This article is the first in a four-part professional series on how to market yourself online.
In today’s social media world, it is even more important to market yourself like you are a brand. This can be especially important if you are seeking a new job or career networking opportunities. One tool that is synonymous with business professionals is LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn Basics
LinkedIn is a website designed to showcase you and your professional skills. It is, however, more than just a resume. You can paste in content like presentations or link to your website, blog, or Twitter stream. LinkedIn can also be used to showcase status updates about what you are working on at work. Your LinkedIn profile helps build a degree of trust by letting other visitors know how they are connected to you.
Tips to Market Yourself Through LinkedIn
Tip #1 The first tip to market yourself on LinkedIn is to actually set up a profile. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are still millions of professionals out there who have never taken the time to set up a profile. As obvious as it seems, you cannot be found on LinkedIn if you aren’t actually on LinkedIn, so take the time to set up an accurate profile.
Tip #2 Add a professional-looking photo to your profile. Your profile photo helps people to recognize you, especially if you are not a direct co-worker or supplier of the person searching for you. Studies have shown that profiles that have a picture have a higher click-through rate than profiles that do not have a picture. Make sure that your picture is professional looking and contains only you. LinkedIn and Facebook are not the same. Don’t share personal pictures on Facebook and don’t link your Facebook account to your LinkedIn offerings. This is important whether you are actively seeking a position or if you are happy in your current position. It has been shown that job recruiters spend more time on profiles that have a profile picture. So, it only goes to assume that it would work the same for other professionals finding your LinkedIn profile for business opportunities and former colleagues reconnecting with you. Both are keys to marketing yourself online.
Tip #3 Complete your LinkedIn Profile. While many business professionals have a LinkedIn profile, still fewer have a complete LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn provides the opportunity to use a job title underneath your name in your profile. Titles like “worker” or “student” don’t do much in telling visitors to your profile who you are and what you do. Use a descriptive title. Also, remember to complete your profile using your great work and association history. Provide details on what skills you have and what areas you specialize in for your organization. Another marketing tactic is to ask past customers and colleagues for recommendations and endorsements. It’s that extra vote of confidence that some people need to connect with your LinkedIn profile and maybe even hire you.
Tip #4 Make your LinkedIn Profile Keyword Optimized. People can search the Internet and find your LinkedIn profile. So, just like a good website, it is important that your LinkedIn profile is keyword dense for what people want and search the Internet for. Use a keyword research tool like the Google Adwords keyword tool to see what terms people actually search for. Keyword tools like this can be used in two ways. First, you can enter in your website URL and the tool to generate keywords that you can use. Secondly, you can put in keywords that you think people are searching for to find you and then the system will give you suggestions of keywords that people are actually searching for in your industry. You can then use these keywords often and consistently throughout your LinkedIn profile for what you want to be found for.
Tip #5 Make Connections. Just as a profile picture and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile can give people confidence to connect with or hire you, connections can do the same. Actively connect with people that you know from former jobs, your current job, college, and organizations that you have been in. Adding connections also helps old acquaintances find you and connect with you again. This can prompt job leads and job offers. Finally, seek out groups and associations that you work with, assist with, and that interest you. This helps you connect with others who can forward your career. It’s a very effective way to market yourself online.