I’m a very active social media user, but I still make basic mistakes. Over the past six months, I let my LinkedIn profile go largely untended. I have a million excuses, of course — I’ve been busy, I’m not looking for new work, I’m investing in networks with a bigger audience. But, the truth is I’ve been lazy about monitoring my profile and putting it to work.
I decided to slack off at the worst possible time. LinkedIN traffic jumped after the company’s IPO in May, and some media companies have seen referral traffic from the site boom in the past year. Even without the traffic boost, LinkedIn is a high-value social network for business reporters and editors. Corporate types and hiring managers love it and use it often, and it offers free insight into companies that is hard to find elsewhere.
Below are a few tips to help you stay in the Linkedin loop and get the most out of this social media tool:
- Keep your profile current. Don’t repeat my mistake. Clean up your job history, contact information and web addresses. Add new colleagues and seek out a few recommendations. LinkedIn profiles often rank fairly high in search results, so it pays to manage your profile. Making sure your profile is up-to-date is in your best interest for your own career, and it shows potential sources that you use the network.
- Connect your Twitter account. If you’re already using Twitter professionally, connecting your account can improve your online visibility and create new connections to potential sources. One note, LinkedIn’s default Twitter settings only share updates tagged with #in or #li on your profile. You can disable that if you click the edit link beside your twitter handle on the edit profile page.
- Follow companies. LinkedIn’s companies pages offer unique insight into personnel at businesses on your beat. Following companies can keep you apprised of job openings, new hires and senior-level management changes that you may not find anywhere else.
- Search for sources. LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality allows you to search for sources by company and job title, making it easier to target the perfect source at a company. If you’re a paid premium member, you have even more options to filter, and you can contact potential sources directly, but the price is steep — $20 a month for the lowest tier of service.
- Get Answers. LinkedIn’s Answers is the network’s version of a mass Q&A service. Answers on LinkedIN are largely business-centric, simply because of the network’s professional nature. You can perform a simple keyword search to see potential sources who have weighed in on a topic, or ask and answer questions yourself to start building new connections.
- Check out Groups. LinkedIn’s Groups are also helpful for sourcing, and many are organized geographically. After a quick search for South Florida, I found active local groups for professional organizations, networking and even specific job sectors.
A few additional resources: