Welcome to the fourth in a series of posts about getting started on different social media platforms! Even if you don’t have a lot of experience online, learning how to use social media is very easy. Today we are focusing on how to use LinkedIn, the professional networking service.
LinkedIn: The Backstory
LinkedIn launched in 2003 and now has over 347 million members in over 200 countries! It’s also available in 23 languages. LinkedIn sets itself apart as the largest social media platform focused exclusively on professional networking.
While many artisans and other creative business owners may associate LinkedIn with corporate professionals, it’s actually a great place to connect with other creative business owners, as well as staff from supply manufacturers, publishers, and conventions!
Optimize Your Profile
1. Use your real name, rather than a handle or alias.
2. Choose a current profile picture that is appropriate to your profession. For an artisan, this may include an “action shot” in your studio or a more formal “head shot.” Avoid group photos.
3. Use a headline that promotes you! If you’re a full time creative business owner, let everyone know. If you’re a part-time business owner, don’t choose the default headline (your job title and employer).
3. Claim your vanity URL.
4. Make use of the summary section, which has a 2,000 character limit, by talking about yourself in either first or third person. This information is searchable on LinkedIn, so be sure to include keywords.
5. Highlight your accomplishments in every section, including your summary, your experience (job) listings, and your education listings. You will not seem “braggy” because this type of self-promotion is expected on LinkedIn.
6. Don’t forget to add skills you want to highlight and ask for endorsements. This is particularly important if you are transitioning from employment in another field to running your creative business full time.
How to Use LinkedIn
Now that your profile is set up, add connections by importing email contacts. LinkedIn will also share recommendations based on the companies or schools listed in your profile and people in your existing network.
You should only connect with people you already know in real life or from an online community on LinkedIn, or your invitation can be marked as spam. Be sure to personalize the invitation to explain how you met when reaching out to someone you don’t know very well.
Periodically refresh your profile and choose to notify your network. Add a PowerPoint presentation to an existing job posting, or add a new client to your Freelance position posting.
If your blog targets your customers – or if you don’t have a blog – use LinkedIn to publish long form posts or articles about industry trends or other small business issues.
You are free to publish these posts elsewhere, or republish content from your own blog here, so it is a great way to establish a writing portfolio and build credibility.
Join groups to network and stay current on industry trends, social issues, and more! You can also share short status updates on LinkedIn. Like, comment, or share other user’s updates or posts, or ask a question or share an answer in groups to engage with other users.
Continue to grow your network on LinkedIn by adding connections you meet at craft shows, conferences, or in other online communities. You can also ask your connections for introductions to important contacts in their network. I’ve made valuable connections through introductions, and I’m sure you can, too!
Are you already using LinkedIn? What are your tips for getting started? Comment below!
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