I’m a huge believer in LinkedIn. Evidently 350 million others agree with me or least passively so by being registered with the site. At Stone Ward, it’s common for potential and current clients to visit our agency and personal pages, and it’s been deemed the third most popular social network tool behind Facebook and Twitter.

If you use LinkedIn, you know it’s a way to connect professionally with individuals and businesses. If you don’t, it’s easy to sign up, and levels of participation vary from free to tiered fees, depending upon the types of ways you want to engage the site.Even though it’s often thought of as a “job search” site, it’s really much more. And, if used effectively, LinkedIn can support your business and personal brand. But, rules of PR, Journalism and Marketing apply when setting up and maintaining a LinkedIn profile.

  1. Tell a story and keep telling it – Don’t just post your resume. Tell readers what you do best and how what you do benefits your company and possibly theirs. And, keep the story fresh. Update your profile regularly, “like” work you see on the LinkedIn homepage and “endorse” other professionals.
  2. Utilize AP Style when creating and maintaining your profile – If you don’t own an Associated Press Stylebook, buy one today. Anyone who writes anything should have a Stylebook available in hard copy or online to use as a reference. Using AP Style will ensure your readers have a clean view of your profile or business without awkward wording, punctuation or misspellings.
  3. Use a professional photo – LinkedIn is for professionals, so keep this in mind when choosing a photo to upload. No face-forward mug shots, no party pics, no couples or family photos on your personal page. If you don’t have a photo you like, use a logo or image that represents your work.
  4. Do your homework, but…– Research the profiles of other professionals in your field to understand best practices or set the profile bar high yourself. But, remember, unless you purposefully create the setting to be “private,” others can see you’ve visited their profile. Keep this in mind if you’re looking at competitors.
  5. Helpful articles – Check out these recent “tips” articles, and the LinkedIn site has numerous resources.