LinkedIn is a powerful business networking tool that can easily produce a new job or other opportunities. Most users, however, fail to make the most of the service because they don't put enough effort into crafting their profiles and otherwise making sure that they will stand out. As one now-successful user put it, "Setting up Linkedin for my business turned out to be more complex than the sign-up help had led me to believe." How to set up LinkedIn correctly and for the best possible results, though, is a fairly simple, straightforward process for those who keep in mind a few simple ideas.
Make Sure You Are Easy to Find
Headlines, summaries, job descriptions and skill listings should all, of course, be written in ways that will appeal to and impress those who actually read them. Relatively few LinkedIn users, though, think about how to use those and other parts of the profile for an equally important purpose: showing up in the service's search results when employers and others enter relevant keywords.
In the wider world of the Internet, this process is known as "search engine optimization," and it can be just as powerful and effective on LinkedIn as anywhere else. As part of basic LinkedIn setup, then, users should think about the search terms that others in their industry are likely to use when looking for new employees, contractors, or partners. Those two- and three-word terms can then naturally be worked into the aforementioned areas of the profile verbatim to produce a boost in visibility on the service. Making sure that profiles are 100% complete, too, is one of the more important steps for setting up linkedin, since every blank field is one that can't contribute to search performance.
Cultivate and Target Recommendations and Endorsements
As a fundamentally social service, LinkedIn emphasizes reputation and networking connections. New users to the service do well to actively seek out recommendations from existing ones, as these signs of approval give them immediate clout and legitimacy, in addition to making them easier to find through general searches. This early work, then, will pay great dividends over the long term.
The "endorsement" feature on LinkedIn was created in order to allow for a more casual and targeted sort of approval-granting, and collecting these can be a good way of backing up a list of claimed skills. On the other hand, many more advanced users also find it helpful to be selective in what they display in this respect. Hiding endorsements that don't mesh well with a candidate's current focus can be just as important as exhibiting others, as doing so can help to give more focus to a profile, making it more interesting to the desired kind of reader.
Do Not Neglect Your Company Page
Understandably, given the social thrust of the service, many novice LinkedIn users put far more effort into their personal profiles than their company pages, if they even acknowledge the latter at all. In fact, however, creating a strong, compelling company page is an important basic task, since that page reflects back on the operation's employees, providing further legitimacy and authority. As one owner of a smaller design firm said, "Setting up Linkedin for my business turned out to be just as important as working on my own profile."
Some of the same techniques that produce effective personal profiles can be used with company pages, too. Being mindful of keyword use, for example, can help to make a company page stand out more in searches, and cropping up more often in search results will allow a company page to lend even more shine to the profiles of owners and employees. Company pages also include powerful analytic tools that can be used to further tweak and refine their content, an opportunity that few can afford to overlook.
How to use LinkedIn with the greatest possible effectiveness, then, is more a matter of thinking strategically about each aspect of the service than any arcane techniques. Those who put in the time and effort invariably find that it is relatively easy to improve the results they see in noticeable and worthwhile ways.