Our introductory guide to Twitter proved so popular, we thought we’d create another quick intro for LinkedIn. Please let us know what you think, and if you like it – share with friends and colleagues.
LinkedIn is a free social networking service, which is mainly used for professional networking and other business purposes. This sets it apart from Facebook and Twitter, which (although both used commercially) have a strong recreational focus.
Launched in 2003, it claims some 120 million registered users.
It enables users to publish a profile, based on a CV, highlighting their skills and experience, and to join groups where they can ask questions or start discussions with people who share their interests.
If you want to join LinkedIn, there is an easy-to-follow process from the home page. All you need is an email address and a password.
However, to complete your profile, you will be asked to upload a photo and fill in your employment and education history, as well as particular skills and experience you may want to highlight.
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, this is very much a work-related network, and you will notice profile pictures and descriptions are “serious”. You won’t find cartoon characters or drunken party pictures on LinkedIn (BTW – those may not be a good idea on Facebook or Twitter either, but they are there).
Don’t expect to complete your LinkedIn profile at one sitting, unless you have put some time aside for the purpose. You can add to it each time you log in, and the system will remind you that you still need to add certain information.
You can post links and/or comments (updates) in your profile, and you will see the comments of your connections.
Many people link their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account, so all their Tweets also appear in their LI feed. If doing this, bear in mind you may have a slightly different (more work-related) audience seeing your updates in LinkedIn.
One of the main features of LinkedIn is its groups. Most groups relate to a professional or business interest, but some are more recreational – though the distinctions are blurred, with such groups as Linked Golfers.
You can search for groups by subject, according to your professional interests or location.
Some groups accept applications automatically, while others have an approval process – for instance, some professional groups which want to ensure your credentials.
Once you are a member of a group, you can post comments or start discussions. Bear in mind, however, that blatant advertising (even of free events) may be frowned upon or even banned by certain groups, so check first. In any case, LinkedIn is more about making connections than about selling.
LinkedIn won’t leave you to find your own way around. It will constantly (on the right of your screen) suggest people you may know, jobs you may be interested in, and groups you may like, as well as paid-for ads, and some basic stats about your profile and network.
You can also search (top right) for people, groups and more by name or subject.
If you want more advice, or help in setting up a LinkedIn account, or have any comments on this post, please do get in touch.
Photo by Photostock.