LinkedIn, the #1 business social network site for business professionals, is a smart way for bloggers to network with other bloggers, as well as media and public relations contacts, and company representatives. I've been a member of LinkedIn for a few years now, first as a former travel/meeting planner, and now as a professional writer and blogger. In this time, I've found LinkedIn to be an invaluable tool in my growth as a blogger.
Many of my over 800 business contacts are fellow bloggers; some who have been blogging for a long time and have their "brand" polished, and a profile to be proud of. Others are newer bloggers, who, like me, are growing their brand, and may need a little bit of help in putting their best foot forward. The following are some tips to making sure your blog is "LinkedIn ready", and that you are using all the features of LinkedIn to grow your brand.
1. Let the World (or at last LinkedIn) Know You Are A Blogger!
If you are a blogger, and want to engage with other bloggers, make certain your blog information is on your LinkedIn page. I can't tell you how many people have tried to "friend" me on LinkedIn, but have little to no professional experience listed in their profile. If your profile shows me you are a nurse from St Louis or a plumber from Milwaukee, and that is all it shows, I don't know why I should make a connection with you. Be loud and proud, and make sure your blog name, job title, and some blog information are listed on your profile. This is especially important if you have more than one job, or a "day" job, in addition to blogging.
2. Showcase your Niche.
Are you a food blogger? Make sure your profile shows what your niche (s) are, and link to a few of your favorite posts. If you have been featured somewhere relevant, make sure to showcase that as well. The more information you have in your profile, the easier it will be for others who have similar interests to find you.
3. Join a Few Groups.
LinkedIn has a multitude of professional groups, where professionals can meet and engage with like-minded professionals. Are you a social media junkie? Join one of the many social media groups. A Mom or Dad blogger? There are at least ten groups devoted to Mom/Dad/Parent bloggers. Groups are a great way to network with fellow bloggers and PR professionals, get tips on how to grow your blog, and maybe even land a new job.
4. Be Selective: Connect With People Relevant to You
Some of the more "unique" connection requests I have received are from people who have not taken the time to know who I am. When approving contacts, take a few minutes to make sure they are a good fit. Most LinkedIn profiles have a bit of information about the contact, so if they are not a good fit, don't feel bad about not approving them. If you are the one requesting a connection, be sure the person you contact is a good professional match. Be selective.
5. Mind Your Manners and Stay Professional.
If your first contact with me is to hit me up for a donation, ask me to join your "incredible marketing program", or spam me with 10% off coupons for SPAM, you will find yourself quickly deleted from my contact list. I am not interested in multi-level marketing, pyramid schemes, or "get rich quick" projects. People (most people) join LinkedIn to gain meaningful professional contacts, not get hit up with "fly-by-night" scams. Behave yourself.
6. Download the Mobile App.
I use LinkedIn mobile on my phone, so even when I am not at home or near my computer, I am still able to connect with others. The app is easy to use, and lets me know when someone has requested a connection. I can keep up with my groups, and post new updates on the mobile app, making it a convenient accessory for my iPhone.
7. Update Your Profile
If you change jobs, received new accolades, or complete new education or training, make sure to update your LinkedIn page. If your profile has not been updated in the past year, you are not using LinkedIn to its full potential.
8. Endorse and Recommend
LinkedIn offers two features that make it super easy for you to support your fellow bloggers. When you pull up a contacts profile, a blue box pops up on the top of the page, allowing you to endorse that person for specific skills. Spread the love and endorse other contacts you know, and welcome the endorsements you receive. Another feature is recommendation. Recommendations are used to specifically highlight a persons skills and personality in a professional capacity. Use this feature with discretion, as you will be providing a written commentary on a person. That recommendation will be linked to your own profile, as well as the person you are recommending, so make certain your recommendation is polished and professional. Endorsing and recommendations can be a great way to build relationships, and isn't that why we are on LinkedIn?
9. Update Your Page
Did you know that you have the ability to update your LinkedIn "page" with blog posts, photos, and other relevant data? LinkedIn is a great social media tool to get more exposure for your blog. You are a blogger, after all, right? I keep a button at the bottom of every blog post, so my readers and I can auto-post to LinkedIn. I do not auto-post every blog post I write, but I do feature the posts that show best who I am, and what I am trying to convey. Show us what you are made of!
10. Be True to You
Imitation is the purest form of flattery, but it is in poor taste to copy another connections profile. Recently, someone tried to form a connection with me, but she had taken some of my profile wording and used it as her own...almost word for word. Perhaps it was new blogger uncertainty on her part, but I did not appreciate the "imitation". I've worked hard for almost four years to build my own brand. When building your profile, make sure you are showcasing all the wonderful, unique things that make you...you.
What tips do you have for bloggers to use LinkedIn?
If you are a food, travel, or parenting blogger, or a relevant media/PR/social media influencer and would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, please see my profile.