In a skeptical world where your word is unfortunately no longer your bond, your LinkedIn profile comes in a close second as the online representation of your talents, capabilities, credibility, and professional intentions.
However, this platform is easily abused and/or misused, which can have the opposite effect on networking opportunities and the reception of your professional online presence. Bear these few things in mind upon creating your LinkedIn profile and whenever employing the network to generate leads, make new contacts, find a job, or grow your brand.
Don’t use LinkedIn to spy on potential targets. Respect other people’s intellectual property and display an adequate amount of your own. Don’t assume you can
- Behave like an Omniscient/Detached Observer
- Impress yourself into other people’s personal networks without extending the same privileged access to theirs
- Ignore the need to create a meaningful, insightful invite
- Skip a thank you note after your invitation was accepted
- Use your logo as your profile image
- Overdo your status updates, once a day at most
“LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” In order to play at all, play fair in the first place. Do not approach LinkedIn with a voyeur’s interest; show up in the spirit of mutual appeasement. Don’t expect you can approach strangers and simply have them hang all their business contacts out for you to examine at will.
- Extend invitations to those whom you feel would benefit from what you have to offer
- Accept invitations in the same fashion
- Do not mine other people’s contacts and their resumes for personal gain (It’s bad business and just bad taste.)
LinkedIn, business networking, and value propositions are all mutually inclusive. By the time you reach out to a potential contact on LinkedIn, you should already have an idea of precisely how your skills, experiences, goods, or services can benefit the other party, and vice versa.
Take time to carefully compose a summary of why you think the other party should utilize your gifts-
- Don’t brag or spin it
- Use an active voice and highlight the unique benefits you can offer.
To keep your business networking simple, restrict interactions to those with whom you intend eventual face-to-face and/or direct involvement. Unlike other social networking, LinkedIn is not for building up lists of contacts or “likes” just to prove how popular you are–or would like to appear. Business networking is for business.
On LinkedIn, business networking should be the primary, if not only focus. Use the time and access to establish your professional identity and to reach out to those whose business goals are similar to yours, and whom you believe you can help/help you.
Did I miss anything? Please share your experiences with LinkedIn and business networking, or the lack of it..