I’m often asked about the best social media outlets for professionals to use and I tell people, “It depends.” Professionals and organizations for that matter need to study their target audiences and determine which social platform is reaching that same audience. In 2017, young professionals and young buyers not yet in the workforce have a high usage of Snapchat. (If this is your target audience, read out post series on “How Snapchat Can Help Your Business”. Baby boomers have gravitated toward Facebook. Still, how different demographics use social media channels continues to evolve.

One social media channel that I recommend for every professional is LinkedIn as it proves to be a great way to network virtually, share tips with connections and learn from industry leaders. In a nutshell, here are five things every professional should do on LinkedIn.

  1. Feature an updated, professional headshot photo in your profile. As fun as selfies are, LinkedIn is not the platform for a quick photo with your friends cropped out. If you only have one chance to make the right impression, ensure it’s a good one. As The Balance explains, professional headshots lend credibility and help others identify your LinkedIn profile with you. I still see professionals’ profiles with no photo at all and realize what a missed opportunity this is. “Research shows that if you don’t have a professional headshot that accompanies your bio and LinkedIn profile, you may actually be passed over for business in lieu of someone that does have one.1
  2. Off content that is insightful and educational, rather than just posting outright promotions of your products or services. As a rule of thumb, for every three posts about your offerings, post at least one educational piece. People appreciate the sharing of information and will learn to come to you as a trusted resource.
  3. Take time each week to read through the feed of articles and information that your connections are posting and responding to. Add comments to those posts that intrigue you or where you could offer additional thoughts. While you don’t need to comment on everyone’s post, showing interest in areas that align with your expertise or show your support are valuable.
  4. Use your profile to highlight your expertise and interests. Keeping these up-to-date helps others understand your skills and then think of with whom they can connect you. If you haven’t updated your profile in a year, even if you’re working at the same organization, your profile is stale. Add information on interesting projects you completed, goals you reached or articles/books you’ve published. This is a great way to showcase the benefits of your experience. Add images or videos when you can since those visual elements will capture attention.
  5. Stay active with your Inbox by responding to messages and connection requests. If someone has asked you to make a virtual introduction, send the two individuals a quick message through LinkedIn, explaining why you think they should connect. This helps you to stay top-of-mind with others and be seen, again, as a resource.

If you’re not sure you have the time to maintain your LinkedIn account, consider this: “64% of social referrals to a company’s website came from LinkedIn.2” Those numbers are impressive.

1). “Why You Need a Professional Headshot” By Alison Monahan, Updated July 24, 2015. The Balance.

2). “Numbers Don’t Lie: Impressive Statistics and Figures of LinkedIn” by BeBusinessed.

Megan F. Salch is the president of Tell Your Tale Marketing & Design and brings more than 20 years of marketing and communications experience to B2B and retail clients.

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