With so many competing priorities, it’s sometimes tough for busy executives to commit to LinkedIn. Like it or not, LinkedIn is already part of the conversation about you, your company and your products or services. Anyone who wants to know more about you or your company will check LinkedIn.
Your presence – or lack of it – matters to those you know. And to those you want to know. These days, explaining why your colleagues can’t find you on LinkedIn takes longer than it does to engage with them on LinkedIn.
Here are just three things you should take the time to do on LinkedIn:
1. Update Your Profile
If you haven’t updated your profile in more than a year, it’s time. I can’t tell you how often I’ve met someone, looked them up on LinkedIn and discovered that they’re still listed as working for a company they left months (or years!) ago. It’s not a good reflection on their personal brand.
For your page, include a current, professional-looking headshot. Have you taken on a new role? Be sure to update your job history. Refresh your profile summary, with links back to your company’s website. The whole update should take less than an hour. Then, you’re done unless something significant changes in the next year.
2. Connect With Others
LinkedIn was built to connect with other professionals and it really works! No other social platform has nailed online networking better than LinkedIn. Looking to connect with others in your industry? They’re on LinkedIn. Want to follow up with someone you just met at an association meeting or conference? LinkedIn again. Interested in finding someone who knows someone you want to meet? Yes, LinkedIn does that.
Make it your practice to reach out to others you meet. Instead of sending an email follow-up, send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn with a personal note. When former colleagues ask you to be a reference, write your reference on LinkedIn. These things take the same amount of time as email, with the added benefit that you now have visibility into your new connections’ contacts – and may get a reference back from your colleague.
3. Comment, Share and Post Content
It is fast and easy to create your own posts or engage with others. When industry peers see that you’re engaged in the conversation, it shows that you care about what’s going on. Your comments and posts help others to get to know you a little better because your opinions, passions and perspectives come through.
Don’t worry if you’re just getting started. Even LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, was uncomfortable on social media when he first started out. As this LinkedIn article describes, “Like many of us, he worried about what to say, how to say it, how often to say it, what lines he might be crossing. But eventually he just took the plunge.”
If you’re just starting out, comment on others’ posts. Share content that catches your attention. Once you get more comfortable, write your own posts about things that interest you. Your company. Industry developments. Client and colleague celebrations. Remember, these are your thoughts and observations. They are not formal communications. Write as you speak. Authentically.
You only need 15 minutes a few times a week to monitor what’s going on. Before long, your leadership style, perspective and passions will shine through – making your LinkedIn connections stronger and ultimately supporting your personal brand and your company’s brand.