Two weeks ago I gave a talk at the Health and Care Conference to a group of actuaries working in insurance and reinsurance on social media, focusing on how they might be able to use it for business – either personally or for their companies.
Here I’m going to follow up on that short talk and give the guys and gals a bit of advice on how to improve their LinkedIn profiles as many of them are on this platform already.
Here goes – top five tips on improving your LinkedIn profile for my new actuarial buddies – (and a big thanks to The Actuarial Profession for asking me to give the talk) and for non-actuaries too!
1. Looking good
First things first – get ready. Fill out your summary, put up a picture (and ladies out there who are camera shy, you just have to get over this) and fill out your background and education. This is your calling card, and people will check you out on here, so make sure it is as well presented as it can be. If spelling or grammar is not your thing, or English is not your first language, get someone to proof-read it.
2. Add connections
Every time you meet someone or get a business card, add them to your connections on LinkedIn. It is amazing how quickly your circle of connections can grow. Remember, that until you have a good number of connections, what you say will have a limited audience. There is a useful “people you may know” section at the top right of the home page – so click on it and have a look. When you send invitations to connect, personalise them. Say where you met or why you would like to connect – it matters.
3. Update your status regularly
There is no better way to stay in the consciousness of your connections than to update your status – it will stream on the homepage of your connections. If you are on Twitter, be careful about sharing everything on LinkedIn – these are two very different audiences, and some people on LinkedIn will not understand you are using Twitter shorthand, or the like the more casual tone used on Twitter. Instead (sorry for those of you not on Twitter for getting a bit technical here), use #in to add it to your LinkedIn stream.
Consider your timezones and audience
Think about when you post your updates – if your connections are in different time zones, then it may be useful to use a tool such as Hootsuite, that will send out updates at different times. There’s no point in posting something for a New York audience at 9am GMT when most Americans are in their bed.
4. Join groups
Some groups on LinkedIn are really, really good. Some are full of spam. So join and check them out. I’m a member of two specific types of groups: those of my peers such as fellow PR professionals; and those of potential clients such as insurers, reinsurers, actuaries, lawyers, brokers, accountants etc. For insurance and reinsurance, there is a wealth of knowledge out there, from Takaful groups (Insurance that complies with Islamic laws) to catastrophe or Insurance Linked Securities groups.
When I have found there is not a group in an area, I’ve set one up – for example, the Rendez-Vouse de Monte Carlo and 100 Women in Reinsurance. Have a look around the groups – or the groups your connections are members of. You can join up to 50. I’d also recommend setting updates for once a week (they will come into your email), otherwise you will feel like you are being spammed.
Once you’ve joined, actively participate and show your expertise. But remember – stay away from politics or religion – and never get drawn into an argument.
5. Content matters
Make sure what you say is relevant. I can’t emphasise this enough. What you say matters so make it appropriate for what you do. Add connections to good articles about your company, your work, stories on clients, comments on other people’s updates. Remember this is work, and LinkedIn is a very formal place, so your tone matters. Be a resource and be helpful, and remember your audience (ie your connections or group members) and what they might be interested in.
The Learning Centre on LinkedIn is great too. Have a look at it, it is worth taking the time. Equally, we’re here to help with online and social media issues that can impact on your PR.