Regardless of where you are communicating, this is good advice. Keep your audience in mind.
With LinkedIn, is it applicable in a particular way. Your LinkedIn profile will work for you, or not, because of the audience you have in mind when you share content.
For many people, they see their LinkedIn account as if it were a place to upload their resume or CV. Of course LinkedIn was originally designed for the purpose of connecting the best candidates and staff with the right kind of companies. LinkedIn get the most of their revenue from the sale of solutions for recruiters and headhunters accessing our profiles for the best staff with the right skill sets.
But that is not the only use of a profile and new tools, such as LinkedIn’s Portfolio tool (not yet available in South Africa at the time of writing) reflects the desire to make this tool more flexible and appropriate for others.
So lets consider the various audiences and how we might position ourselves in our Profiles.
A new employer. This one is obvious. We have experience in a field and for various reasons, we re looking for a new job. We want to be employed, in a full time capacity with the regular expected benefits. So we use LinkedIn to demonstrate our experience, qualifications, professional network, successful completion of projects and how we met and exceed objectives. Use your current and previous positions to spell this out in the Description fields. Be specific. (Without giving away any confidential information.)
A new employer for a junior person. More senior people often male the mistake of allowing their profiles to look like a junior member of staff. I can say this quite easily in a blog post, but it is much more difficult to say this to someone’s face without offending them.
A junior person would list, probably with bullet points, in the Description field, that they
- Answer the phone and take messages
- Greet visitors and handle their queries
- Do the petty cash
- Fill orders
A more senior person should be positioning themselves in terms of larger objectives a list of minor daily tasks in inappropriate. Keep this in mind when you are tempted to list your accomplishments rather than provide a scenario of when your management of a project achieved desired results.
A new client. If you are employed by a company and you are responsible for finding new clients, then you can use your profile to demonstrate the solutions that your company, your team, can provide. There should be clear links back to your Employer’s Company Page and Website. Here you are not listing your skills that would impress a future HR manager who has to interview you, but you are talking about the ideal client’s problems and how your solutions will improve their bottom line, solve their problems and make them more successful.
A new client – when you are self- employed. Now you are highlighting your own value, not the brand of a company. You are going to have to be much more direct about your own skills, experience, expertise, and previous successes.
People affected by your industry. Sometimes when a person who is prominent in their industry goes online, it is not necessarily to find new clients for themselves, but to educate the public about issues relevant to their industry. Perhaps you are a member of your professional association or local business chamber. It is important for you to express an opinion about the local state of the industry. Now you are not trying to generate a lead, but provide clear, objective information that would influence people to believe or behave a certain way. I urge you to use this platform for good, not for bringing down other industries or spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt.
For almost all of the scenarios above, you can use Recommendations powerfully to have that third party endorsement of your value to your audience.
So my advice is this: as you look at your profile, your updates and your posts, even your engagements in Groups, have a mental picture of the person you would like to be reading your post and how you would like them to engage with you.
Personally, I would love someone who uses LinkedIn, to contact me now and ask for training for their company staff, to use this platform better and more profitably.