Give LinkedIn Some Love

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For many businesses LinkedIn can be an especially important social media channel, yet sometimes it gets overlooked in the rush to be on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. But you could be getting leads, clients and profits from your LinkedIn Profile.

LinkedIn is the top social network for businesses and should not be ignored, even if it is not your primary social media channel. Recently, LinkedIn made some big changes  and is trying to be more social. One big change was that it made the profile photos much bigger to give it more prominence. Now, you have to go update your photo to a bigger size since you can’t get by with that chopped and cropped photo from your last business event. [Read more…]

Spruce Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Here are some ways you can spruce up your LinkedIn Profile:

1. Login to your LinkedIn account, hover over Profile in the Menu, and select View Profile to see the view of your profile that others see. Check it out and make notes of things to change.

2. Make sure you have a good, engaging headshot.

3. Check that your bio is up to date, paints a picture of you in a way in a way you want to be seen, and showcases your unique interests and strengths.

4. Go back Profile in the Menu and this time select Edit Profile. You will see a yellow button with an invitation to Improve Profile which will make suggestions of things you can add to your Linkedin Profile.

5. Click on the Edit button next to your name. You will be able to add a more descriptive phrase of 160 characters, explaining what you do, that will appear under your name. [Read more…]

Process Your Business Cards!

The tip today solves a terribly annoying problem, how to input the information from all those business cards into your contact on your phone/computer. Business cards are still the most practical way of exchanging contact information in real life and yet we want that information to be available at our finger tips from our phones and computers. After a networking event, most of us have a hard time making ourselves enter in all the data from the cards we collected, much less, follow up with people we have met.

There is now a fantastic and fun solution. CardMunch is a free iPhone app (Blackberry and Android versions to be coming soon) that will process your business cards in a matter of minutes. Just hold your phone over a card. When you see the card information come into focus, tap the screen and it will take a photo of the card and send it to be transcribed, right into your contact list. You will see the the image of the card photo as well as all of the relevant contact information in the appropriate fields in your contact list.

How does it get it right? Instead of using an optical scanning service, CardMunch uses a real humans to transcribe each business card and verify the accuracy of the transcription before returning them to your mobile phone as a contact. You can imagine that process sounds a bit spendy and in fact, Card Munch use to cost 2.99 for the app and 25 cents for each entered card, but a year ago, in a genius move, LinkedIn bought CardMunch and now offers it at no charge. This brilliant acquisition also allows us to have instant easy access to our contacts’ full LinkedIn profile information. And do you want some icing on that cake? With a tap of a button you can send the contact an e-mail or an invitation to connect via LinkedIn. How great is that?

Leverage LinkedIn for Building Your Network

I have to admit that I am not the most diligent LinkedIn user I know. That title would have to go to my friend, Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe, and yes she is as exotic as her name implies. Dorothéa has been giving some great advice on the importance of LinkedIn to young people who are in the job market. Her advice is also applicable to all of us.

If you aren’t on LinkedIn please get yourself an account today. Fill out your profile completely to include adding your current and past positions with the care you would take developing your resume. Be sure to add a head shot that is attractive and professional. It needs to make you look attractive. By that I do not mean a glamor shot, I mean a head shot that looks like someone that you would want to have a chat with. Smile.

You should then go through your contacts and start adding connections. I currently have 462 LinkedIn connections which according the LinkedIn, links me to over 4,312,936 professionals. That is astounding.

What I have not been so great about is  leveraging these connections by asking people to write recommendations for me. I have only eight. According to Dorothéa getting recommendations while they are hot is one of the most important parts of using LinkedIn. People trust that these recommendations are are real so they hold more weight than a testimonial you put on your website.

Dorothéa’s brilliant advice is to make a habit of asking for a LinkedIn recommendation immediately after you have done work for someone or are leaving a job. She suggests that you go so far as to write up a couple of paragraphs for the person about what you did for them and what they said to you about what you did.

Ask for the recommendation in person if possible, and then followup with an email which includes the link to LinkedIn and your sample write up. Tell the person that you have provided a little write up, as a time saver for them and they are welcomed to use all or none of it. Doing this will increase the likelihood of them completing the task.

Getting in a habit of doing this at the beginning of your career will help you to develop a most valuable network. And if you are so inclined, I’d love a LinkedIn recommendation from you!