In the past month, I’ve learned more than I’ve wanted to about social distancing, Zoombombing and COVID-19. I’ve gained an appreciation for online grocery shopping, growing vegetables from seeds, and watching the growth of caterpillars that promise to emerge as butterflies. And I’m starting to think “beyond The Curve.”
Where do I want to be when COVID-19 subsides? Will I look back on this time and be proud of how I’ve navigated my work life during the pandemic?
How can we prepare now to step back into the physically connected working world?
For me, the first thing that comes to mind is LinkedIn. It’s already a thriving professional community that bridges digital and physical connections. We’re already engaged – government executives, government contractors, suppliers and partners – perhaps at this moment more than ever. LinkedIn will be here well after we emerge from our home offices. I invite you now to join me in doing seven things on LinkedIn that will make us proud 30, 60, and 90 days from now – and beyond.
If you have a recent professional photo (taken before the novel coronavirus forced us all to social distance from our hairdressers and barbers), update your look on LinkedIn. Even without a fresh photo, take 30 minutes to review and tweak your profile top to bottom. Chances are, you’ll have updates to your “About” description, recent work (videos, podcasts, white papers or other valuable content), interests and more. By keeping your profile current, it will be easier to find and connect with others who share your interests and experience. Remember to review and revise your keywords!
Federal market research firm Market Connections urges marketers to “expect a spike in online traffic,” since public sector employees are teleworking and in-person events are on hold. In addition to keeping your website content fresh, remember to update your company profile on LinkedIn. Review and update this valuable, searchable digital real estate, so government customers see a company profile that reflects your current offerings and perspective.
It’s easy to put off connecting with new colleagues on LinkedIn, especially when you’re already communicating by email and phone. But LinkedIn will help you stay in touch, even when one of you takes on a new role or joins a new company. A friendly invitation to connect will be a welcome touchpoint amid continued social distancing.
#4 Write Those LinkedIn Recommendations
You know you’ve been meaning to let your colleagues know how much you appreciate their dedication, expertise, mentorship, commitment or other unique contribution. Take 20 minutes to let someone know what you think of their work. They’ll appreciate the recognition.
#5 Learn a New Skill
In 2015, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com – a leading online video learning platform for business, technology, software and creative skills. Now called LinkedIn Learning, the platform boasts more than 16,000 courses from industry experts. As of this writing, they are offering a 30-day free trial (then $29.99 per month) to explore their courses. What will you learn?
#6 Publish Articles and Posts
What’s on your mind? Your connections want to know. Truly! And now that we’re not regularly sharing tips in person, LinkedIn is an excellent proxy. Try spending 10 minutes three times a week to review and recognize others’ posts with your likes and comments. When you find a valuable article or are inspired by a conversation, create a post or article of your own.
#7 Consider LinkedIn Ads
This novel coronavirus has turned marketing and communication plans upside down. Smack in the middle of spring trade show season, government and contractors are once again sidelined from those networking and educational exchanges. The uncertainty of it all has prompted many to scale back and lie low. But history has told us, and my client recently reminded me, that this “quiet time” is exactly when we should speak up. One way to do that is LinkedIn ads – especially when your competitors are silent and your government customers are online, working from home.
I’m certainly eager to reconnect with colleagues in person. Until then, I’m grateful for the connections, insights and inspirations on LinkedIn. And I intend to use the best of LinkedIn to prepare for a successful reentry. Join me?
If you’re looking for a GovCon PR agency that knows a thing or two about LinkedIn and thought leadership, please let me know. We’d love to help you connect with customers and other stakeholders in these uncertain times.