You’ve bitten the bullet and signed up to LinkedIn. Your profile’s out there, beautifully populated with all your accolades, and you can say with some confidence to prospective clients and new contacts that they can connect to you.
But, really, none of this is any good unless you plan to use your updates strategically. LinkedIn is a truly valuable business tool but only if used correctly.
You should have already identified what you’re trying to achieve with your LinkedIn profile and this should give you a clear steer on how to go about issuing updates.
While Facebook might be a great way of letting people know it’s your birthday, how much you drank last night or what you plan to wear to your best friend’s wedding, LinkedIn is read by potential business partners, employers and clients.
Why should you use these updates in the first place? Isn’t your presence enough?
Your LinkedIn profile is a static CV, telling the world who you are and what you can do. Your status is a way of telling the world you’re active.
By keeping your profile active you stand more chance of people taking an interest in you. And if you want to be considered an expert in your field, making ongoing reference to your projects can only enhance your reputation.
What to update?
However, you need to choose your updates carefully. Perhaps you’ve done some research, appeared in an article, written an article, posted on your blog or won a new client. Include links where possible so interested parties can find out more.
Try, wherever possible, to create unique content. If you have a blog, link to it in your LinkedIn update. If you’re a user of multiple social networking sites, you can opt to link your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn status updates to each other but you have to consider whether your LinkedIn colleagues really want to hear about what you had for lunch and how cute your nephew is.
How often to update?
As LinkedIn doesn’t have the same timeline function as Twitter or a news feed like Facebook, there is no real need to update your LinkedIn status more than once a day. Any more than this and it can start to look a little like spam.
Overall, remember that each social networking site you’re a member of has its own demographic and register. Bear your audience in mind when updating your status.