Setting up a LinkedIn Account

LinkedIn focuses on professional networking, warm leads, and business referrals. While other social networks are geared toward the “social” or more personal side of interacting, including making friends and playing games, LinkedIn zeros in on the business side including accessing job listings, making professional connections, and creating business opportunities. You can have a presence on LinkedIn through Personal for individuals, Company Pages and Groups.

Your individual LinkedIn profile is your professional calling card online. Filling out your LinkedIn profile may take longer than most other social networks, but you can speed things up by having your actual resume on hand since LinkedIn profiles consist of many basic resume elements including:

  • Your name, current title, location and industry category
  • Current place of employment and skills
  • Past employment and work experience
  • Education history
  • Affiliated organizations
  • Honors and awards

Completing your profile is important for both appearances sake as well as to leverage all of LinkedIn’s features. When you sign up for LinkedIn, spend time to customize your profile. LinkedIn let's you know the percentage of completion for your profile to guide you to fill in all parts.

Choose a direct URL to make it easier to promote your page such as: Add links to your website, blog and other social network accounts. Include your preferred methods of contact including an email address and phone number that will only be visible to direct connections.

Upload a clear, professional headshot. Including a photo is the norm rather than the exception on LinkedIn and is one way to present a positive first impression to people who land at your profile. Profiles without images are less effective and can actually turn people away.

Compose a concise professional headline that appears at the top of your profile and that succinctly explains who you are and what you do. Fill in a longer summary encapsulating your professional career highlights.

In addition to adding a profile image, upload other images and files to your profile to enhance it. You can upload everything from PowerPoint presentations and PDF files to YouTube videos and your Instagram account. You can also upload a background image that appears at the top of your profile. Add visuals and additional content to your profile that showcases your expertise and sets you apart from others in your industry.

For business networking, message your Connections directly through LinkedIn’s email system called InMail or publish updates to your profile that are similar to Facebook posts or tweets on Twitter and that can be seen by your connections. You can sync your LinkedIn updates to automatically post to your Twitter account whenever you choose to expand your reach. You can also use a third party tool such as Buffer to schedule messages to post to your LinkedIn profile to save you time while still keeping your account visible to your Connections.

LinkedIn features include:

  • Connections: Connections are at the heart of LinkedIn’s value. Connecting with people whom you actually know or have met makes it more likely for them to introduce you to their contacts. When you first sign up for LinkedIn, tap into the address books of your email accounts to add people you know right away.
  • Recommendations: Give and receive detailed testimonials about work quality, professionalism and other skills and abilities. Ask others for a recommendation if they’ve worked with you in the past including clients, vendors and colleagues.
  • Endorsements: When you visit someone’s page, LinkedIn prompts you to endorse them for some skills related to their profile. This is a quick way to recognize someone’s skills. When you endorse someone, your photo appears on that person’s profile as an endorser once they have approved your endorsement. The person you’ve endorsed is notified and can choose to reciprocate and endorse you.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Join or start a Group on LinkedIn to communicate with other professionals on specific business-related topics.
  • Job Listings: Find, post or advertise jobs.
  • Ads: LinkedIn offers self-serve ads similar to Facebook and Twitter to help you reach a highly targeted, professional audience.

LinkedIn offers a number of premium account levels including Business Plus and Executive with added features such as the ability to see who has viewed your LinkedIn account and additional InMail messages to contact people on LinkedIn who are not within your immediate network.

LinkedIn is not only a powerful network for professionals but also an ideal place for B2B marketing to reach companies and business owners. With a premium account, you can also access LinkedIn learning tools for professional education to help advance your career.