LinkedIn is about networking, showcasing, connecting. You spend time getting those connections, don’t let the work go to waste by going dark on them. There are a lot of ways to use the update feed to enhance (or damage, unfortunately) your professional brand so make sure you do. The key here is to be consistent and steady – don’t flood the feed with 30 updates per day. People can (and will) hide your updates if they feel like you are spamming them. Aim for one or two meaningful, professional updates per day if you are job hunting. If you aren’t actively hunting, a couple per week will work – never let your profile go stale. Ever.
- Add connections. This is perhaps the easiest way to show on the feed and to get people clicking through. There will be an upcoming article just on connections, but for now you want to make sure you keep adding them a few at a time. You can’t control how many people accept your invitation or when, but keep the connecting active.
- Update your profile. Add a course or project. Update your job description with new achievements. Publications, speaking engagements, awards – all good fodder for a profile update and you will be keeping yourself current in the process.
- Recommendations – request them and give them. Make sure they are quality recommendations and that they are linked with the correct experience and role.
- Discussions and links – this is actually harder than it seems and full of pitfalls. You will show up in the feed if you like or comment on a discussion or link, so think carefully about what it says about you. If you post or share a link, say something about why you shared it and why you find it relevant and interesting. Just clicking share makes you a parrot not a person. And please, do not like your own link. Keep an eye on the nifty “Who’s Viewed Your Updates” section and pay attention to the type of links that draw views.
- Straight “status” updates – this isn’t Facebook. Let me repeat that – this isn’t Facebook. You are speaking at or attending a professional conference? Update. You are having a few beers at the ballgame? No. No. No. Be particularly careful if you have linked to other social media accounts as this will require some vigilance to make sure that only the relevant updates get posted to LinkedIn and that they enhance and advance your image.
- Blog posts – same applies as for status updates. If your blog is linked to your LinkedIn, make sure it is a professional blog and that it is regularly updated and current. While you may be well known as a political ranter, expert on reptile husbandry or paranormal romance reviewer, unless you are a librarian or herpetologist don’t go there.
- Endorsements – so easy and so easy to do incorrectly. Yes, we all know when you just click the “endorse all four” without stopping and thinking. Endorse people you know well for things you know they do well. These also put you on the feed AND send emails to the folks you endorsed, so consider what it says about you if you endorse someone you don’t know for a skill they haven’t used in 10 years.
To add a link, there are a few additional things to know:
- Paste in the URL of the article you want to add. This will autoenter a preview picture and link with summary. Once this is there, delete the URL.
- Say something about the article. Why is it interesting? Why should people take the time to read it? How does it apply to you? Keep this BRIEF. Only the first few lines will show in the feed, so make them count.
- If the preview picture is silly, advertising or irrelevant, remove it (deselect the “Show Image” box) and just post the link. You do not want to confuse people with a picture of dancing dogs next to an article on an IPO. If there are more than one picture available you will see a selector bar under the picture to scroll through and choose the best and most relevant.
- Choose your audience. I usually just go with Public, but you can also limit it to connections or add it to social media such as Twitter if the accounts are connected.
Stay fresh, stay current, stay on the feed a reasonable but not excessive amount and you will stay in people’s minds. It should go without saying, however, don’t start focusing on the feed until you have your picture and your profile looking sharp – the purpose is to get people interested in learning more about you. If you post a great article and people click through to an informational desert, you have wasted an opportunity.