Whether you’re a senior executive, entrepreneur or someone just entering the workforce, you probably see the value of being on professional social media network, LinkedIn. Now you’re ready to increase your profile in the industry, develop your personal brand and be seen as a thought leader.
But simply having a LinkedIn profile and being successful on LinkedIn — that is, having a presence where your content is often engaged with and you are yourself frequently approached for employment or business opportunities — are two very different things. Worse, many people use LinkedIn only as a vehicle for self-promotion or to make a sale.
Achieving success might feel a bit daunting, so I’ve put together three simple tips, using references from everyone’s favorite movie franchise, Star Wars.
To unpack this, let’s take a look at Luke Skywalker’s words from Return of the Jedi (1983):
Greetings, Exalted One. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and friend to Captain Solo.
I know that you are powerful, mighty Jabba, and that your anger with Solo must be equally powerful. I seek an audience with Your Greatness to bargain for Solo’s life.
With your wisdom, I’m sure that we can work out an arrangement which will be mutually beneficial and enable us to avoid any unpleasant confrontation.
As a token of my goodwill, I present to you a gift: these two droids. Both are hard-working and will serve you well.
These few lines provide us three simple tips for LinkedIn profile success:
1 Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is 100% Complete
When Luke Skywalker describes himself as a Jedi Knight, he isn’t just introducing himself: he’s establishing his credentials. In LinkedIn, the first most basic tip is to make sure your Profile is done to 100% completion.
Upload a photo and banner image that best represents you. Make sure the description that appears under your name and photo perfectly sums up what you want people to know about your career. Write in the first person and use language that is simple and concise.
Under the Experience section, make sure you list your accomplishments in every job you’ve ever held. You’re proud of your career, aren’t you? This is where you’re allowed to tell everyone everything you’ve achieved.
Final Pro Tip on the Profile: make sure it looks good on a mobile phone.
That’s where most LinkedIn users are likely to be when they look you up.
2 Always be Polite on LinkedIn
Luke is extremely gracious as he introduces himself to Jabba the Hutt.
Now remember, he’s talking to the the guy who is holding his friend prisoner even though, as a Jedi Knight, Luke could easily cut everyone in Jabba’s palace in half with his lightsabre. Yet he manages to maintain a civil tone the whole time.
On LinkedIn, what you say will be visible to all kinds of people: colleagues, future employers, prospective clients…you want to make sure you always put your best foot forward. (You’ll find LinkedIn to have a much more genial environment than Twitter or Facebook.)
3 Remember to Offer Value
When Luke opens negotiations with Jabba, he immediately offers something of value.
LinkedIn is a social network. Before you attempt to sell yourself or your company, demonstrate that you are willing to give: Share an interesting item you’ve read about the industry and add your comments. If you met up with an old colleague or met someone interesting at an industry event, people are probably interested in your photos. Even better, write an article yourself or make a video.
My colleagues at Black Marketing and I recommend a mix we refer to as 4-1-1. Of course you’re still going to post and share your accomplishments or things directly related to you or your company. But for every one post about you or your company, share one post about your industry at large and four other posts that have nothing to do with either.
We all know there is going to be some degree of selling or self-promotion on LinkedIn but by sharing these lighter pieces of content, you earn a kind of social currency that, in effect, buys you the right to sell or self-promote.
Contact me if you want to know more about how I can help you improve your LinkedIn presence.