The List
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By Jim Gibson - Publishing Partner, Online Media Today

"The List", Online Media Today's Top 10's debuts today with our Top 10 Tips for using LinkedIn.

Ten Tips When Using LinkedIn!

LinkedIn Tip #1: Have a Plan 

Decide what you want to accomplish before you start.  LinkedIn, like other business oriented social networking sites, offer a number of ways to generate the results you are after.  Want to present your company?  Looking for a job?  Network with like-minded professionals?  Need an answer?  Want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your space?  Each of these approaches present excellent opportunities to leverage professional online networks but make sure your plan is solid before you start.

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LinkedIn Tip #2: Make Your Profile Easy to Digest

Tell your story but keep it brief.  Short, pithy, sentences are more likely to be read than lengthy paragraphs.  It’s like an elevator pitch (explained in less than 1 minute).  Use bullet points.  Readers often scan content and bullets help to highlight your successes.  Provide details of your work history and make sure to highlight your special skills.  Above all, make sure to check for proper grammar.   Make sure to use important keywords when describing your professional experiences as these can help others find you more easily.  And before you post your profile, read it aloud to yourself to hear how it sounds or better yet, ask a colleague to read it and tell you what they think. 

LinkedIn Tip #3 – Your Profile Photo

You must have a picture!   But make sure it’s a good one and shows you in a professional light.  This is not the time to be too cutesy.  Don’t upload the picture you took at your last toga party.  For women, this is not the time to strike that sexy pose.  Choose a professional and friendly picture that demonstrates your real personality yet shows you are here for business. 


LinkedIn Tip #4: Give (and ask for) Recommendations
If you want recommendations on your profile, be prepared to ask for them.  Look at those you are connected to and offer recommendations to those who deserve them.  Make them short and to the point and be sure to include specific accomplishments – don’t be too general.  The more genuine the recommendation you give, the more likely it is to be returned.   Rule of thumb: if someone gives you a recommendation, thank them first then return the favor!

LinkedIn Tip #5: Join Groups

Be a contributor.  Generate posts and respond to discussions.  Group interactions provide you and your company great exposure.  Check out other member profiles and follow their discussions.  This is a great way to identify valuable contacts and network in meaningful ways.


LinkedIn Tip #6: Be the first to comment!


Clearly, it's important to engage and interact with your audience. This helps to establish you as a valued contributor and can lead to more meaningful connections.  But what most people do is look for posts that already have lots of comments and, only then, do they add theirs to the mix.  The common thought, naturally being, posting where there are lots of people = lots more visibility.

Don't get me wrong - that's cool. But the important thing here is to support the post originator and there's nothing cooler than to give that first (note: quality) acknowledgement. People post on social sites in order to get feedback and hate it when a post goes virtually unnoticed. The first one to post is a welcome sight (Ahhh.. someone noticed!) and helps to foster a new relationship with the person who started the discussion in the first place! This is the true meaning of social networking - one on one. But, by building relationships intelligently, one on ones ultimately lead to one on many.

Don't be afraid to be the first to post a comment. A good post originator will thank you, appreciate you and most of all notice you. It's done this way in real world social settings so why not acknowledge its effectiveness in the virtual world as well.


LinkedIn Tip #7: Connect with Thought Leaders
Find those considered leaders in your industry.  Search by company to find the people who are true influencers and follow what they are doing.  Research who your industry leaders are through existing trade publications and find them on LinkedIn.  If they are and we share a contact I know well, reach out through the contact for an introduction. 

LinkedIn Tip #8 – Selecting Groups


 Search groups using industry keywords and related topics
 Look at the groups of industry leaders, subject matter experts and top executives
 Look at groups your connections are members of
 Use pertinent Q&A category and ask what groups people belong to
 Pose the question in your current groups: “What other groups do you find useful?”


LinkedIn Tip #9 – Use the Search Feature


Using the “Search function on your LinkedIn home page (upper right), you can “search” on People, Jobs, Companies, Answers, Inbox and Groups.

If you move to the right of the search box and click on “Advanced,” you can search on keywords, name, company (current and past), geographic location, industry, job title (current and past), school, groups, by language, by the interest of those being searched, when they joined LinkedIn, those in or out of your network, and by relevance – and any combination of the above.

Find the companies you want to do business with and the people you need to meet at those companies.  With over 50,000,000 business professionals registered, your search results can pay big dividends


LinkedIn Tip #10: Use Applications


LinkedIn has teamed up with some of the Internet’s premier companies to offer registered users access to new applications that enable you to collaborate on projects, get key insights, and present your work to your audience in interactive ways.  Have a Power Point presentation you want to share?  Install the free SlideShare app and instantly share your presentation to a wider audience.  Need to brainstorm with your team on a new idea?  Load Huddle Workspaces on your profile and instantly collaborate with your colleagues.  There are many apps to choose from and several are showcased at:
http://learn.linkedin.com/apps/.

We'd love to hear what you think!  If you have your own favorite LinkedIn tips, we'd like to know about them.  Please take a moment to share your favs with us and we'll continue to update this list with your recommendations.

That's it for now.  Check back for the next installment of "The List".  Our next topic will be the Top 10 Social Media Blogs.

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About the Author:

Jim Gibson is a certified search engine marketing professional and serial entrepreneur.  In addition to Online Media Today, Jim is a principal at GibSEM Group (http://www.gibsem.com) and has founded several internet properties including online B2C directory, Service Omni, Inc. (http://www.serviceomni.com) and QuakeDog, Inc. (www.quakedog.com), a network marketing company focused on the sale of personal survival gear.  You can reach Jim at: jgibson@gibsem.com or follow him @GibSEM.
12/28/2009 12:20:35 am

Jim,

Great information. I am going to move on tip number 6. Be the first to comment. I'm never first in anything, but I am first here. Lol

I am putting together my goals for the year and part of my action plans will be to use LinkedIn more than I have prior. Looking around LinkedIn, there is a ton of things that would be helpful that I am not using. Your recommend tips are easy to incorporate. Thanks for the great work.

Ken Baker

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12/28/2009 10:27:11 am

Linked in is a great business networking tool and your points are excellent, including the two that were posted later.

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12/31/2009 12:25:33 am

This is a very well rounded and awesome list. Thank you for writing it.

A question came up regarding tip #2...

I used to think that listing your story and experience was similar to pasting your resume into the section. Do you recommend writing the content in a "resume tone" or something different?

Thanks,

Reid

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1/1/2010 01:46:15 pm

Hi Reid: thanks for your comments. Much appreciated. Fortunately, LinkedIn takes the more routine resume content (work history, dates, etc.) and lists that separately. The Summary area is really where your creativity can shine and you are able to tell your story in a compelling way. When you ask about tone, its really more about what your individual style is - no doubt, keep in mind you have a diverse audience of readers but let the Summary show who you really are. In the long run, I believe this will serve you best.

Thanks again and happy new year!

Jim Gibson
Online Media Today

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1/2/2010 05:00:35 pm

Dear Jim:
This list is so excellent that I will re-publish it (with full attribution of course) on my blog for my blog readers. I hope this is okay.
Very best
Susan

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1/3/2010 05:14:31 am

Thank you for a great list. I needed the reminder.
Chris

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1/3/2010 05:20:58 am

Gentlemen, great post, but you are missing one of my favorite ways to use LinkedIn... The Introduction! I've introduced people and have been introduced... it beats cold calling any day.
By the way, Mike, next time, get a snap to hook that helmet on! As you rode away, i was worried your helmet would fly off!
Love the videos on your site... (especially because i ride a Harley too, that one caught my eye).
Keep up the great work. Enjoy reading your stuff!

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1/3/2010 08:33:36 am

Thanks for the helpful 10 tips. I like the groups because there's always interesting conversations going on and if I like what i read I then follow that person on Twitter and/or check out their website/blog. I love helping people by sharing things I know. Hope everybody enjoyed their holiday weekend! cheers! -- DorriOlds.com

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1/3/2010 11:41:16 am

Hi folks: thanks again for all your great comments! It helps to know fine people like you all are reading our blog. :)

Susan: not a problem.. post away :)

Jody: at least Michael did a quick head check for oncoming traffic. :)

Keep readin' & watchin'

to use my words at the end of the video, "Lets Rock and Roll" in 2010!

Jim Gibson

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1/5/2010 12:04:41 am

Thanks so much, Jim, for a concise and helpful post, rings true with my 2010 resolution to utilize LinkedIn more fully!

Thanks again,
Suzanne

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1/5/2010 06:56:14 am

I find this a pretty good list; I'm in agreement with all but Tip #4. Can someone here help me feel a little better on this one?

I have a definite negative feeling upon seeing dozens of recommendations; they feel to me fake, artificial, forced. They are certainly without context to judge.

I take seriously recommendations in the "protein" world; I give them carefully and listen carefully for nuances when I follow them up. You can't do either on LinkedIn.

Worse, the kind of reciprocity "you do for me I do for you" that is very much the grease of online etiquette, I think backfires in this area. Using a quid pro quo approach to recommendations pretty much ruins their value as objectivity--it just means, according to the recommendations above, that someone recommended me so I have to recommend them. I find that a negative, not a positive.

That said, let me recognize: 11 people ahead of me on this comment list have either explicitly or tacitly approved it. Those are long odds. I've certainly been wrong before.

But help me out, folks. What am I missing here? Help me feel better about Tip #4?

Thanks,

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1/6/2010 12:50:19 pm


I totally agree with all of the Tips. They're great!

Charles, I'm sorry, but I can't help you here. Personally, when I see someone has a lot of recommendations, I it raises my level of respect for them.

With that said, it's true that we will only write positive things about someone and omit the negatives, but from personal experience I actually think hard about what to write. So there are no cut-and-past recommendations, and I think most folks do the same thing.

If I don't like someone's work ethic, I won't recommending them, period. So I believe that anything that is written about a person is true.

I, personally, am kind of embarrassed to ask for a recommendation (that is somewhat cheesy, but is kind of necessary), so I've only asked friends to write one.

Other than that, I'll write a recommendation if I like someone's performance, and if they they do the same - great!



Angella Raisian @ ttp://AngellaRaisian.com

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Larry Latham
1/11/2010 01:16:12 am

Excellent column! All 10 tips are right on the market. I personally like the groups because of the information and ideas we can garner from them.

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1/11/2010 01:09:07 pm

These tips are great and relevant for just about any website/forum you enter. Thanks for the list.
Peace,
Megan

http://megan-mcginnis.com

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1/13/2010 09:09:44 am

Thanks,
Very good information.
The Harris Company, Real Estate Appraisers and COnsultants
Los Angeles
310.337.1973

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1/13/2010 05:44:48 pm

Little bit late, but want to congrats Jim on the list. Always have it next to you.

We are so busy, and miss real opportunities on LinkedIn.

People, you know where to find me.

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1/24/2010 01:47:36 am

Right on. Nice post, and what a GREAT way to build your list and stay connected (all while providing news that can use).

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2/26/2011 02:52:18 pm

A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.

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7/17/2012 04:27:38 pm

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7/17/2012 04:59:15 pm

Good post , interesting views, I`m sure there is more to come

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7/23/2012 05:08:05 am

I enjoyed reading your blog, thank you.

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