In our neighborhood no one knows which side of the street to park on when there’s a snowstorm, which prevents the plows from clearing the street properly. The result is a cleared path the width of fish line. My wife and I have deduced that this is because there’s no strategy in place.
What does the dire condition of my neighborhood during a snowstorm have to do with LinkedIn? Simply this, like a neighborhood without a strategy for a nor’easter, your LinkedIn campaign will not succeed.
Do you have a strategy for your LinkedIn campaign, or is it like the street I live on which requires a snowmobile to negotiate? If you lack a strategy you’ll spin your wheels, get frustrated, and possibly give up on a valuable tool that has the potential to create job opportunities. A plan includes the following:
1. Dedication. I’m a bit of a lunatic when it comes to LinkedIn. One of my colleagues once said I need an intervention and he wasn’t joking. I’m on LinkedIn for an average of one hour a day, 365 days a year—yes, this includes holidays. I’m not advising you to spend this much time on LinkedIn.
However, a dedicated strategy is necessary to stay on your connections’ minds. This is why I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to dedicate at least four days a week of activity, or for the more dedicated, everyday. Try to share at least two updates a day.
2. Know what you want to do. Are you zeroing in on a specific occupation in a specific industry, or are you willing to take anything? The former is the correct answer. With this in mind, you’ll be able to determine who to best network with. If your goal is to work in public relations at a university, you should connect with people at universities, not retail.
3. Write a great profile. This is a big order and a blog post itself, but having a profile that attracts employers and other visitors to your site will take a strategy. You’ll need a photo that brands you—the days of a suit and tie might be history. Write a branding title that immediately describes what you do, as well as your areas of strength.
Your Summary should tell a story, your Employment section describe quantified accomplishments, and don’t forget using the Media section to highlight your talents. A major part of your plan should be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that includes the correct keywords to raise your profile to the top of the first page.
4. Update often. This is how you communicate with your LinkedIn community. I get looks of disbelief when I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop attendees that they update once a week. They ask me what topics they should updates about. First, I tell them, share articles they’ve found on the Internet.
Other topics can include seminars or conferences you’re attending; interviews you’ve had; advice pertinent to your industry; a great book you’re reading; a happy landing; even a good quote or two; and, of course, a reminder you’re looking for a job. Just keep it professional and refrain from negativity.
5. Connect with other LinkedIn members. No two LinkedIn members are alike; some prefer to keep their network intimate by connecting with people they know and trust, while others will connect with anyone who’s willing. My suggestion is to have a strategy and be faithful to it. Connect with those who you can help and who can help you—a lot like personal networking.
Expand your horizon. Include people in your occupation, industry, and various levels of employment. There are like-minded people in different industries, so don’t be afraid to invite them to your network. Who knows, maybe opportunities will arise from the most unlikely people.
Read part two of this article. In it I’ll discuss five other components necessary for your LinkedIn plan. You need a plan to be successful on LinkedIn.
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Photo: Flickr, Sandy Huang