I was recently interviewed about LinkedIn in a publication called DerivSource – a site for professionals active in derivatives processing, technology and related services. Basically folks working in derivatives banking in places like the City of London and Wall Street.
As DerivSource sits behind a paywall, I’ve republished the article by Julia Schieffer below. Here’s a PDF version of the article “Harnessing LinkedIn – Top 10 Dos & Don’ts from a Social Media Expert“.
1. Keep it professional – balance professional and personal information.
The purpose of LinkedIn is for professional use and not to use it as a network to express your personality – there are other networks out there for that. However, there is a section at the bottom of one’s profile called ‘interests and hobbies’ where you can list some more personal items. A good way to balance personal and professional is to have a very professional profile, which is public so everyone can see it, and then have a link to a blog or twitter feed to give a bit more personality.
2. A photo is necessary but selecting the right kind of photo is key.
You are seven times more likely to be found on LinkedIn if you have a photo, so putting a photo up is a no brainer. You need to have a photo. Also, you need to have a professional picture, which is cropped correctly with clothes that mirrors your role and target audience.
Related: 7 LinkedIn Profile Pictures You Should Never Use.
3. Your headline is more than just your job title.
Studies show that when people look at your profile, they look at your headline first, and then your photo. If you don’t capture a viewer at this stage, they won’t scroll down to see the rest of your profile. The headline should be more than just your title. So you want to expand on that by including your skills and valuable attributes, such as being multilingual or having relevant certifications. You want to include key words to capture your target audience.
So, if you are head of middle operations, consider adding asset classes, such as OTC derivatives, you cover or list relevant operational skills or systems knowledge. Also, you don’t need to show your employer’s name because it will be listed two steps down in your profile.
Related: 10 Creative LinkedIn Headline Examples.
4. The summary is not your bio.
You have to get the summary right because that is the first page people will be reading. This shouldn’t be more than two or three paragraphs. In the summary you should focus on what you want to do and include achievements and accolades because this attracts a lot of eyeballs.
5. Don’t skip the education section – this is an important networking tool.
The education section is worth filling out properly because then you can connect with alumni, which is an easy way to increase your connections and is often a first step in growing your network.
6. Join groups but not too many.
Ten is the ideal number of groups to join with the activity focused in three main groups including commenting and liking other comments or articles. The benefits of being a member of groups is that you can actually interact with people within these groups, connect and send messages to them.
By joining the larger groups, with the most number of members, you can increase your potential network by one or two million easily, which makes joining groups a quick way of gaining wider exposure. Also, you don’t have to show all groups on the profile if you don’t want to.
Related: Top 10 LinkedIn Groups All Jobseekers Should Join.
7. Status updates – integrating Twitter effectively.
One to two updates per day as well as commenting on items is ideal for users. Integrating Twitter feeds is an easy way to keep your status updating throughout the day however, a lot of people get this wrong because they have too many updates due to Twitter.
You don’t want to put every single tweet on LinkedIn and especially if your tweets are personal or out of context, which can look strange. My advice is that if you do have a Twitter account, you can integrate into your LinkedIn account but adjust the settings so that you don’t show all tweets (only the tweets with #li or #in will show up on LinkedIn status).
Update: How You Can Still Connect Twitter and LinkedIn.
8. Recommendations are useful but shouldn’t be reciprocal.
It is ideal to have one to two recommendations for each position that you’ve had. And it has been suggested it is ideal for someone in the UK to have between five to ten recommendations. Double that if you’re in the US and only one to two recommendations is the norm for places like France.
You always want to aim to get recommendations from managers, and the most senior executives you have access to. Reciprocal recommendations or ‘back to back’ recommendations where members of the same team recommend each other are not useful because people can clearly see a who supplied the recommendation. Reciprocal recommendations don’t look good.
Related: LinkedIn Recommendations: How Do You Get Them?
9. Accepting LinkedIn invitations from strangers.
Everyone has their own principles for LinkedIn networking and accepting invitations for people who they do not know, but I think most people look at the network of the stranger to see if there are many common connections and then connect if these connections are relevant and provide a good expanded network. Of course, some people might only connect with people they know and talk to.
Related: Should You Accept a LinkedIn Invite from a Headhunter?
10. Messaging and connecting etiquette.
Be personal in the message and offer them something of value as to why they should connect with you. If you don’t give them a good reason then they are less likely to connect with you.
And here’s a video I put together in case you prefer to hear me talking!