Maximising the Effectiveness of LinkedIn

You are as professional as your LinkedIn profile so it’s time for you to boost your online presence.

Your LinkedIn account is an avenue to showcase your personal branding on the most professional of all networks. It helps you to share your experience and expertise, to spark new connections and even land a plum job.

Understanding the etiquette and the rules of engagement on LinkedIn will ensure you will achieve your objectives. Here’s how to go about it!

Picture perfect

This is probably the first thing viewers notice. Don’t turn them off with a bad photo or even worse, with no photo.

It is not necessary to engage a professional photographer (unless you want to). Choose several recent head-and-shoulder shots that you like. Have a friend help you select the best one.

Just a pleasant photo of you against a clean background will suffice. Don’t feature a caricature or a picture of you with your pet, a business celebrity or a political leader.

Engaging headline

Focus on highlighting your unique strengths and capabilities. Don’t repeat your current job title and company. Repetition is boring and you want viewers to stay engaged.

State your best professional attributes in 120 characters or less, for example, “Crafting Content for Business Growth for Start-ups”. Also stay clear of clichés and sensational adverbs, trite expressions such as “awesome” or “super”.

Interesting summary

Your headline has now got viewers hooked and they are reading your summary. Break away from just listing your job experiences. Instead, describe what you’re good at and how you made a difference in each role. Write in the first person as you are connecting on a personal level. It’s very similar to what you would say in a face-to-face meeting and do mention colleagues that contributed to your accomplishments. This will show that you are a team player.

Be active but don’t go overboard

Too many people start a LinkedIn profile and forget about it. It is extremely easy for anyone viewing your profile to see just how active, or rather inactive, you are. Your activity and engagement are crucial ingredients to increasing your visibility and building relationships.

However, you should not be so active online that it appears like you’re never working – merely posting and commenting on anything and everything. A good rule is to check it once a day or every two days at the most. That way, you can stay up to date and seize potential opportunities in a timely fashion.

Reply promptly

A prompt acceptance shows that you appreciate the importance of the LinkedIn invitation. It’s okay not to reply if you feel it may not be relevant, but respond to the invitations that can help you grow without unnecessary delay.

Personalising requests

People are more likely to accept your request if they recognise you or if you provide a reason for why they should connect. So, take the time to personalise every connection request. Be selective because if you get too many “I Don’t Know This Person” comments, you could end up having your account restricted.

If someone viewed your profile but hasn’t taken the initiative to send you a connection request, do not be afraid to reach out if you feel they make a good connection. Send a personalised connection request to that person as you would to any other potential lead. There’s no need to include “I saw you viewed my profile” in your message. Instead, state why a connection could be mutually beneficial.

Expressing thanks

If the connection request is accepted, send a short, friendly ‘thank you’ or ‘welcome’ message. Express your appreciation and cite shared experiences, interests or connections to kick-start your relationship-building process.

Getting and giving endorsements

One of the best ways to get endorsements is to give them. Only endorse others if you have personal experience of their expertise in an area. They will receive a notification and could reciprocate by endorsing you. At no time, should you ask someone you don’t know for an endorsement or a recommendation. If your job responsibilities have significantly changed since someone recommended you, send a message saying you’d love if they could update the recommendation to reflect your latest achievements.

Nurture relationships

Show interest by congratulating other people’s accomplishments with a personal message. Wish them all the best and celebrate their success.  If someone comments on or likes one of your posts, express your thanks and start a conversation with that person.

Build your network

Think of yourself as a business matchmaker and introduce your connections to each other when it could be beneficial to both parties. It is only natural for them to return the favour, thus ensuring the expansion of your personal network.  This ensures that you are supporting your connections and building a network of your own at the same time.

Connecting with recruiters

LinkedIn is a great recruitment platform so it’s easy to find recruiters in your industry and connect with them. Explain that you’re seeking new opportunities and would love if they could pass along news of vacancies relevant to you. In instances when a recruiter contacts you about an opening and you are completely happy where you are, just say “Thank you but not at present”.

Stay professional

There will be times when someone or something on LinkedIn irritates you. In such cases, avoid voicing unconstructive criticism and engaging in pointless debates or you may risk damaging your credibility. Also, stay clear of bad language and colloquialisms like ‘LOL’. LinkedIn is a business social network and people expect things to be professional at all times.

Lastly, the faster you spruce up your LinkedIn profile, the more views you will enjoy on the world’s most inclusive business networking platform. Good luck!