Let's just cut to the chase: if you're doing any B2B marketing or networking, you need to be on LinkedIn. I'm amazed when I hear of professional consultants who just "don't see the need to waste time on LinkedIn." If your pipeline is healthy and your calendar is full of profitable appointments, keep calm and carry on.
I think 200 million professionals might be carrying on with a bit more gusto. If you would like to make that 200 million +1, prepare to get the nuts and bolts of starting at Square One by setting up your very own LinkedIn profile. Shall we begin?
Join LinkedIn by:
- Go to www.linkedin.com.
- Enter your real First Name, Last Name, email address, and unique password, OR you can sign up with your Facebook account.
- Specify your country of residence, zip code, employment status, job title (if applicable), and company of employment.
- Wait for your t-shirt congratulating you as the 200,000,001st LinkedIn user.
(Okay, that last one is purely tongue-in-cheek. But you are now part of a huge community of professionals, so yay!)
Once you've created the bare bones of your LinkedIn profile, you still have some housekeeping to perform. Since LinkedIn is
primarily a place for professional networking, it's also a place for authenticity.
It's OK to list as much experience and background information as possible, because that is how you're going to build your gigantic network from which to find connections.
Your Network consists of all LinkedIn users who share any portion of your background, industry, or demographic detail.
Your Connections are users with whom you intentionally connect after making a request, and vice versa.
So let's dive right in - what will you need to complete in your LinkedIn Profile?
- LinkedIn will ask if you want to connect with existing users - pick and choose.
- LinkedIn will ask if you wish to invite people from your email contacts to connect on LinkedIn. Use your judgment here; not everyone may be into social media as much as you are.
- Complete your work experience, starting with current and going backwards.
- You can add links or files to each position - create a portfolio for others to see!
- Complete your educational history (again, building your network and potential connections).
- Upload an image of yourself. Do NOT use that mobile snapshot someone took of you at the Renaissance Festival; this is your professional profile, and your image should reflect that clearly.
- Add your skills. You can add up to 50 skills, and if LinkedIn doesn't already have one in its coffers, you can create one and enter it. Don't overshoot here, as people will look at your skills to discover what you actually know.
Beyond that, it's just about adjusting your settings (email notifications, adding your Twitter account, etc.) and you can start engaging! I would absolutely recommend completing ALL of the above steps before beginning involvement in Groups or commenting/sharing updates... people will view your profile and (all together now):