And Why You Should Stop Using Your Rolodex
LinkedIn is possibly the best Social Media Network for businesses, because it provides a great place for professionals to interact, share ideas, and increase business intelligence and development.
Having a profile for your company is good, if only to be represented on the Social Networking site. On a company site, make sure to place as much information as possible in a concise manner. Be aware that LinkedIn has limits on the number of characters that can be used in almost every field. Below is a short list of these limits.
Maximum Character Limits for LinkedIn:
- First Name – 20
- Last Name – 40
- Headline – 120
- Website URL Label – 20
- Status Field – 140
- Public Profile URL – 46
- Summary – 2000
- Specialties – 500
- Company Name – 100
- Position/Job Title – 100
- Position Description – 2000
- Education Degree – 100
- Education Fields of Study – 100
- Education Additional Notes – 1000
- Interests – 1000
- Groups & Associations – 1000
- Honors & Awards – 1000
- Contact Settings – 1000
While it is a very good tool for businesses, it only works if businesses remember that it is about individuals. Companies can get the best use of LinkedIn by encouraging their employees to have professional profiles and strong networking skills that reflect back on the business. This also helps build a sense of trust between companies and their clients or consumers.
Best Practices for LinkedIn:
- Find Who You Know – the key to LinkedIn is finding connections you already have made. Scan your E-mail Address Book, Search for those working in your Company, or Look for Peers you Graduated with.
- Personalized Your URL – Much like Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace, a user on LinkedIn can now make a personal URL which can distinguish your profile from others when they search within LinkedIn or through Search Engines.
- Link to Your Profile – Have a link from your website, blog, Twitter, and e-mail signature so that anyone who contacts you can also find and friend you on LinkedIn.
- Strategically Update Your Status – This keeps you relevant and causes other LinkedIn users to engage and interact with your profile. Updating your profile status 2-5 times a week is ideal.
- Join Industry Groups – The icons of groups you join show up on your profile, which then causes viewers to see you as involved in the industry and knowledgeable, even if the group is rather inactive.
- Recommend – This is the most important thing to do on LinkedIn, because this is the best judge someone has of you when they view your profile. When you recommend someone, they likely will recommend you back. And if you have built a good relationship with someone, don’t be afraid to ask them for a recommendation.
Encouraging employees to build connections within their industry is key to having a successful presence on LinkedIn. Any clients, representatives, or professional relationships they have built can reflect back on the company in a very positive way.
LinkedIn is slowly morphing into a more engaging and interactive Network, taking ideas from all popular social sites currently on the web.
Users can post and invite others to Events, which will be displayed in a calendar that is visible to a user’s connections. They can also create a reading list through Amazon. This is a great feature that allows users to show what they are currently reading or want to read, and gives them the opportunity to recommend books to their connections.
A feature beneficial for many businesses is the use of Applications on LinkedIn. A very beneficial one is the Slideshare application, which allows users to upload presentations and documents. It’s great for portfolios, conference calls and presentations, and is even ideal for storing a resume. This is really a must have feature that can change the future of sales presentations.
Finally, to really help a business get good credibility and seem knowledgeable in their market, it is important to answer questions posted by other users. If answers are clear, correct, and succinct, then other users will begin to look at that business’s employees as real masters of their industry.
And really, what’s better than being a master of your own industry?
By Abigail Wolf
Paid Search Analyst