crowdWhether you relate that quote with Charles Darwin, or the tattoo on Allen Iverson, the message is the same. The sentiment that you need a strong presence to survive carries over into your social network brand and strategy, as well as your overall internet presence. When people go looking for you or the services your provide – the services you want to be found for – what are they going to find? When prospective partners, clients or employers come across your page, they will immediately begin evaluating how you can help them. They’ll start with your current position, picture, and headline. Then review your employment history, education, practical experience, and recommendations. LinkedIn helps us organize all this information in a standard format that is easily reviewed and searched.

How do you look to people who visit your LinkedIn profile?

Before you walk into any job interview I’m sure you triple check the knot in your tie, or make sure every hair is perfectly in place. We go to these measures because presentation is a huge part of how we are perceived by others. With the rise of social networking, and the ease of connectivity, your internet persona has become a direct extension of yourself. You want the message you give to people to be the same as it would if you were meeting them in real life (IRL). Hopefully. Your profile should be up-to-date, and it should accentuate your strengths. LinkedIn gives you a lot of room to get into the details of the actual things you’ve actually done. Use it all. Choose your words carefully. Use words that you want to be found for.

profileYour profile picture should be close enough for people to recognize who you are, if they saw you IRL. Cropping out the beer pong table or the wedding date won’t work for this one – if you can afford it, hire a professional photographer and you’ll get a top shelf, image for online profiles, bios and bylines that should last you 3-5 years.

All of your contact information should be easily visible and up-to-date. Be sure to include links to your work website and your Twitter and personal blog if your employer is cool with it.

The summary section on your LinkedIn profile is where you have the most flexibility to expand upon who you are, and what you do. Write the text in your summary section in the first person, as if you were talking to a potential client or employer. Tell the story that is your professional self. Remember, what do you want people to find? What do you want them to know about you? It is also good practice to explain and/or list your various duties or positions and areas of expertise. This will increase your visibility in LinkedIn searches.

Yes, you should care about recommendations.

One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is Recommendations. This is where your colleagues, customers, friends and family can author a narrative recommendation of you and your work. This is Social Proof, one of the Holy Grails of social media marketing. Visitors are more likely to find you trustworthy if they see that others confirm your value. Ask your friends and co-workers for endorsements and recommendations (of course you will have to return the favor). A handful of endorsements in your target expertise is a million times better than none, even though everything we read on the Internet is taken with a grain of salt.

What’s in it for me?skills

Whatever your LinkedIn objective is, one of the most effective things you can do is to align yourself with potential customers and business partners so you can bring them into your business process. You do this by joining groups on LinkedIn. You’re allowed to join up to 50 groups, so do your best to join at least 45. Choose your groups carefully. Think about the types of groups where you’ll get the most mileage out of your area of expertise. The types of groups where you’ll find potential employers or customers. Groups give you the platform to contribute to discussions on topics within your area of expertise and build your platform, resume and brand.

Another way you can be valuable to others in the LinkedIn community is by sharing useful, valuable, educational content. Sounds simple right? You don’t have to be the brightest bulb on LinkedIn, but it is good to share the light of others. Sharing information that others find useful will build your reputation as someone that shares good stuff and rarely sells or markets. Ask questions and respond to comments.

JonathanMaberryauthorphotofor200972I’ve heard one story after another about how LinkedIn brought people together to their mutual benefit.

New York Times Bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, was found on LinkedIn by Universal Studios and hired to novelize THE WOLFMAN, starring Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Torro, which went on to become Maberry’s very first New York Times bestseller!

So put all your hard work to work for you today! Help people find you for the things you want to be found for! Maximize your LinkedIn profile and LinkedIn community engagement strategy to achieve your objectives and increase your income.

Click below for our FREE LinkedIn Set Up Checklist