How can one accomplish this critical element of your Personal Marketing Plan, your ‘digital footprint?’ Use the time you spend on LinkedIn to address your two critical tasks:
1. Task #1 is to keep your profile as a dynamic reflection of what you learn from your networking experience, tweaking your way to better search page results. This is worth more time in the beginning of your career transition, but regular time throughout.
2. Task#2 is to be interactive by participating in appropriate Group discussions, ‘like-ing’ comments of your choice, private messaging the writers of those comments as potential new contacts, following targeted Companies, and regularly ‘updating your network by ‘share-ing’ articles or posting brief ‘white papers’ than express your knowledge and expertise.
TASK#1: Your Profile
Your LinkedIn Profile can be your optimal DIGITAL aid to networking. You can ‘design’ your Profile to draw interested parties TO YOU… this is called a ‘pull marketing’ effort and is heavily dependent on your search engine optimization (SEO) score. This is an over-simplification, but the name of that game is to find creative ways to stack your keywords, using every allowable boundary of LinkedIn.
The challenge is to create this heavy barrage of keywords in a less than obvious manner, so that your Profile is still reader-friendly to those potential contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.
On the other hand, you may elect to use your Profile to get your story out to potential interested contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities. This would be utilizing a ‘push marketing’ design and would integrate a more narrative approach, with all due grammar in place…making it much more reader-friendly.
The challenge is to create such a narrative ‘storyline’ which has sufficiently high SEO score to rank you in the first several pages of a keyword search, AND…
…AND narrative enough to be appealing to the actual reader of your profile.
I encourage the Candidates that I serve to get the best of BOTH marketing approaches—both push and pull marketing strategies. Remember, the LinkedIn search algorithm looks for your activity level FIRST and your SEO score SECOND (a close second)… so let your desired results be your guide.
While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.
It’s not a mistake to start with cutting and pasting from your resume. It becomes the core of this high tech, written ‘personal marketing’ collateral. But then edit your storyline and put personality back in to it.
TASK#2: Developing YOUR Network
Goal: Continue to gain benefits from your social network — without making it your full-time job. Don’t expect that you can post something (TASK#1) one time and get ongoing benefits. Rather, you’ll need to continually update and refine your profile and your network. The most obvious way to do this is to add new contacts.
When I come home from a conference, for example, I go through the business cards I’ve collected to see who’s on LinkedIn.
Adding new contacts, sometimes from outside your immediate field or industry, is also a subtly persuasive way to sell yourself by letting others see how far your professional sphere extends.
I encourage job seekers to reach out to contacts even when you don’t have a business concern. I try to touch base with a few contacts every week for no other reason than to check in and see how things are going.
TASK#3: Job Lead Development