Using Social Media – LinkedIn

linkedin

Linked in to what? A guide to using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a website which allows you to list your contacts, see who they know, and then see who you’re connected to in turn. It’s focused on business users, so can be more professionally useful than other applications such as Facebook – and generally doesn’t eat up nearly as much of your time.

LinkedIn is free and The British Hernia Society has a LinkedIn account, which we use to help network across the hernia community and to engage people in our work.

If you join LinkedIn to access The British Hernia Society content it makes sense to make the most of it for yourself. So here’s how to use LinkedIn to your advantage.

Find us at LinkedIn.com and search for The British Hernia Society.

The first step: Create a LinkedIn account:

  1. Go to LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com. If you want to learn more, click on the “What is LinkedIn?” option on the menu across the top of the page. If not, go ahead and sign up by entering you name, email and a password in the “Join LinkedIn Today” box on the right of the screen.
  2. Confirm your account through your email address. Once you’ve done this, simply sign in and get started.

How to use LinkedIn

Firstly – make sure you’ve got a good profile.  Think about how you want the world to see you – search engines will pick up your LinkedIn page. Spend some time on your profile to ensure that it is up to date and says the right things about you.

Then, invite people to join your network. LinkedIn makes this easy, for example, you can import your address book from Outlook and send people invitations.

Getting a good profile

  • Use a photo – and make it a good one. LinkedIn is a networking tool – and networking needs trust. So we need to see your face.
  • Say where you work and describe your job accurately.
  • Include your CV. If you have a good career history it helps people to take you more seriously.
  • If you have a website, include the address. Mostly when people find you on LinkedIn, this will be their next click. You can include three website addresses, a Twitter page, Google+ and a blog.
  • Your unique LinkedIn URL – You can customise the link that comes at the bottom of the main box describing you, to make it shorter and unique to you. This will encourage people to cut and paste it to others, you can include it in your email signature line, and it’s less confusing to people if it doesn’t have lots of numbers in it. Go to ‘edit your profile’ and the box for this is on the right hand side of the editing page, second box down.
  • Recommendations – get some. Ask clients, ex-bosses and colleagues to recommend you. Feel free to suggest (or write for them) what you’d like to be known for to avoid vague references.

Finding the right people

Many business opportunities come through networking, so you need to make sure that your network is as wide as you can make it – and one of the best ways of doing this is by getting involved again with people you’ve already had a connection with in the past.

You can use LinkedIn to find out who the other people in your network know.  This might come in helpful if you need an introduction or some background knowledge. For example, you may have a meeting with someone new – look them up on LinkedIn and see if you know someone in common who you can get in touch with and get some background information. They may even be able to recommend you.

Top tips for using LinkedIn

Here are some rules for using LinkedIn:

  • Only invite people that you’re met or you know – if you send out random invitations you’ll only end up annoying people and getting a bad reputation
  • Don’t treat it as a point scoring exercise – it’s better to have 30 good contacts, rather than 100s of people that you don’t really know.
  • When you meet someone for the first time, send them an invitation to join you on LinkedIn. It’s a good way to say that you enjoyed meeting them.
  • Don’t include really personal or wacky stuff on your profile – people who see your profile need to want to do business with you. Don’t give people an unwanted look into your personal life or say anything that could be considered unprofessional.
  • Periodically update your profile
  • Periodically spend time finding and inviting people to join your network.
  • Consider joining some of the groups hosted by members of LinkedIn that focus on areas of your interest. You can meet a lot of relevant new people through this, as well as share ideas, comments and hold online events together.