Editor’s note: This story is taken from Ragan’s distance-learning portal RaganTraining.com. The site contains hundreds of hours of case studies, video presentations, and interactive courses.
What a great blog post that was, if you do say so yourself.
Trouble is, a few weeks after you shared the URL on LinkedIn, it vanished beneath the stream of your newer posts.
If you’re seeking to establish yourself as a thought leader—and who isn’t inspired by your thoughts?—try blogging from LinkedIn, rather than just dropping in status updates, Jill Jones says in the Ragan Training session, “Use LinkedIn to showcase your thought leadership and become a brand ambassador for your company.”
LinkedIn is different from Facebook in that short status updates disappear over time, and those eager for a drink from the deep well of your wisdom can’t go back and sample your prior posts.
That’s why your LinkedIn blog should be the place “where you and your executives can really establish yourself as thought leaders in an industry,” says Jones, a LinkedIn communicator who educates professionals how to best use the platform. “And part of the way that you do that is they become a permanent part of your profile.”
Jones offers a series of tips for those seeking to make better use of the professional network, which boasts 347 million users.
Don’t just post; publish
When you click on “home” in the upper left corner, click on “Publish a post.” The “Share an update” link you’ve been using is for the daily ephemera that so delights your colleagues and professional network. “Publish a post,” however, will take you to LinkedIn’s blogging platform, where your wisdom will be valued for eons to come.
“These posts become a permanent part of your professional identify on LinkedIn,” Jones says.
Drop in a few paragraphs of that corporate blog post everybody loved, then link to the rest on your site.
Don’t sulk on the sidelines
People who engage in groups on LinkedIn get an average of four times as many profile views as those who do not, Jones says. Jump in and join the conversation.
“The more that you engage with content on LinkedIn, the more traffic you’re going to be driving back to that profile,” Jones says.
They don’t have to be Ansel Adams works of art. Jones tells of an editor at LinkedIn who shared a picture of a set at Bloomberg TV as he was preparing to go on. She still gives him a hard time for posting “one of the worst photos ever taken,” she says.
But guess what? The poor quality of his snapshot doesn’t matter.
“This was a way to tease the upcoming segment on the show,” Jones says, “and then later in the day, when the replay was available, he put that [link] up.”
Update your profile
“One of the biggest questions we get is, I’m not looking for a job, so why do I need to be on LinkedIn?” Jones says.
Many see the platform as nothing but a digital résumé. Yet LinkedIn also connects professionals, gives executives a place where they can build their professional identity, and offers you a way to tell your company story, Jones says.
Use your professional name
If your name is Michael, but you go by Mike, have that in your title, Jones says.
Spruce up that job title
Does your current job title define who you are as a professional? Come up with something that captures both your profession and a little of your personality. Jones cites the profile of Expedia executive Kristin Graham (“VP @ Expedia, Storyteller, Traveler, People Nerd.”)
“I automatically want to know: What does ‘People Nerd’ mean?'” Jones says.
Get a professional photo
Really, you can get a decent, professional-looking photo without spending a pile of money. If all else fails, try those Target-type photo studios.
Add a bio
And write it in first-person. Sometimes executives are uncomfortable with this, Jones says. Is your tall-foreheaded CMO baffled about how to proceed? Tell her to write it with this format: “Where you are, how you got there, and where you want to go.”
While you’re at it…
- Show examples of your work. Impress people with what you’ve done.
- Manage your endorsements. They may seem meaningless, but endorsements can help you get noticed.
- Brag a bit. Add projects, courses, patents, certifications, test scores (well, not the F in that biology class you forgot to show up in all semester) and volunteering for good causes.
- Be reachable. Allow people to contact you through LinkedIn.
Beautify your background
Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network, so we’re in agreement that you won’t post that photo of yourself and your belly percussion band lined up shirtless on the beach. Nevertheless, a great visual can help promote your business or yourself.
Expedia’s Graham, for example, has a background that includes pictures from Monument Valley, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and the Christ the Redeemer statue from Rio de Janeiro. While that may be a little breezy for you, it works for someone employed by a travel site.
Also, consider using a background that promotes your employer or an upcoming event you have planned.
Now, get to work.