Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
First things first, do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, then it is definitely worth getting one. Linkedin is the world's largest professional network with more than 610 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide.
So, if you are looking for a new job, to upskill in certain areas, to stand out as a leader in your field or simply to connect with like-minded veterinary professionals, LinkedIn is a great place to be both visible and heard.
Plus, many employers have said that they use Linkedin to shortlist for jobs, so it is certainly worth the time investment to set up a profile.
Perhaps you already have a LinkedIn profile? If so, make sure you take the time to ask yourself “am I using it effectively and creating meaningful connections?”
Also, if you created a profile many years ago, does it still reflect where you are in your career, or is it in desperate need of an update?
Having a LinkedIn profile is just a drop in the ocean – like with most things, it is what you do with it that counts, so it is important we consider the following:
- When was the last time you spent time on your profile?
- Do you have a strategy around what you want to achieve on the platform?
- How do you want to be perceived on the site?
- Do you have a plan and the steps identified for achieving what you want?
It is easy to just set up and forget about your profile, so here are some tips to help you get the most out of it.
Create a plan for what you want to achieve and what would be your best outcome from using the platform. Maybe you are seeking a job, or more of a viewer who wants to use it to skill up and gather information on a specific industry and the people in it. Perhaps you want to become a leading expert, or develop a supportive community.
Always make sure you decide beforehand what you want to get out of it, and identify and take the necessary steps to make it happen. Follow the correct people, join the right groups and get a content plan in place:
- how many posts will you do a week?
- what topics will you write about?
- how many conversations will you have or discussions will you start?
By having a plan and targets in place, this will help you get real value out of the platform, and measure whether your efforts are making the right impact.
Complete your profile with real thought and use all the tools the platform provides to help you meet your desired outcomes.
All or nothing
Ensure you complete each aspect of your profile set up, so it shows 100% complete, as the search algorithm prioritises those profiles in the search results. This includes:
- your professional photo
- creative background image
- a headline that reflects your industry
- location and skills
- a summary that focuses on what you do and what you offer
- any website/social links you have
- information on your current position and previous work history
Be creative, and think about the visual impact and in terms of what you want to project and be known for. Avoid any jargon and focus on what value and skills you offer people, rather than what you do or your job description.
Based on what you want to get out of the platform, work with the setting that can help achieve your desired outcomes. If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, switch on the “career advice hub”, which allows you to give back by helping and offering advice to people.
Another feature is that LinkedIn sends notifications to you telling you what is trending, inviting you to comment on that post or discussion – this is really useful for you to be heard in the right places, by the right people.
If you are looking to gather industry information, set your feed preferences so you only see the people, topics and businesses that matter on your news feed.
Linkedin is the world's largest professional network with more than 610 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide. Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
Connect with meaning
Should you connect with everyone or be more selective? LinkedIn enables you to network with people and businesses in your industry and further afield. It is a great way to share your knowledge with others and stay up to date with the latest news and developments.
When I first joined LinkedIn I thought the more the merrier with connections; however, down the line that meant no real community was created – just lots of random people, in a variety of industries all over the world.
So, my advice would be to be more selective about those you connect with. Think about locality and specific industries or microfiches, and only add people, or accept invitations, from those you already know, respect or can learn from.
For a more wider reach, you can create or join groups, to share ideas, discuss industry news and develop a professional worldwide network. It is better to have a smaller group of valuable and useful relationships, rather than thousands of random secondary connections.
Also, when sending out a connection request, add a personal message. Mention why you are reaching out or how you can help them – generic messages are just that, generic, and they don’t have much of an impact, especially when you don’t know the person.
Remember to ask for recommendations and endorsements from your connections, as these can help you stand out and also add authenticity to your profile.
Content is key
Whether publishing text, articles, images or videos, the key rules are to make it interesting, relevant and valuable to your connections. Ensure you use engaging media to support your posts; eyes are drawn to images first, so even if the words are incredible, without images, videos, infographics or slides to support it, engagement could suffer.
Always aim to keep things positive and professional, as potential influencers, employers and collaborators are watching. Remember, social media is two-way, so ask questions, invite discussions and comments, and seek out people’s opinions.
Keep posts and comments as short as possible. However, if you need to have a long post, ensure the preview text gets to the point quickly and is interesting enough to get your audience to click “read more”.
You can use LinkedIn Publishing to create unique articles – these will appear on your profile, and showcase your talents and skills.
If you are wanting to position yourself as a leader in your field, make sure that is what your content reflects. If you want to be the next go-to expert on all things small exotics, then at least 75% of your posts must reflect this, as well as your headline, imagery and summary referencing it.
You may not associate hashtags with LinkedIn, but adding a few to your posts will help your posts and articles to reach more people you may not be connected with. You can search their popularity by testing certain hashtags in the search bar to see how many people follow them, and the type of hashtags relevant to your industry that get people talking.
I hope this helps. Now, go and get connecting, and make an impact.