Written by: Monique Stennis
University of Redlands
AABLI alumna, Class #6
About a decade ago, your first encounter with a person was face-to-face, whether it was at a hosted networking event, during a first time meeting or via an introduction made by a mutual contact. Now, with over three billion social media users worldwide, people are becoming acquainted with your personal brand—experience, expertise, competencies and achievements— in the marketplace, directly online. So making that powerful first impression has become a game changer on social media.
As a resource, social media is undeniably convenient, a 24/7 online source of information. We can connect with experts in just about any field on LinkedIn, the number one social media site for professionals, as a precursor to meeting in person. With that said, there are a couple of questions we should ask ourselves: 1. Does my LinkedIn profile reflect the value that I bring to an organization or team? 2. Is my profile an effective catalyst for an in-person introduction?
Here are four actions you can take on LinkedIn, whose users number more than 470 million, to create a profile that stands out:
Write a solid headline that details who you are and what you do. Many professionals attach their current positions and companies to their headlines. This says more about the roles they play within their current organizations than it does about their professional value and the skills they possess in their fields. Incorporating relevant keywords in the headline can help when people are searching for some sense of your expertise.
Request for LinkedIn recommendations. “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” Applied to professional advancement, this old saying means you could be shutting out the benefit of feedback, from experienced advisors, on your business acumen. It also holds true when you are seeking endorsements.
Include photos and video. While a picture is worth a thousand words, a video can broadcast how you communicate and express yourself, as a spokesperson, to others. LinkedIn enables you to post multimedia in the experience, education or summary sections of your profile.
Cast a wider net as a thought leader. Publish blogs. You can become the go-to for a source of information related to your line of work. The blogs you write on LinkedIn are searchable on Google. When your connections comment and like your blog, it will be seen by second and third level connections in your network.
Monique Stennis, AABLI Class #6, leads the University of Redlands’ (UofR) social media program and is responsible for developing strategies to build engagement, audience, community and presence through the institution’s social media platforms. Stennis is also an adjunct professor at UofR.