How can one accomplish this critical element of your Personal Marketing Plan, your ‘digital footprint?’ Use the time you spend on LinkedIn to address your three critical tasks:
1. Task #1 is to keep your profile as a dynamic reflection of what you learn from your networking experience, tweaking your way to better search page results. This is worth more time in the beginning of your career transition, but regular time throughout.
2. Task#2 is to be interactive by participating in appropriate Group discussions, ‘like-ing’ comments of your choice, private messaging the writers of those comments as potential new contacts, following targeted Companies, and regularly ‘updating your network by ‘share-ing’ articles or posting brief ‘white papers’ than express your knowledge and expertise.
3. Task #3 is using available JOB seeking functionality.
THIS Week: Thursday, March 2nd… LinkedIn PRIMER: TASK#1 Your LinkedIn Profile!
More and more business professionals are using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. For the uninitiated, however, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can be daunting. Where to begin?
For first-time users, or the “technologically timid,” or for anyone in career transition, the answer is LinkedIn. While Facebook may be #1, it is more analogous to a cocktail party.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, while it is a solid #2, is more like attending a chapter meeting of a professional association. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with its Membership base growing exponentially, it serves virtually every industry and profession.
Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy, some consistent time, and a commitment to controlling your ‘digital footprint.’
TASK#1: Your Profile
Your LinkedIn Profile can be your optimal DIGITAL aid to networking. You can ‘design’ your Profile to draw interested parties TO YOU… this is called a ‘pull marketing’ effort and is heavily dependent on your search engine optimization (SEO) score. This is an over-simplification, but the name of that game is to find creative ways to stack your keywords, using every allowable boundary of LinkedIn.
The challenge is to create this heavy barrage of keywords in a less than obvious manner, so that your Profile is still reader-friendly to those potential contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.
On the other hand, you may elect to use your Profile to get your story out to potential interested contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities. This would be utilizing a ‘push marketing’ design and would integrate a more narrative approach, with all due grammar in place…making it much more reader-friendly.
The challenge is to create such a narrative ‘storyline’ which has sufficiently high SEO score to rank you in the first several pages of a keyword search, AND…
…AND narrative enough to be appealing to the actual reader of your profile.
I encourage the Candidates that I serve to get the best of BOTH marketing approaches—both push and pull marketing strategies. Remember, the LinkedIn search algorithm looks for your activity level FIRST and your SEO score SECOND (a close second)… so let your desired results be your guide.
While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.
It’s not a mistake to start with cutting and pasting from your resume. It becomes the core of this high tech, written ‘personal marketing’ collateral. But then edit your storyline and put personality back in to it.
The site will walk you through filling in the blanks, or you can simply use the “edit profile’ area… but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:
Branding Yourself… Directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you. Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry?
‘Professional Experience:’ What you’ve already accomplished, and your potential, your value proposition… or what you want to do, looking forward. When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job.