1. Have a complete profile. Complete all fields under the Profile tab.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising; the difference a complete profile makes to the eye of the beholder. When the punctuation and the grammar is correct, and information about the individual is available, it is the same effect as you would have in person by being immaculately groomed. People take a look and say, “Oh, this one’s a professional.” These days everyone looks up potential employees, business partners and even random people they are about to meet on LinkedIn, so it’s better you make a good “first impression.”
Post a picture. Not in “groovy” threads, but in smart casuals, unless your profession warrants otherwise. You want people to be impressed, not scared or intimidated!
People will often not want to connect with you unless you show your face, in fact, I refuse a lot of connection requests for the same reason.
Your online existence is just a part and a shadow of your real one, so do not make up fake qualifications or certifications, you will be found out sooner or later. Keep it simple, keep it real, and most importantly, keep it truthful.
2. Connect. Connect with people you know. Answer messages that are written to you, even if it does not bring you any personal gain. Let people know you are responsive. Connecting with people you have no clue about is not such a good idea, at least check the profile and see that it is a bona fide person; else your own credibility will suffer.
When you send a connection request, if you know the person well, use the automated invitation, otherwise, write two lines on why you would like to connect. If you have a reason, good! Flattery works too, but don’t go overboard. If you’ve met before or interacted, mention it in one line, or two. Brief, to the point and precise, is the best way with connection requests.
3. If you saw the “Most Viewed” list for 2012, one thing stood out. All of these people were people others wanted to know, for whatever reason. It could be that they wrote interesting articles or blogs, they were responsible for Recruitment (sounds familiar?) or Procurement, or they would prove to be worthwhile contacts while soliciting business from their organizations. Everyone does things that will benefit them, in the short term, or long term. So seriously ask yourself, what do I have, and what am I willing to offer the people who interact with me?
4. This is not Facebook. Don’t write “Hi” or “How r u?” to people you don’t know. You’ll end up getting blocked, or rejected for your next interview if the concerned person has any say. In fact, avoid “cool” abbreviations. This is a professional networking platform, keep it formal.
No strong political views or activism, please. Same with religion. We feel strongly about a lot of things but don’t necessarily voice those opinions in the office or during a review meeting. Keep that distinction. What does not need to be said out loud at that moment, is best said on some other networking site. Everyone watches every step of yours on the net. Do not say anything out loud that you would not want your Chairman, or everyone in the staff cafeteria to hear.
5. Link your Twitter account with your LinkedIn; you’ll be surprised at the results if you post interesting updates. I have never used Twitter on its own, but the number of followers I had when I last checked surprised me! Not bad for someone who’d never even visited Twitter once in the last year.
There is no guarantee that your profile views will go up if you do all this. This is just a way to ensure that you enhance visibility and credibility. The only way to be “popular” is to have a lot of connections in real life, those you interact with regularly, and to help them when they need it, even if only by referring them to someone who can help. So go on, be a great person, and let your LinkedIn profile reflect it!