iStock_000011463521Small - signpostThe New Year kicked in last week, we all enjoyed the party, made the resolutions, and probably half of you have already broken them! Hence we thought we would give you a quick ten things that will make a huge difference to your LinkedIn.

Most common approaches to LinkedIn are driven by a tick mentality – done profile (tick), connect with people (tick) – get success from LinkedIn? Hmm.

Let’s stop ticking boxes and start thinking about LinkedIn differently, it is just you as you are in real life when you go to meet a room of people you know, network, or attend a conference.

  1. Take time to refresh and review your profile – The new profile format has made changing your profile even easier! Think about your summary – it’s important to be you. Ensure your profile reflects you, your brand, your style and the reasons people engage with you.
  2. Look like you do in business life – You are fourteen times more likely to be looked at on LinkedIn with a photograph, but not just any photograph, look professional, up to date so you look like you do at work, not one of these twelve profile photographs I never want to see on LinkedIn! Invest some time or money in a good picture, not just for LinkedIn either but for use across your media.
  3. Only join the right groups – You should join groups not just full of peers, but those where your people of interest or clients go to. Comment and interact, be yourself, be professional, and get involved. Demonstrate your expertise, your insights, and demonstrate your value to others. If it is a dead group then leave.
  4. Do status messages – It would be great to think everyone remembers you, your value, and all you do, but get real – they don’t. You need to remind people, tell them the latest positive news updates regarding you and your work, remind people you exist and your value, not in a salesy way, just share a bit like you would if you met people and they asked “what are you up to …” – simple and quick to do.
  5. Get written recommendations – Skills endorsement does not carry the same weight as a written recommendation. Don’t forget a written recommendation makes you three times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn and enables you to share the opinion of your happy clients of your work and provides yet more credibility to your brand, but there are good and bad recommendations.
  6. Include a phone number in your contact information – You don’t want a relationship with your connections based on messages only do you? Talk to people, perish the thought meet them and share some time, some views and build the relationships in real life over a coffee. Makes it really difficult for a connection to call you if you don’t have a telephone number!
  7. Identify easy to reach referrals – One of my frustrations with how others use LinkedIn is that they haven’t realized it is the best sales tool no one uses. Just imagine LinkedIn can send you a list of potential clients that your closest connections already know and would happily introduce you to if you just asked them to and it’s free.
  8. Learn about how LinkedIn works – Make time to learn how the platform works, LinkedIn provides some free low-level videos, there is the help centre, my blog, or you can learn more on a good course. Look for providers with good company profiles, recommendations, and more.
  9. Review your connections – I dare you to review all of your connections and see how many of them you actually know well enough and could pick up the telephone too. LinkedIn is not a collecting exercise it is about leveraging your relationships to make social selling and social success real. If you don’t know them then should you have them? If they have got a new role and you never knew take some time to get in touch.
  10. Get profile feedback from teammates, customers, and people you know – I know you think your profile is fabulous, but perhaps you ought to ask around, ask your boss, your clients, your friends, colleagues and those around you to be critical. Ask them to tell you what you missed and make suggestions to make it better. Listen and act on them! Frustratingly often they come up with great ideas. You can also try our free profile checker online.

Let’s make 2015 the year you are making the best use of LinkedIn for you and your business – forget the diet but see great results if you stick to these throughout the year.

We wish you a fabulously successful 2015 and if you need any help then just ask.