From its creation way back in 2002, professional social media platform LinkedIn has come a long way. The story of its growth has been a rather slow and sluggish one, as compared to other social media giants like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. LinkedIn has grown and evolved slowly but steadily throughout its 15-year lifetime to reach where it is now. LinkedIn currently boasts of over half a billion users.
It has become successful on the global stage, with over two-thirds of active users from outside the US. Alongside the US, it is incredibly popular among countries such as Brazil, UK, and India. The platform currently has over 3 million job listings and is considered as one of the biggest recruitment tools in the market. It has been successful in able to brush of its stereotype of being a social media tool for accountants.
LinkedIn is currently owned by the tech giant Microsoft. It is now a convergence point for recruiters, fresh graduates, experienced professionals and budding entrepreneurs from all across the globe. The profiles act as a resume, allowing recruiters to have a glance at potential recruits. Using LinkedIn, thus, is a huge opportunity. But it also is a risk, since using it incorrectly may result in having bad impact on your career. One must remain thoroughly professional while using LinkedIn, and remember that it is different from personal social media platforms such as Facebook.
Here are some tips for helping you master LinkedIn and avoid Pitfalls
Use a professionally shot photograph
This needs little justification. Any professional using LinkedIn will tell you the importance of having a professionally shot photograph as your profile picture. Any quirky or weird profile picture is a straight no-no; you want to get your professional side across. Profile pictures act as important first impressions, and it’s important that the first impression be a good one.
Any of these images are strictly unprofessional: images of you drinking alcohol, smoking cigarette, partying, beach photos, photos of you in shorts or bikini, photos of you with your pets or babies, photos where you are laughing or making weird faces, etc. While these photos may work well in Instagram or Snapchat, they are disastrous for LinkedIn – avoid using them.
Do not use your LinkedIn account to spam other users with irrelevant or bulk messages; they won’t appreciate it. Many people may be using their LinkedIn as their secondary work email address; spam for them is really annoying and reduces their work efficiency.
Sending out bulk communication to all your contacts on LinkedIn must strictly be avoided, rather send customised and relevant messages to the person concerned. By spamming someone, you are only making sure that they are annoyed by you and may even remove themselves as your contact – which is not something you would really like.
Using Personalized Connection Requests
If you are new to LinkedIn, you won’t have any contacts. You would need to send connection requests to others to add them as contacts. For those people who know you closely, just a default request will do, since they are anyway going to recognize you and add you straight away. However, for other individuals, it is better to write a personalized, custom request for a connection request.
This custom request is the digital equivalent of a handshake and exchanging pleasantries with a new person you have just met. Keep the message brief and to the point; tell them why you wish to connect. This is particularly vital since they need to know why (or why not) they should add (or not add) you.
Do not make Negative comments
Ask yourself this, would you publicly shame or overtly criticize your colleague in public? No, right? In the same way, you shouldn’t overtly criticize someone on their post or profile. Not only is it very unprofessional, but it will only go to show that you are jealous or bitter.
While constructive criticism and feedback are useful, only provide it when the user is asking for it. Do not automatically assume that the person wants to get your opinions or views. If you really want to respond, instead of commenting on the public sphere use a direct message. Most importantly, always remember to keep it professional.
Check in frequently and promptly respond to your messages
Over 40% of users check in to LinkedIn daily and many of them may even log in several times a day. Many users, in fact, use LinkedIn as a way of contacting their professional network members. Thus it is vital that you log in everyday and reply to the messages and connection requests. Push notifications are a very useful feature of LinkedIn and will notify of new messages instantaneously, allowing you to respond to them immediately.
Make your profile Public
Keeping your profile private for security and privacy purposes defeats the very purpose of using LinkedIn. It is a networking tool, and unless your profile is visible to everyone, you won’t be able to network. Thus only keep your professional information in your profile and make it public. Keeping a profile as private is as good as not using LinkedIn at all.
LinkedIn is not just a messaging or networking tool; you can also write good posts and articles, etc. on LinkedIn. If they are meaningful and relevant, you may attract the attention of other professionals in the field, and also that of recruiters. For B2B Businesses, making high-quality posts on LinkedIn is recommended whenever a business post is made on Facebook or Twitter, as it helps in reaching out to potential clients.