Today’s ”Social Media for Old Folks” webinar topic was LinkedIn. Here are six recommendations we made that may be useful for you too:
1. Make invitations personal. The form-letter invitation generated by LinkedIn is not all that friendly. “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” just doesn’t strike the same tone as “Hey, Joe. Great to see you today. Want to link?” In the same vein, when you accept an invitation to connect, take two seconds to send a message back that acknowledges you’re both human beings. It takes two seconds to type “Thanks for the invitation. Hope you’re doing great.”
2. Don’t make your personal update too personal. LinkedIn is not Facebook. Let your LinkedIn update be some fairly major business milestone or at the very least, business related. Also, you don’t need to update this one as often as you might on other networks. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave the same update up there for a month or so. (As long as it doesn’t say something like “Two days before the Christmas rush is over!”
3. Skip asking for recommendations. If you’re a high-level professional, we don’t recommend having recommendations on your profile. If you’re still in the early years of your career, or job hunting, they’re fine. But everyone knows how those recommendations get there (a message from you asking your contacts for a recommendation) and that they’re sort of a command performance of glowing praise.
4. Participate in the Answers discussions. If you see a question that you can answer, take a minute to do so. It’s good to invest in helping others, so you’re not using LinkedIn exclusively for getting what you need. Besides, it’s nice exposure to be the guy who knows what’s what. Also, when you need to know something, use this Answers feature. You can access some legitimately useful expertise on just about anything you need to know, and it gives other people a chance to be an expert on something.
5. Join groups. Your group memberships offer a quick snapshot of your interests and affiliations. If a friend or contact invites you to join their group, it’s showing support for them to join, as long as it really is a topic appropriate for you. Then, participate in the discussions. Making comments there is a good way to be involved in the LinkedIn community.
6. Start your own group. This is an excellent way to claim your area of expertise, particularly if you can narrow the scope of the group to a small niche or audience. You can begin to own that niche (or at least to be recognized as one of the players) by starting and maintaining an active group.