon – I’ll give some hints on posting updates, asking for recommendations and what do those endorsements mean?

Feel free to practice your new skills and Connect with me here on LinkedIn!

Victoria Perkins

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