Making the Most of LinkedIn

There is a common myth out there we only use 10% of our brains. While this myth may have been debated for many years amongst scientists, Kevin Knebl is pretty sure that most people are only using 10% of what they could be using on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com). I caught up with Kevin, who is a speaker, trainer and advisor in relationship enhancement and networking for business (as well as a professional piano player) in his home in Colorado last week via Skype.

Kevin has been teaching and training professionally for 16 years, now, primarily in the area of networking and relationships. When social media came along, he jumped on that bandwagon pretty quick, because he could see how these tools could be useful for networking.

And for him, that’s where it all begins. “Stop worshiping the tool!” he says. “At the end of the day, all things remaining equal, people will do business with and refer business to people they know, like and trust. That has not changed. The method we use to reach out to people has changed. If you are a good networker, you can apply these tools to build and enhance relationships.”

“Most people,” he maintains, “slap together a quick LinkedIn profile, and then ask “why aren’t I making money?” It’s really worth it to take the time to create something that is going to increase your visibility, showcase credibility, and therefore grow your revenue.”

“I’d rather be strategically connected to 100 people than to have 5 million ‘friends’ on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But it’s not a question of quality versus quantity. Yes, it’s numbers–but it’s also the quality of the relationships being built on those numbers. We get to have both.”

I have been somewhat dismissive of LinkedIn in the past, and that is partly because I’m not looking for a job. But Kevin maintains that looking for work on LinkedIn is just “the tip of the iceberg.” And that it can be an incredibly useful tool for small business owners.

Currently, LinkedIn has 100 Million members, the age of the average user is 43, and the average income is 104K/yr. Someone new joins LinkedIn every second. Sounds to me like it’s too important to ignore.

Kevin extolls the virtues of having what he calls a Robust LinkedIn Profile. This includes:

Your Headline: this is where you say who you are and what you do. You have 160 characters to work with here. Most of us just put in a few words, but there is actually room for a couple of sentences about how you can add value to your contacts and show your personality.

Your Photo: Kevin says a lot of people use a dour “business-y” photo in their LinkedIn profile, or worse, no photo at all. He encourages the use of a professional, but smiling and approachable looking photo.

Your Summary: this section can hold 2,000 characters, and again, most people are not maximizing the use of this space.

Your Positions: Fill out this section as much as you can. Include your entire work history. You never know–someone you’ve worked with in the past may have moved on to a position of power at a company you’d like to work for, and they could have the ability to hire or do business with you.

Include all your Education: including high school, college and University.

Get Recommendations: The majority of people on LinkedIn have between 0-5 recommendations. Kevin recommends (get it?) you get as many as you possibly can–he himself has 833!!

Groups: You can join 50 groups on LinkedIn. Kevin recommends strategically finding and joining 20-30 groups that you feel either you can give value to, or get value from. Then answer questions that people post in those groups, ask your own questions, or post useful links.

Additional applications: you can stream your blog’s RSS feed, your Tweets, etc. Kevin’s recommendation for streaming your Twitter RSS: “If you don’t use Twitter a lot, or you mainly use it to post information or links, go ahead and stream your Tweets through LinkedIn. However, if you’re like me, and you use it for a lot of conversations, if you stream your Twitter feed, it could overload the users and they may block or hide you.”

Your Username: Similar to Facebook, you can get a shortened LinkedIn URL which will be unique to your profile. Claim yours so noone else can have it. Your LinkedIn profile URL will be: http://www.linkedin.com/in/yournamehere.

Here’s a couple final quick tips from Kevin:

  • Post a new LinkedIn status every day. Most people are posting to Twitter and Facebook anyway, so it just takes a few extra seconds to repurpose some valuable information like a link to LinkedIn.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are on “open.” That way, if someone is doing a search for you on LinkedIn, they can find you and get information about you without having to be connected to you.
  • If you ask to connect to Kevin on LinkedIn, you can then download his Top 10 LinkedIn tips which is connected to his profile.

You can connect with me via LinkedIn here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccacolemanmmr

Hat-Tip: Trilby Jeeves

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 27, 2011

Kevin was in town last night doing a workshop, and Trilby and I got to meet him IRL! So cool.

@tjbufoonery, @kevinknebl, @rebeccacoleman: photographic proof!
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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 6

  1. That’s a great question. Here’s my feeling about it: LinkedIn is much tighter with its restrictions than Facebook or Twitter are, and it is also completely professional, so there is very little “personal” type info up there.
    But let’s turn this question over to Kevin, I’d like to hear what he has to say about it.

  2. Hi Isabella,

    Great question! In the Settings section (hover your cursor over your name in the upper right hand corner of your home page) you can modify your privacy settings. Everyone handles this a little differently. It really depends on how revealing you’d like to be. Personally, I’m pretty open, but that’s just me.

    As Rebecca mentioned, LinkedIn is a professional social networking site, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful. People can be strange from time to time. I would suggest not keeping your privacy settings too tight as that might limit potential opportunities. Make sense?

    To your success,
    Kev

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