Time is perhaps our most valuable asset. In business, how efficiently we achieve our goals is very important. Business owners must juggle scarce resources to grow their companies. Job seekers must focus their time on relevant targets to get the right offer.

LinkedIn can be a time and cost efficient way to expand your career or business. However, the benefits of this networking platform are also challenges.

Benefits/Challenges of LinkedIn:

  • Broad Exposure:  Pro: You can quickly connect with countless professionals.  Con: Connections may not be as strong.
  • Low Barrier to Entry: Pro: Nearly anyone is welcome to join. Con: This makes it difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
  • Low Cost: Pro: Users can create a basic profile for free. Con: A premium membership is often needed to achieve results. On the positive side, a paid member may be more committed.

So, how can you avoid being another generic profile on this vast network?

Here are tips to maximize your LinkedIn ROI:

Customize Your Profile URL:

A standard URL blurs together with other profiles. LinkedIn assigns a profile URL with some variation of your name and random letters or numbers.

You can build a business or personal brand with a custom URL.  A unique URL may also contain search terms that make it easy for relevant contacts to find each other. For instance, a landscaper may use ‘lawn guy’ in their URL.

How to do it: Privacy & Settings >Helpful Links>Edit Your Public Profile>Customize your public profile URL.

Have a Custom Headline:

Most LinkedIn users simply put their job title as a headline. Unless you work in a small niche, this does not generate interest compared to other profiles. LinkedIn gives us120 words to convey the value of our skills.

As an example, “1st page SEO specialist for all your marketing needs” may be more effective than “SEO Analyst”. A value statement sets you apart. Executive Producer Elliott Broidy brought attention to his film ‘Sugar’ with an eye catching post this past summer. He wrote the film is “Changing hearts and minds about youth homelessness”. The film went on earn a Congressional screening and award at the Manhattan Film Festival.

Consider your industry and target audience when writing a headline. Be confident without boasting. A reserved tone may be appropriate for certain industries.

Choose an Appropriate Photo:

Photos for LinkedIn should reflect your business image. What is an appropriate photo will vary by industry and objective.

T-shirt and jeans may be appropriate for a general contractor but not a CPA. Similarly, photos in a casual setting are more approachable than studio shots. A lawyer may post a smiling photo at his/her office instead of a formal pose at the photography studio. Whatever the choice, choose a photo with high picture quality. A blurry photo takes away from your credibility.

Be Selective with Connection Requests:

‘Cold calling’ is frowned on at LinkedIn. Avoid sending connection requests in bulk to folks you don’t know. LinkedIn detects spam attempts when there are many requests with few accepted invites. Instead, start by targeting contacts with common connections.

Tip: Write a custom message for your connection request. Your invites are more likely to be accepted with a personal message. For example, you can mention common contacts, experience or college alma maters.

Manage Your Settings:

We can unintentionally become pests on LinkedIn. How? Your connections get an email of each profile update.  Excessive updates also distract attention from our substantive posts.

Thankfully, you can adjust LinkedIn settings to stop auto updates. Here’s how: Privacy & Settings>”Turn Off” Notify Connections When I Make a Profile Update

Summary:

Networking is an effective way to build your career or business. You can enjoy more success on LinkedIn with basic tips to improve visibility.