Now that the Endorsements feature on LinkedIn has been around for a while, it’s been interesting watching the activity among my connections. It’s a good feeling being endorsed for my skills and expertise. Some people are even endorsing me (and others) for skills I know they haven’t experienced with me, but it’s nice to know that they feel confident in my abilities. And, of course, I’m endorsing people for the skills and expertise I believe they possess and which fit with their core business.
I’ve also noticed that some people are being endorsed for skills that I doubt they would put on a resume or use when meeting with potential clients. Such as the business consultant who is being endorsed for “Dashboard”, whatever that means (he didn’t know either). Or the bookkeeper I know who is getting a lot of endorsements for her social media marketing skills. It’s true that this bookkeeper does use social media to promote her business, and she does a good job of it. However, when I asked her if social media marketing was one of her present or future services, she confirmed that, no, she was sticking with bookkeeping. We then had a discussion about the skills for which she really wants endorsements (and appearance in searches by other LinkedIn users), such as Quickbooks, Accounts Payable, Accounting, etc.
This brings me to my next question: Are you being endorsed (and found) for the skills you really want on LinkedIn? If not, what can you do about it?
Keep in mind that if you hadn’t listed Skills and Expertise on your profile previously, LinkedIn may have filled some in for you based on your summary and experience. So, take a look at your profile and see if the Skills and Expertise listed are really ones that speak about what you do and offer to others.
This video gives you tips on how to modify your profile to highlight your most important skills and expertise.
If you’ve logged into your LinkedIn account in the last few days, you’ve probably noticed a new feature called Endorsements where you can vouch for the individuals skills and expertise of your connections. While this is an interesting feature, you may have felt the impact of the additional “clutter” in the news feed on your home page as you now can see who has endorsed whom.
Like me, you may not be interested in seeing ALL of the activity that happens among your connections, especially if you have more than 500 of them. The good news is that you can filter out a lot of the noise and focus on the updates that you do want to see.
To see all of your filtering options, click on the “All Updates” link on your home page (see below). The drop-down box lists a host of options. If you want to just see the shares of your connections (such as when they share articles), click on “Shares” and take a look at what you get. Likewise, if you want to see what your connections are up to in their Groups, select “Groups”.
My favorite filter, though, is the “Customize” option. When you select “Customize”, you get to choose the types of updates that you see on your home page at all times (see below). You can go through the list and uncheck the boxes of the updates that you do not want to see. You may want to do some experimentation, as I have, to see the most valuable information.
Do you see the “Hidden” tab in the image above? This is another great filter option for those people whom you want to keep as connections but who just post way too much or tend to post items that aren’t valuable to you. If you click on the “Hidden” tab, you will see all of the connections whose updates you have hidden.
How do you hide someone’s posts? Just hover over the latest post of the person you want to hide and you’ll see the “Hide” link. You always have the option to “unhide” a connection if you choose by going back to the “Customize” link and selecting “Show Updates” next to the person’s name in the “Hidden” tab (see above).
By the way, you can also hide the LinkedIn Today feature on your home page as well. Just hover your cursor directly underneath the “All Updates” link and you’ll see the “Hide” button.
I have found that my experience on my LinkedIn home page has become much more focused and valuable since I took the time to customize the updates I see. Give it a try if you haven’t already.
Did you know there’s a feature available on LinkedIn company pages that most large companies such as Dell and Microsoft use, but small businesses rarely do? LinkedIn calls this feature a “Product and Service Spotlight” – a 3-panel slideshow that you can customize and link to your website or other landing pages. Your small business can distinguish itself by creating a slideshow that highlights your products and services visually. Microsoft’s 3-slide spotlight, below, highlights the company’s technology support, Office 2010 and web apps.
As long as you can create images (640 x 220 pixels in size), you can create your own spotlight.
Here are the steps to adding a spotlight to your company page:
1. On your LinkedIn company overview page, click on the Product & Services tab in the top navigation. (If your company page contains only Products and/or Services, you may see only Products or Services in that tab. Note that Microsoft has a Products only tab, above).
2. Click on the Admin tools button on the far right and select Edit.
3. Go to Step 3: Market and showcase your company with up to 3 images. Add up to 3 images (640×220 pixels) with corresponding URLs, and LinkedIn will create a rotating spotlight module to display on your page. The URLs you match with the images should take visitors to the web pages that contain more information about what’s highlighted in the images. Many companies use these images as calls to action, such as in the Microsoft example above.
By the way, the rotating spotlight is manual, meaning the user has to click on the arrows on the top right to go to the next screen. Because of this, choose your first image wisely. We hope that LinkedIn will make this an automatically rotating slideshow in the future.
A couple of other examples of company pages with the rotating spotlight are:
Most small businesses (and many large businesses) haven’t taken advantage of this feature, so you will be able to stand out with a few simple steps. We’ve noticed better engagement with our services listings since we added the spotlight to our company page.
Did you know that you can target different audiences in the Products and Services section of your LinkedIn Company page? For those of you who aren’t familiar with LinkedIn Company Pages, you should know that they can be a great platform to showcase your company’s products and services as well as share updates with your followers. For business owners, developing a robust Company Page is taking advantage of a great opportunity to capture the attention of professionals already hunting for opportunities, products and services on LinkedIn.
Recently, Lori Ruff, aka the LinkedIn Diva, alerted us to the fact that the Products and Services section of LinkedIn Company Pages can be targeted to specific groups of individuals and/or locations. For example, you can create version A that is shown to people in U.S. companies with 11-50 employees, version B that is targeted to consultants in Asia and version C that appears to senior market researchers in the Middle East.
Here’s how to create different versions of your Company page. Please note that this applies to the Products and Services section.
1. In your company page, go to the Products and Services tab. (If you have included only Services or Products in this section, the tab will be called either “Products” or “Services”.) Click “Edit” under “Admin tools” on the right.
First, you’ll need to create a default version of your Company page, if you haven’t already done so. You have the option of creating a 3-slide slideshow of images that describe your products/services. These slides can be linked to webpages of your choice. You may also add a YouTube video URL. Once you have created the default version by following the steps on the page, you can then create a new audience. You’ll see the “Create New Audience” on the top left (shown below).
You may create a new audience using the following filters: Company Size, Job Function, Industry, Seniority and Geography. There are several more filtering options within these categories.
Once you have determined your new Cateogory of audience, you can finish the rest of the section, which includes developing another targeted 3-slide slideshow (LinkedIn calls this a rotating spotlight module) . You may want to have a graphic designer develop images that appeal to each audience.
After you have further tweaked your Company page to take advantage of this targeting function, be sure to encourage people to follow your page by adding a Follow button to your website.
Last week LinkedIn announced that companies now have the ability to share news with followers of their LinkedIn Company Pages through Status Updates. This ability has been given to administrators of the Company Pages, and the updates appear as coming from the company rather than the individual.
This marks a change in the visibility of companies in the LinkedIn space. Giving companies the means to communicate and interact with followers brings the LinkedIn Company Pages a little more on par with Facebook’s Business Pages or even Twitter (where companies have always been able to share updates). Previously, the Company Pages were virtually static placeholders.
As you can see below, the status update now shows up in your network activity on your home page as coming from the company instead of an individual.
What does this mean for business owners on LinkedIn? The Company Page status updates present an opportunity and a challenge. My company appreciates the opportunity to increase our visibility and engagement through our Company Page. However, we are now challenged to further develop our page, increase our follower base and also deliver content that will be engaging and helpful.
If you do not have a Company Page yet, now would be the time to build one. To build a company page, click on “Companies” in the main navigation. Look to the top right and you’ll see a link called “Add a Company”. It’s a step-by-step process from there.
I haven’t heard that LinkedIn has plans to add more features to the Company Pages, but this may be the beginning of a focus on encouraging companies to build a greater presence on the platform.
If you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while, chances are good that it’s time to review your profile and spruce it up a bit. Here are a few tips to give it some extra polish and “findability”.
Customize your personal URL. Unless you like having a personal URL (or website address) for your profile that has a bunch of random numbers in it, take a minute to personalize it. A personalized URL looks nicer when you’re sharing it on a business card or in an email signature, etc. To customize it, just go to your Edit Profile screen and click on “Edit” next to Public Profile.
Once you have clicked on the above link, you can enter in your preferred URL. If you have a common name, you may need to add your middle initial or some other variation if someone else has already taken the URL you want. You can make the URL whatever you want, as long as it’s available.
Customize your website listing. Instead of having the generic “Personal Website”, “Blog” or “Company Website” listed, why not customize and let viewers of your profile know exactly what website they will be viewing? Go to your Edit Profile screen and click on “Edit” next to the website(s) listed.
On the next screen, if you choose “Other”, you can customize the description of the website to say whatever you want.
Share an update. A LinkedIn profile looks more current when you post an update on it every couple of days. Share a link to a great article, blog or upcoming event. You could also share a quote or news about a productive meeting or connection.
Whenever you share an update, not only does it appear on your profile, but it is also visible to any of your connections who might be looking at their network activity on their home page.
Add your Skills. Make your profile more “findable” by adding a Skills section. I noticed that when I added my skills to my profile, I appeared in search results about twice as often as before.
Get further details on adding skills to your LinkedIn profile here. Take some time to list as many relevant skills as you can. It’s also worth taking some time to check out the Skills beta feature, which is located under the “More” tab. This section has some great statistics and information about the skills that are important today as well as what you might want to include on your own profile.
Are you ready to dust off that LinkedIn profile and make it easier for people to find you?
If you have a business, you definitely want to be found on LinkedIn. So you build your LinkedIn profile to 100% completeness with a generic Headline (such as Owner of XYZ Inc.), a couple of paragraphs in your Summary, a handful of Specialties and your Experience. Time goes by and you notice that very few people have checked out your profile.
The problem might be that your services, products and areas of expertise are obscure and not much in demand. However, the problem might also be that you aren’t thinking like the people who are trying to find you.
Whenever you create a profile on a social media platform such as LinkedIn, you need to include key words and phrases that people will use to find someone with your skills, products and/or services. That means getting into the minds of the people who are doing the searching. Ask your associates, friends and family what words and pharses they would use in Google, for instance, to look for you and your business. Compile a list; what you see may surprise you. Use the list to flesh out your profile in your Heading, Summary, Specialties and Experience.
It’s also a good practice to add the Skills section to your profile (Click on Add Sections underneath the blue box on your Edit Profile page- you’ll be able to add the Skills section there) and fill it with all of your relevant skills and expertise. The idea is to expand your profile to contain all of the relevant words and phrases that people might use to search for you.
In order to get some more ideas about what terms people might be using to find you, take a look at the Skills beta feature in LinkedIn. It’s located under the More tab. http://www.linkedin.com/skills/?trk=skill-rank When you type in a skill here, you get a new page with information about that skill as well as a large list of related skills on the left of the page. You’ll also see a list of people’s profiles that are related to that skill. Take some time to look at the profiles of those people and see what you might be missing. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little reconnaissance!
As I was doing some research for a client, I came across a LinkedIn profile for a singer/dancer/performer. Her profile contained a section with beautiful photographs called “Creative Portfolio Display- Powered by Behance”, so naturally I had to investigate further. When I clicked on this section in her profile, I was able to read an enhanced bio and look at photographs and videos of her performances.
The Behance Network (behance.net) is a place where creative individuals can showcase their work, look for jobs, and also be found for projects or jobs. Artists, bloggers, singers, dancers, photographers, videographers, architects, writer, advertisers- if you’re creative, this is a great platform to build a multimedia portfolio that you can share with the world. You do have to request an invitation, but once you’re invited, setting up a portfolio is a fairly simple process.
Behance is also one of the applications that you can add to your LinkedIn profile. Creative professionals use Behance to showcase their creative talent to professional contacts and recruiters who are viewing their LinkedIn profile. Find the Behance application by going to your Edit Profile page and then scrolling down to “Add Section”. Click on that and you’ll have the option of adding the “Creative Portfolio Display”. After installing the application, you’ll upload your portfolio in the Behance Network. You can create an unlimited number of multimedia projects, and you can also select which projects are displayed on your LinkedIn profile.
Of course, if you are looking for creative people for your company, Behance can be another avenue to find talent and see a myriad of work displayed. Check out the portfolio of architect Christopher Currie.
Even if you’re not a creative person, I would still encourage everyone to check out Behance.net to see some amazing portfolios. You can also choose to Follow the work of creative professionals and get notified when they post something new to their profiles on Behance.
In our last post, we discussed some of the new features, such as Skills, Certifications, Publications and Languages, that you can add to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn also added a cool new beta feature in February, also called Skills, which is located under the “More” tab in the main navigation and is different but related to the Skills section on your profile.
LinkedIn describes this Skills feature as a “way to discover up-and-coming areas of expertise that professionals need to stay ahead of the curve.” Skills catalogs the top companies, people, regions and jobs related to skills in which members have expertise. Professionals can keep pace with their competition by discovering the most popular skills (current “buzzwords” too) others are adding to their profiles. Hiring managers and recruiters can tap into top talent with the specific skills they need. And job seekers can focus their search to companies where their expertise would be the best fit and make the most impact.
When you search for a particular skill (see below), LinkedIn will return key people within that skill set and show you the top geographic locations, relevant companies, targeted jobs and groups where you can interact with other people. You can also explore similar skills and compare their growth relative to each other.
After you have searched for a skill (we tried “Software Project Management”, see below), you can add it into your profile directly from that skill’s page. However, if you want to include your Proficiency and Years of Experience for that skill, you’ll need to go back to your Edit Profile page and edit your Skills section there.
In order to become one of the members listed in Skills, you’ll need to add skills to your profile (again, go to the Edit Profile page and click on “Add sections” which is located under the blue box). If you’re looking for a new position or new clients, this is vital.
Job seekers can definitely gain from spending some time in Skills by tracking the most popular skills in their industry, checking out their competition and scoping out related positions. Business owners can similarly benefit. Take some time to check it out for yourself and see how Skills can enhance your LinkedIn experience.
Since December of last year, LinkedIn has added some new features that users can add to enhance their profiles, such as Skills, Certifications, Publications and Languages. LinkedIn did not heavily advertise the launch of these new features, so if you haven’t edited your profile in a while, you may not have noticed them.
We recommend that you add as many applicable sections to your profile as you can in order to give more valuable information to other users -as well as make your profile even more searchable, which is critical.
How do I add sections to my profile?
Adding sections to your LinkedIn profile is simple. Just click on the “Edit Profile” tab and look under the blue box where all of your vital information is displayed. Under the right side of the box you will find an “Add Sections” link. Click on that link and you will be taken to a screen where you can choose which sections and applications you would like to add.
Once you click on the section you would like to add, you will be able to enter in the applicable information. After you add a section, it won’t show up on the “Add Sections” page again; however, you will be able to edit the section from your “Edit Profile” page. The most beneficial section to add is Skills.
There is already a Specialities section. Why do I need a Skills section?
Specialities are searchable on LinkedIn’s Advanced Search, but Skills are searchable via the new LinkedIn feature also called Skills, located under the “More” tab (we’ll write more about this cool feature in a future post). Add in as many of your skills as you can. Since you have the ability to include your proficiency level and years of experience as well, you can enhance your profile with a new layer of credibility and keywords.
Can I reorganize my profile so that my new Skills section is more visible?
Yes. LinkedIn has made it easy for you to move your sections around. On your “Edit Profile” page, click on the plus sign to the left of the section name, then drag the tab up or down to wherever you want. It may still be best to keep the Summary section first, since that’s what most people expect to see, but it might not be a bad idea to mix things up. Individuals who are looking for a new job may organize their sections differently from those who are searching for new clients.
If you feel like you are not getting much use out of LinkedIn, it may be because you are missing out on participating in some of the thousands of available groups. In many ways, creating a profile on LinkedIn but avoiding the groups would be like showing up and walking around at a big networking event with business cards and a nametag and then leaving without talking to anyone.
Groups can be important to your LinkedIn experience because they allow you to the opportunity to connect with new people and develop relationships that can lead to even more connections and new business. Many people are more apt to connect with others if they share a common group membership. Groups are also great because you have an opportunity to learn from others in your area of expertise or interest. You can ask questions, answer questions, share your expertise and knowledge, read news articles and blogs, and find out about events, seminars and webinars. Many groups, such as the Linked Local West Suburban Chicago group, hold their own real-life networking events so that its members can strengthen the relationships built on LinkedIn.
Thinking strategically about the groups you join is a smart move. The groups you join don’t have to be strictly business-oriented. If you like Ford Mustangs, for instance, there is a Mustang group (or two) for you. In fact, a financial advisor who is passionate about Mustangs can probably do more business and relationship-building with other Mustang enthusiasts than in a group of mostly financial advisors. If you’re the only Mustang-loving financial advisor, you’ll stand out. Putting some thought into the groups you join can make all the difference in your business development activities.
In order to find groups to join on LinkedIn, go to the search bar on the top right (pictured below) and enter in your search terms. You may be surprised at what you find. LinkedIn also will suggest groups that you may like based on your profile information.
A good rule of thumb is to join groups that have at least 100 members so that there is regular activity. You can also create your own group if you wish, but it’s probably a good idea to become active in a couple first so that you know what being a group owner and manager entails.
At this point, LinkedIn allows individuals to join up to 50 groups and 50 sub-groups. Joining at least a handful of groups and contributing to them on a regular basis can really expand your network. If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of LinkedIn groups, start now. With close to 1 million of them, you should be able to find at least a couple that meet your needs.
With over 100 million users and a recent IPO, LinkedIn continues to be a popular place for business professionals and owners to increase their networks and find new sources of revenue. With a huge pool of users, you want your profile to be returned in the LinkedIn search results when someone is looking for your services, products, or skill set.
The Summary section of your LinkedIn profile (located underneath the light blue box containing your essential information) is an often overlooked opportunity to include important content. The ability for people to find your profile depends on LinkedIn’s search engine that links your name to certain keywords. Just as it is important to put keywords on your website for search engine optimization, it is important to include keywords in your summary.
Many people’s summaries are only a few sentences or 1 or 2 paragraphs. Since the Summary section has a 2,000 character limit, you have an opportunity include several decent-sized paragraphs about why it would be a good idea to do business with or hire you. Including words and phrases that people are likely to use in a search for someone like you is a smart strategy. In short, the more content and pertinent words and phrases you include in your Summary, the more searchable you become.
When you write or revise your Summary, try to think like someone who would be looking for you. What words or phrases would they likely use? Also, if you have a business that is dependant on a certain geographic area, it wouldn’t hurt to include that city or region in your summary. Take advantage of the space that LinkedIn gives you and get found!
Are you overwhelmed with everything you feel you must do on a daily basis in order to accomplish your social media goals? You know you aren’t alone. We meet people in our training classes or consulting sessions who spend hours on social media and less on their businesses, or others who feel so overwhelmed that they do nothing in social media at all.
Many people say that they use LinkedIn to gain visibility and find new connections and business. If that’s your situation, then here are 3 things you can do every day that will help you accomplish your goals.
1. Update your status every day. That’s the section where you can post an update, which is located underneath your photo and headline on the Profile page. Take a few minutes each day and post a short comment and link to an article, blog, upcoming event, book. Post a helpful quote. Share news of your business. Better yet, if you’re already posting items like these to Twitter, add a #in to your tweet and your status will automatically be updated (as long as you have linked your Twitter account with your LinkedIn account). When you update your status every day, people who are checking in to the network activity on their Home page may see your update and check you out a bit more. I noticed a big increase in views of my profile, and resulting email inquiries, when I started doing this on a regular basis.
2. Take 5 minutes on your Home page and scan the Updates of your connections. Choose a few of those updates to “like” or even leave a comment on them. Your connections will see your activity and remember that you are around. This is also a great opportunity to remind yourself about your connections and see what you might be able to do to help them.
3. Check in with one or two of your groups. Again, comment on or “like” posts from group members. Also, scan to see if there are any new members that are not connected with you and consider inviting them into your network. Having a group connection is a great way to make new connections; people are generally more open to accepting your invite if they see a group in common. It also helps if you personalize your invitation.
There are certainly additional things you can do in LinkedIn on a regular basis, but if you are pressed for time, these 3 activities will keep you out front.