If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, it’s time to sign up for one. LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network with roughly 200,000,000 users across the globe. I’ve heard people comment that LinkedIn doesn’t pertain to their area of business, or they aren’t familiar with how to use the online social networking tool, so they don’t use it. But LinkedIn doesn’t just connect you with other professionals, it helps with every aspect of your professional life from hiring to training.

So for those of you who are new to the social stratosphere, or who simply want to learn more about LinkedIn, pay attention to these 7 tips on how to improve your profile and social interactions:

1. Use an appropriate profile photo

Your profile photo should be a portrait of you, without too much visual noise. That photo of you with your kids and the family dog may be nice, but it’s not the kind of profile photo you need.Make sure your face is visible and that the photo is a high quality, accurate depiction of you. If you’re an existing member of LinkedIn, keep your photo updated.

2. Flesh out your profile

All too often people add their place of employment, the university they attended and then they sign off. While having a profile is a good start, an empty profile page does you little good. Consider your profile your online resume. You want to represent yourself accurately, but you also want to effectively communicate your skills and expertise. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s built-in tool to walk you through updating and completing your profile.

3. You can connect with people you don’t know

LinkedIn would like you to only connect with people you know. This is generally a good rule to follow, but it’s appropriate to connect with someone whose work you appreciate. Avoid connecting with people out of nowhere.

4. Participate

Creating a profile may put your name and presence out into the social world, but you need to contribute and build credibility for yourself. Join groups that pertain to your profession, industry, or interests. Engage with others within those groups. Share your knowledge. Ask and answer questions. This type of engagement personalizes you and helps people see you as a thought leader.

5. Don’t get too personal

LinkedIn may be a social networking tool, but it is not the place to share personal information. Status updates about vacations or political opinions aren’t appropriate. If you want to get personal, try Facebook or Twitter. Maintain your professional persona with LinkedIn.

6. Be careful with sales pitches

While LinkedIn is a great asset and tool for sales people, be cautious about hijacking conversations or being pushy with your sales techniques. Seek to be personal and contact those who you truly feel could use your product or service. Connect directly with them and arrange a time for a phone call. Don’t clutter their inbox, especially if they are non-responsive. The most effective way to deliver sales pitches over LinkedIn is to connect with people, build a relationship by positioning yourself as a capable thought leader, and in good time offer your product or service directly.

7. Be honest

Position yourself in a good light, but don’t lie or exaggerate your skills or work experience. The same honesty applies when you are endorsing or recommending others. If you don’t know them, then don’t endorse them. Bloated endorsements are all too rampant; don’t add to the noise unnecessarily.

Contact Alexander’s if you need any sort of digital or social media assistance. We have a team of professional marketing and public relations representatives who can do anything from website development to social media engagement and analytics. We’re here to help.

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