By Mindy Wolfle
March 24, 2016
I am a self-proclaimed Facebook addict. It connects me to friends – including ones from my high school and college days – and family members in ways I couldn’t have imagined even ten years ago. Someone’s having a baby, a family member or pet has died, life has thrown another punch – the only way I’m apt to find out is on Facebook. And then there’s the inevitable political ranting, leaving me ready to pull my hair out. Good news to share? Post it, please.
Switching gears, I’m on LinkedIn. I stress the importance of a LinkedIn profile during both continuing education classes that I teach; at the same time, I reinforce that LinkedIn is not simply Facebook for business. The content and tone of LinkedIn requires users to be completely different than their casual, opinionated, playful FB selves. The key distinguisher is the word “business.” All too often, I see people mismanaging LinkedIn, reducing its advantages in the business world.
The professional headline: This appears directly under the person’s name. Mine reads: “Marketing and public relations executive, writer, editor, educator, connection maker, do-gooder.” Sure, I could have simply stated “Marketing professional” or some other mundane descriptor of who I am. When I work with an attorney, for example, writing his or her headline, it will never read just “Attorney” or “Partner.” An attorney’s headline could more effectively include the area of the law in which he or she practices and words like passionate, advocate and other engaging terms. Think of the headline in a newspaper or magazine article. Even if you don’t read through all the text, you have an idea of what lies ahead by merely reading the headline. This is what you want to do on LinkedIn.
The missing photo: No photo on a LinkedIn page…how uninviting. Profiles without a photo are apt to have sketchy details. Let’s face it. LinkedIn is a tool to sell yourself to prospective clients, employers, referral sources and colleagues. It’s “Networking 101” digitalized. You wouldn’t wear a bag over your head at a networking event. No photo on LinkedIn is tantamount to that bag.
The wrong photo: You and your kids at Disneyworld? That’s strictly Facebook stuff. Blurry, unprofessional, outdated, too glamourous, sloppy. You needn’t incur the expense of a professional photographer (although generally well worth the money) to have a decent photo on LinkedIn. Smartphone photos may be acceptable, but stick with a digital camera for better results. And no selfies!
The summary: As the expression goes, content is king. The summary is as important on LinkedIn as the first paragraph is in a press release. Look through your LinkedIn contacts and see how many fail to include a summary. Don’t let that oversight diminish your LinkedIn returns.
Share an update: Keep the personal updates on Facebook. LinkedIn updates should be related to your business or when you’re sharing vital, business-related articles and information. Pictures of Easter eggs on LinkedIn…they appeared on my page today. Cute but unsuitable for LinkedIn.
There is much more that I could write about maximizing one’s LinkedIn page. Two quick suggestions: Use the options listed under “Add a section to your profile” to their full extent and add valuable content to your “Experience” section.
Mindy Wolfle, a member of Women Economic Developers of Long Island, Direct Marketing Association of Long Island and the Social Media Association, is president of Neptune Marketing LLC, chief marketing officer of Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP, and an instructor of business writing and not-for-profit marketing in Hofstra University’s continuing education program.