LinkedIn has emerged as a formidable player in the social media-sphere, with it fast becoming one of the most most valuable assets to access for professionals. In 2019, LinkedIn reported 645 million accounts, and 40% of those users actually logged on every single day. Less than three years later, the platform boasts 849.6 million members.
And it’s not just good for networking and job searching. It’s a great tool for small business owners to marketing their companies, as LinkedIn can generate high visitor-to-lead conversion rates, at 2.74%, nearly three times higher than Twitter and Facebook.
But with growth comes growing pains. As LinkedIn’s popularity rises, so are the users’ faux pas. Although the platform is designed to bolster professional connections, it has quickly been relegated to everything from a dating site to casual networking.
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As we enter into a new year, here are four ways to make the most out of your time on LinkedIn, the right way.
Treat your profile like a digital business card
Your LinkedIn account can be your professional calling card at a time when digital networking is king, and just like in real life, first impressions matter. When thinking about building a profile, investing a clean and business-professional headshot is ideal. Aim to dress the way you would for a Zoom job interview (cleanly designed shirt, neat hair, simple background). It may be benefit you to use a different photo for a LinkedIn profile than your TikTok.
Also, be intentional about removing any content that could be deemed unprofessional, like hobbies, relationship status or even any comments you’ve left under other users’ posts you wouldn’t want your contacts to see.
Your LinkedIn profile is a place to portray yourself to your industry as a professional. Sift through your content and remove any blog posts, comments or shared links that are outside of your industry and professional goals.
“It’s pretty astonishing how many people leave horrible comments and say awful things in articles and blog posts,” Ashley Stahl wrote in a piece for Forbes. “Know that sometimes your angry comments are seen, both on LinkedIn and on the internet as a whole. If there is anything overly negative or mean on your profile take the time to remove it. This goes for if you are actively communicating with other accounts. Be sure that your comments and feedback will be viewed as mature and professional.”
Refrain from posting irrelevant information
Nowadays, LinkedIn users post everything from engagement announcements to casual #OOTD on the platform. Before posting something that can be deemed incongruent with the company’s community guidelines, take a step back and ask whether your content would be something you’d say to your supervisor if standing in front of them.
Ideally, LinkedIn can be used to showcase your personality while still maintaining professionalism.
As Stahl points out: “Set time aside and make a list of content articles you would like to author. If topics don’t immediately come to mind, you can use the articles as inspiration for your own content. If you find an article you liked within your realm of subject matter,, read the comments section to find questions that other viewers may have posed as a way to search for and address gaps that weren’t covered on the topic.”
Utilize LinkedIn the way it’s intended
LinkedIn is not a dating site. Full stop.
A rep for LinkedIn told Business Insider the platform shouldn’t be used for anything other than establishing work connections.
“As a professional network, our members rightly expect their experience on LinkedIn to be professional in nature, and any form of harassment or unwanted romantic advances are a violation of LinkedIn’s Professional Community Policies and not tolerated,” a company spokesperson told Insider. “We don’t allow unwanted expressions of attraction, desire, requests for a romantic relationship, marriage proposals, sexual advances or innuendo, or lewd remarks. We also do not allow LinkedIn to be used to pursue romantic connections, ask for romantic dates, or provide sexual commentary on someone’s appearance.”