You've written your LinkedIn summary and updated your experience field. You've joined a handful of groups and connected with colleagues. A few of them wrote you recommendations, but your activity on LinkedIn has been stagnant since.
"Your profile is your personal website, so you really want people to land on it and be encouraged by the story you tell," says Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. If you're not promoting yourself and people aren't trying to connect with you, you're losing out on potential business partnerships and job opportunities, experts say.
Here are five quick and easy actions you can take right now to ensure you stay relevant on LinkedIn, help build your network of connections and make the most of the professional networking site.
1. Utilize LinkedIn Widgets
LinkedIn makes a number of widgets available that you can integrate into a blog, website or application.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Bible.]
Inserting a LinkedIn widget onto your blog or webpage is an easy way to promote your LinkedIn profile, and thus your qualifications, to website visitors.
2. Stay Active With Status Updates
The "Status Updates" box is an underused yet valuable LinkedIn feature. The Status Updates space, located on your LinkedIn homepage, is meant to be used as your "professional billboard" on which you have 140 characters to post an interesting link, share a thought or ask a question to your LinkedIn connections.
When you post an update -- much like you would on Twitter -- it appears in your connections' "Updates" feeds, helping to keep you top-of-mind. Try updating your status once a day, says Eve Mayer Orsburn, CEO of Social Media Delivered, a social media consultancy, but be sure that your updates are almost always work-related.
Another option: If you use Twitter, you can selectively share Twitter updates on LinkedIn. To do so, visit your Twitter Settings page on LinkedIn. You'll see an option to share only tweets that contain the hashtags #in or #li, or share no tweets at all. Including these hashtags will automatically send your tweets to LinkedIn.
3. Add Your LinkedIn URL to an E-Mail Signature
One of the best ways to draw new visitors to your LinkedIn page is by including a link to the profile in your e-mail signature, Breitbarth says. It's an easy way to promote yourself and your qualifications to contacts with whom you e-mail every day, as well as increase your reach and the size of your network.
4. Pump Up Your Profile With Apps
An effective way to attract attention to your LinkedIn profile is by making it interesting and interactive. Adding a few of LinkedIn's apps is an easy way to add another dimension to your profile and make it more memorable to visitors.
To access LinkedIn's applications, select "More..." from LinkedIn's navigation bar and choose "Application Directory." Note that for each application you choose, you can control privacy settings, so be sure to update them appropriately.
If you write a WordPress blog, you might want to showcase your latest posts on LinkedIn via the WordPress app. Likewise, if you want to share your latest presentation with connections, upload the SlideShare Presentations app. Or, if you travel frequently, try the Events app, which displays all of your connections who will be attending the same event.
5. Search-Engine Optimize (SEO) Your Profile
Ranking high in a LinkedIn search for your particular industry or profession has several advantages: If you're in the market for a new job, for example, ranking high makes it easier for recruiters to find you. If you're looking to gain exposure in your industry, appearing on the first page of search results will help you catch peoples' eyes. And if you're looking for new clients or business opportunities, ranking high is essential.
Optimizing your profile is easy, Breitbarth says. First, develop a set of appropriate keywords that people could use to find you on LinkedIn. If you're an IT consultant, those words might be "IT," "consultant" and "technology consultant." Use these keywords generously throughout your profile, but be sure not to overdo it, he says. This will increase the likelihood that when someone searches for "IT" or "technology consultant," your profile will appear in the search results.
Kristin Burnham covers Consumer Technology, SaaS, Social Networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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