Social media. A blessing and a curse. LinkedIn is, traditionally, the business social networking site, whereas Facebook, is, traditionally, more social. Your LinkedIn profile matters. Truly, it still does, although whether that will be the case a year from now is anybody’s guess.

A blessing because it’s an opportunity to advertise your services for free. A curse because it can actually be hard work. There is quite a lot to know to make it work effectively. I am no expert, but I have learned a lot along the way.

As this is a business blog, and LinkedIn is still important in business, here are five reasons why you should improve your profile and positioning on LinkedIn:

1. 500 connections on LinkedIn is the magic number. At the time of writing, I have 404 and am working on reaching the 500. It’s not just about having 500 though, it’s about interacting with them. If you are on other social networking sites as well, it can be quite time consuming. Build it into your marketing strategy and do It regularly.

2. An all star profile means you have more chance of being seen. It took me a long time to get mine to all star, despite – I believe – following all the advice I had been given, and then it seemed to happen all at once. A couple of people have helped me so I can’t recommend just one, so take a look at these (and remember, you either have to do it yourself, or pay someone to do it):

3. You want to get work through LinkedIn. Whether you want a job or to get more business, if you are self-employed, it’s all about visibility. Forget “build it and they will come,” if people don’t know you are there, they can’t find you. Think shop fronts. If your shop is on the high street, people will see you. If your shop is stuck streets away from the main drag, the only people who will find you are the ones who live nearby. Great if you are a general story. Not if you are very niche. So worked on your visibility on LinkedIn.

4. Your contacts can introduce you on LinkedIn, but you’ve got to look good – it affects their reputation too. Think of it as a business dating site. If you haven’t brushed your teeth or combed your hair, people are not going to be attracted to you.

Will LinkedIn be the “go to” place forever? Who knows? Make the most of it while you can.

© Susan Shirley 2017

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