If you haven't heard of LinkedIn before…
First things first, have you been living under a rock?
We will assume that since you managed to secure a stable internet connection in order to read this blog post that you are not, so here is a definition that the site itself provides:
"LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career."
LinkedIn is a key tool for any type of working, or not working, professionals. This includes students, small business owners, job seekers, or anybody that wants to navigate their professional life through the use of the handy site/app.
It is a social networking site with a twist, as it enables professional networking, career development, and (let's not forget), the opportunity to build your credibility. 🌟
1. Optimise your LinkedIn profile
A great way to start building credibility through the use of your LinkedIn is to, first of all, optimise your profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is your online brand, it represents your professional reputation and acts as a key source of information for individuals looking to find out more about you. This is why it must be completed and perfected to a high standard so that you can begin receiving the desired response from your target audience.
Social Media Examiner explains that "a strong professional LinkedIn profile creates opportunities for meaningful connections and interactions with other professionals." so make sure your profile looks appealing and professional.
One major part of optimising your profile is editing your profile URL. This is a good first step to establishing your personal brand as you are displaying what you want to be known as, this will come in handy when sharing your page.
Even though customizing your LinkedIn URL does not seem to be significant, it signals your brand image and gives your prospects a positive concept of your brand.
2. Select a professional profile image
Notice the underline under the word professional...
Please remember that this isn't Instagram, Facebook, or a place for pouts and peace signs. It is very important that your image looks professional in order to come across in the right way and build your credibility.
In the previous blog post, How Do I Create a Good LinkedIn Profile? We took a look at the famous Dolly Parton four-piece image, displaying the different personas that we exhibit depending on the social media we are using.
You can see that there is definitely a time and a place for different images, and we would recommend a smart, high-quality photograph of yourself preferably with a smile to bring a warm and welcoming feel to your page.
3. Don't neglect your banner
A LinkedIn banner that we hate to see but come across a little too often is this:
Not to say that people with this banner are not credible, but don't you think that an image that displays your personality and possibly your expertise and experience, would make your profile stand out a little more?
Take Rafael Dos Santos' profile for example:
Rafael displays his TED Talk with his banner, therefore raising awareness of the clip and displaying more of his background and achievements. This is appealing to any visitors to his profile as it positions him as more of an expert in his field.
Definitely better than the common blue default banner, right?
4. Grow your network
This one is not as hard as it seems, you can easily begin to grow your LinkedIn network by simply inviting your existing contacts to the platform.
If you struggle to find contacts this way, you can always manually search for your friends/colleagues on the search bar and add them that way.
As well as this, LinkedIn thoughtfully provides a page just for finding "People you may know". This tool is super helpful for all you networking butterflies out there as you can browse a page full of suggested LinkedIn users to build a connection with.
Increasing the number of connections you have on the site is a direct route to building credibility because, the bigger your following on the site, the larger your range of influence, therefore making you more credible.
5. Add your skills and get endorsements
A key section of your LinkedIn profile is the "Skills & Endorsements" section. Why? Because this is what employers, clients, and affiliates will look at when deciding to work with you.
It is a place where you can showcase your abilities and boost the credibility of your profile. Once you have added a few skills which you possess and which effectively reflect you and your education, experience, and personality, it is key that you seek endorsements.
Getting your skills endorsed is a crucial step of increasing the strength of your LinkedIn profile, as they will appear more credible by visitors as others have backed up your talent claim.
You can start gaining endorsements by simply asking your friends, co-workers, managers, or university lecturers to endorse your skills and always make sure to return the favour!
On the right is a sneak peek to the skills and endorsements on my LinkedIn profile. As you can see, I have been endorsed by lots of my colleagues at High Profile Club; it is not difficult to give your co-workers a quick message to ask for an endorsement which will be highly beneficial in boosting the credibility of your profile.
6. Publish content that will position you as an expert
Publish content that will position you as an expert. First of all, it is extremely important to regularly post and be an active user to build credibility on LinkedIn; equally, you don't want to be posting/ re-posting any random article or source that you create/find...
Of course, it all depends on what your goal is out of the post: do you want to raise your brand's awareness? Do you want to become more visible to recruiters? Gain more connections? Or, is your main objective just to build credibility?
Whatever your goal may be, it is important to identify what you want out of the post so that you can align your content with your objectives to, therefore, position yourself as an expert and gain credibility.
7. Participate in groups
Following up from the previous step, once you have published great content it is a good idea to share it to relevant groups and pages on the site.
According to booleanblackbelt.com, there are over 1.2 million groups on LinkedIn. That gives you a great variety of places to share your content, market yourself, and build those much-needed connections!
A LinkedIn group is a great channel to share content to those who will find it valuable. Hootsuite explains that this allows for not only higher engagement, but also more quality connections that will contribute to achieving the steps above, which, in time will build your credibility.
Finding a group to participate and connect in is easy: simply tap in any keywords on the LinkedIn search bar that reflects your interests, click the ask to join button, and wait to be accepted and there you are - centred around a group of like-minded individuals in which you can share content and grow your network.
That is my top seven steps to building credibility through the incredible social networking site LinkedIn. I hope this post will help you optimise your profile and begin receiving the desired response from your target audience.
If you enjoyed this post, please don't forget to give it a thumbs up below or leave me a comment on what you found interesting😃
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About the author
Jasmine is a Public Relations assistant at High Profile Club. She is currently completing a BA degree in Marketing with Public Relations at London South Bank University and has a keen interest in PR and the fashion and communications industry.
After growing up in Hampshire, Jasmine decided to move to London in order to pursue her career aspirations and work among some of the most established thought-leaders in the world of public relations and communications.
Find Jasmine on LinkedIn here.