LinkedIn is an established social network which many online entrepreneurs overlook. Once it is seen as a cross between Facebook and a virtual business card, its usefulness becomes clearer. But to use it effectively, you have to treat it differently than other social networks. This isn’t the place to post videos of the kids’ ballet recital, nor relationship statuses or other personal concerns. The business-only atmosphere may seem intimidating to some, but it can be considered the virtual “water cooler” gathering spot on the Internet.
It is the place for the career-motivated to share their professional lives. LinkedIn can be a powerful asset in creating and maintaining professional connections, at least for most white-collar professions. It’s best to hold back before posting initially, taking the time to browse other profiles and see what other users share. Individual posts on LinkedIn tend towards employment news, market studies, news impacting the business world, career milestones, and professionals sharing their day-to-day career challenges and successes.
Here are some of Forbes’ recommendations for avoiding common LinkedIn pitfalls include:
- Choosing a photo that reflects the users’ most professional aspect.
- Carefully wording the job title field to be as specific as possible.
- Using the bio to tell the saga of a user’s personal career quest.
- Using the job description to post a developing resume.
- Paying attention to quality, not quantity, of connections.
It can be difficult to navigate the above list of tips and not come off sounding like a shrill marketing zombie. Yes, self-promotion is the point, but readers should also want to care about the individual’s story. Some LinkedIn users hire third-party freelancers to maintain their profile. That’s a viable option for those not blessed with golden storytelling abilities. For the rest, with some practice, it comes natural to not only maintain a professional enterprise tone, but sound like they belong in one and are comfortable within the environment.
A phrase that could help with this aspect is the concept of the “business personality.” Entertainers and artists have no problem creating one, but for most users, whatever version of them is their peak in a business environment is the kind of profile that is most successful on LinkedIn.
Even if a user is perfectly happy with their employment situation, maintaining a robust profile may come in handy some day when that situation changes. And if there’s one thing that our modern economic arena teaches us, it’s that change is the only constant.