With more than 100 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. Are you using it to its fullest potential? While Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ have been generating the most buzz lately in the social media world, LinkedIn is a powerful platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner.
The truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely useful — especially when you’re aware of all the little hidden tricks that don’t get nearly enough exposure as they deserve. To help you master LinkedIn, below is our ultimate list of 21 awesome tricks you’ve likely overlooked.
21 Hidden LinkedIn Tricks
1. Claim your vanity URL. Make your profile look more professional and easier to share by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. Instead of a URL with a million confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelavaughan. Do so by going here and clicking “customize your public profile URL” down on the right-hand side.
2. Make your blog/website links sexier. Instead of using the default “My Website”-type anchor text links in your LinkedIn profile, you can change the anchor text to make those links more appealing to people who view your profile. So if you want to increase clicks on the website links you can display on your profile, change the link’s anchor text to something more attention-grabbing than the standard options LinkedIn provides. For example, if you want to include a link to your blog, rather than choosing LinkedIn’s standard “Blog” anchor text, customize it to include keywords that indicate what your blog is about, like “Internet Marketing Blog.” Each profile can display up to 3 website links like this, and they can be customized by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting “Other” in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text.
3. Search engine optimize your profile. You can also optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms with which you want to be associated. Add these keywords to various sections of your profile such as your headline or summary.
4. Take advantage of “Saved Searches.” LinkedIn allows users to create up to 3 saved searches. After conducting a search, clicking the “Save This Search” option allows you to save a search and easily run it again later. You can also choose to receive weekly or monthly reminders via email once new members in the network match your saved search criteria. Just click on the “Saved Searches” tab on the Advanced Search options page and select one of your saved searches to run again.
5. Track company buzz. Company Buzz is a helpful application that allows you to track what people are saying about your company and related topics on Twitter. Just install the application and customize your topics to view tweets, trends, and top keywords.
6. Use applications. Speaking of Company Buzz, have you looked through the other applications available to you on LinkedIn? Browse the Application Directory, and consider adding the SlideShare application or linking your blog to showcase your presentations and blog articles on your profile. The Events application is also a great way to see what events your connections are attending and find other popular industry events to attend.
7. Use OpenLink to send messages to people to whom you’re not connected. LinkedIn only allows you to send messages to people with which you share a first degree connection, but did you know some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you’re not connected? The ability to be part of the OpenLink network is only available to premium account holders, but it allows them to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member if they choose to be. OpenLink members will appear with an icon that looks like a small ring of dots next to their name in search results and on their profile.
8. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.
9. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page, you’ll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile’s number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click “See what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
10. Export connections. Want to transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
11. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the LinkedIn Companion for Firefox is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
12. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.
13. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you’re connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by “Relationship” to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.
14. Link your Twitter account to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account here.
15. Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume. LinkedIn enables you to turn your profile into a resume-friendly format in seconds with its Resume Builder tool. Just choose a resume template, edit it, and export it as a PDF that you can print, email, and share.
16. Add a video to your Company Page. Make your business’ Company Page more interactive by adding video. To do so, visit your Company Page as a page admin, click your Products tab and, under the “Admin Tools” drop-down menu, click “Add a product or service.” This enables you to create a new entry that features your video (or you can add a video to any existing product/service pages you’ve set up previously). Currently, LinkedIn only supports videos that have been uploaded to YouTube.
17. Rearrange your profile. LinkedIn enables users to reorder the sections of their profile in any way they prefer. When in edit mode on your profile, simply hover your mouse over the title of each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click then drag and drop to another position on your profile.
18. Extend the life of your questions. After a period of time, the opportunity closes for users to answer questions that are posed in the Answers feature of LinkedIn. To extend the life of the questions you ask and enable more time for users to provide answers, click on the “My Q&A” tab within Answers, click on the question you’d like to revive, and click “re-open this question to answers,” which will open it up again for 7 more days.
19. Share questions or your answers to others’ questions. Besides the ability to ask questions, LinkedIn Answers also offers a great opportunity for users to share their expertise and thought leadership as well as link to content they’ve created that helps to answer others’ questions. Have you provided a helpful answer to another’s question lately? When you’re on the question’s page, click “Share This” beneath the question. You then have the option to share the question via LinkedIn message with up to 200 of your connections, bookmark it on Delicious, or grab the permalink to share in other ways.
20. Use LinkedIn Today to keep track of industry news. LinkedIn Today is an awesome feature that provides you with the most popular stories that are shared on LinkedIn. Use it to stay on top of news occurring about marketing, the internet, computer software, etc. You can also sign up for email summary notifications of LinkedIn Today news.
21. Post Company Status Updates: LinkedIn recently launched the capability for Company Pages to post status updates to their company followers (much like Facebook business pages can publish Facebook status updates). Start promoting your company’s presence on LinkedIn today to generate more followers, then start using the channel to share your content and messages. To learn how to enable LinkedIn Company Status Updates, read this post. (And don’t forget to follow HubSpot on LinkedIn to get more updates!)
Want to take advantage of some even more LinkedIn features and capabilities? Think about upgrading to a pro account for even more LinkedIn awesomeness.
What other LinkedIn tricks do you use to take the most advantage of your LinkedIn presence? Share them in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo
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Auteur: Pamela Vaughan