How to Use LinkedIn to Manage Your Online Reputation
Facebook rules the roost when it comes to social media, but LinkedIn is definitely the king of professional networking.
It began back in 2003, when the site was first launches. Since then, it has become the most widely used social networking sites among professionals. Back in 2011, the site boasted 120 million members. Those many users aren’t there to tell everyone about what they had for lunch or to share baby pictures. Instead, they are connecting on a professional level and building their portfolios, connections and careers.
You may not be using LinkedIn to build an online profile for yourself, but you should be. You can grow a professional network from there and help to counteract any negativity that gets sent your way online. It is also a good buffer for inaccurate information that may be spread around about you. That makes it an invaluable tool for managing your reputation online.
We have put together a few tips that can help you use it effectively to safeguard your reputation.
Give yourself a great summary.
Your summary is one of the keys to a good LinkedIn profile. You can let everyone know a bit about you, what you do and what your skills are. It’s a great way to draw in future employers.
The summary serves as a cover letter, in many regards. You can explain yourself a bit and let people know what your career has entailed.
When you write a summary, be sure not to spend too much time on your accomplishments. Instead, talk more about your skills and the experiences you have had.
You also want to make your summary only a paragraph or two long. That keeps you from boring the reader or sounding self-serving.
You also want to use keywords that are relevant to your profession. That makes it easier for the right people to find you. Your summary has a specialties section where those would fit in perfectly. Keep in mind that the summary is the best tool you have on LinkedIn for protecting your reputation.
Customize the URL.
On every LinkedIn profile is the option to customize the URL, creating what is essentially a vanity URL. If you use that to your advantage, you can make yourself easier to find on Google.
In order to do that, simply click the profile tab and choose to edit your profile. Then go down to public profile and choose “edit”. From there, you can go to your current profile URL and choose to customize it. You want to use the name people are most likely to search for you under. For those who have very common names, it can help to add qualifiers. These make you distinct from others online and easier to find. The qualifiers could be your profession, such as lawyer or doctor, followed by your name.
Talk about specific experiences.
LinkedIn functions as an online resume in many respects. It is more useful than just that, however. You have more space there to talk about yourself and your qualifications than you would on a typical resume. You should be using that space to your advantage.
For each position you write about, be sure to input your job function and the things you did that made you unique from those around you.
You want to make certain that you don’t exaggerate or lie about any work details. These may come to light later or may be exposed when former co-workers or employers come across your profile. Be sure to create a strong online presence with your online profile.
Get others to recommend you.
You cannot put a price on having a good recommendation from a former employer or co-worker. You need to know a few things about getting that good recommendation, though.
You want to be sure that anyone you ask for a recommendation will be someone who actually worked with you. A CEO might not be the best choice if they did not personally work with you. Just because someone says something vaguely praiseworthy about you, it doesn’t mean it will really help your profile look better. You should try to get recommendations from people who knew you best and who can say something specific about your work habits.
When anyone asks for you to give them a recommendation, you should mention specific details about their work if you can. You don’t have to give you recommendations if you don’t feel comfortable doing so, though.
Your reputation consists of more than just the good things people have to say about you. You want to be sure you only give good recommendations to people who you believe will be good for your reputation. If they make a serious mistake later, your recommendation can come back to bite you.
Make your LinkedIn profile part of your larger online presence.
Are you writing a blog or do you have a presence on Facebook or other social media sites? You can share those things on LinkedIn.
You can list three different links on the professional Websites space on LinkedIn. You can write custom titles for these, if you like, instead of using LinkedIn’s pre-set naming ideas.
LinkedIn also provides twitter integration, so you can place your tweets on LinkedIn for all to see. You probably want to avoid this, as Twitter isn’t always used professionally, and you want to be sure that you don’t post something that might be offensive, sensitive or otherwise inappropriate for LinkedIn. You do have an option on LinkedIn to only share posts from Twitter that include the hashtag “#in”. This is a good idea to keep the two social media profiles separate but connected.
Become part of a group.
Facebook is filled with posts that don’t relate to your professional life, but LinkedIn is built more for your career.
If you join a group on LinkedIn, you want to be sure that it is one that may help you build career connections later. You can ask to join groups only if you are a close contact of someone in the group. If you are not connected to them, you can always ask a friend of a friend to make an introduction for you. You can send personal messages to people who have their message settings turned to open, so you may want to try the direct approach first.
Many LinkedIn groups are connected through location, and if you are part of a regional network, then you may see invites from that related group every so often. Becoming part of these groups and attending their meetups can help you land a job later or make important connections that will help you out at some point.
Have a proactive attitude.
Once you have built up your professional LinkedIn profile, it is time to do something with it. Don’t just rest on your laurels. Be proactive in the way you handle problems and ensure that your information stays up to date and that you do what you can to build strong connections. This will help you in your later career and ensure that you are an asset for your employer.