Are you on LinkedIn? In my experience, there are 4 types of people with regard to the professional social network.

  • Very frequent users who are very at home on there. They typically have a great profile, lots of connections (usually over the so called ‘magic 500’), engage with other posts, publish content and use it to engage with others more directly via messaging.
  • Frequent users – those who visit fairly regularly, read the odd post and react to messages they receive.
  • Irregular users who have set up a profile but who have very few connections and barely ever login. Messages to them will often go unread.
  • Non users, those who either haven’t got around to putting up a profile or who actively don’t want to.

So which are you?
When I ask the attendees of my networking skills workshop who is on there, the show of hands varies, depending on the audience. Typically, amongst those running businesses and those in companies who have client facing roles, there are lots of hands up, amongst others, the response is more mixed – usually depending on personality.
In my opinion, every professional person needs to be on LinkedIn, here’s why:

  1. It’s a way for people to validate who you are, if they’ve met you. It reinforces the person they met (hopefully!) and makes them more likely to continue to build the relationship with you. It offers reassurance that you are who you say you are. This is even more the case if you have recommendations on your profile about your work, they’re hard to fake. If you’re not on there, people may doubt the person they met whether that was at a job interview, a networking event or other professional meeting.
  2. It’s a way for people to find you; whether they are looking for the service your company offers or are interested in recruiting you. It means you are visible with your CV on-line and they can again validate if you’re right for them. This means approaches, when they come, are more likely to lead to a next step.
  3. It offers you the opportunity to showcase yourself as an expert and build your profile in your sector.
  4. You can build your knowledge by viewing other people’s content, essential for professional development.
  5. You can seek out the people you want to connect with, whether from a job or business perspective. If you’re not on there yourself, you can only see a limited amount of most profiles and you can’t send messages.

It’s important to remember that LinkedIn is about both pushing and pulling information. Additionally, it needs to be aligned with who you are in reality, appropriate in terms of content (your profile as well as any posts) and clear. If people can’t quickly understand who you are and what you do, being present on LinkedIn will do you little good!
So, what are you waiting for? Setting up a profile doesn’t have to take ages. The different areas of a profile are clearly laid out so it’s not difficult to do, as long as you’re clear what you want to communicate. If you’re not on there, why not start by spending just 15 minutes a day on it, for a week. If you’re on there already, why not spend a couple of hours checking it is up-to-date and see how you can improve it, to better represent you!
If you would like some help thinking about your professional image and how you build relationships with others, wherever you encounter colleagues, associates, clients and prospects, contact me.
Image courtesy of LinkedIn.