If it helps, think of social media the same way you would your refrigerator or kitchen pantry. There are some things you should always have on hand since you’d be hard pressed to cook anything edible without them. And if you don’t cook, we’re talking eggs and butter, sugar or salt. The essentials.
In the same way, there are certain social-media sites that are more essential than others. Due to its popularity and functionality, LinkedIn is one of those sites. Niche sites devoted to your profession or preferences have their benefits but can’t compete with the sheer number of users and applications LinkedIn offers.
Here are some tips to optimizing your presence …
Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your LinkedIn page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. Which means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your websites as well. Also, try recommending some professionals you’ve done business with to get things started. Get connected through your address book and join some industry groups. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.
Your Summary: It’s easy to think once you’ve added your work history that there’s no point of also writing a summary. Or maybe you’re just not a natural writer so you prefer the fill-in-the-blanks portion of setting up your LinkedIn profile. Either way, you’ll have to get over it. Think of the summary as your pitch to potential business. Sure, you can start with a little background but try to express what you can do just as much as what you’ve done. And keep it short and conversational. It can be difficult to write about yourself. Make it easier by writing the way you speak rather than using corporate lingo only your colleagues can comprehend.
Your Homework: There are no shortage of ways you can use your LinkedIn profile to connect with potential clients and communicate within your industry and region. Nothing will happen unless you make it happen, though. That means, you’ll have to login and participate. For starters, use LinkedIn to research prospects and competition, ask and answer questions, join groups, link your updates with your other social-media accounts, add your blog, setup a vanity URL rather than using the random address provided, and promote your page wherever and whenever you can. Don’t hide behind the Internet. Interact, communicate, and connect.