Social media is an art not a science.
There are definitely rules of etiquette in social media (no, I’m not going to say “netiquette” because that’s the dumbest word ever). There’s good form, good communication, good networking.
But are there requirements?
Do you have to be on Facebook? Probably.
Do you need to have a Facebook Fan Page? Not necessarily (As a blogger, that is. Brands should most definitely be on Facebook).
Do you need to be on Twitter? Not a bad idea.
Do you need a LinkedIn profile? That depends.
As a blogger, how do you see yourself?
Is blogging strictly a hobby for you? Is it for capturing nice little stories about your kids and sharing your life with your family? If so, I would say that you don’t need a LinkedIn profile that includes blogging. In fact, I would discourage it for reasons I’ll mention below. If you are a working (or would-like-to-be-working professional), I would, of course, build your LinkedIn profile. I’d just keep the blogging aspect out of it.
Are you wanting to be taken seriously as a blogging professional? Then yes, you should be on LinkedIn. It builds out your professional experience and makes it publicly visible. If written properly, it will highlight the skills that differentiate you on the web, be it writing, photography, consulting, video, or whatever.
Isn’t that what your “About” page is for on your blog? It can be. But more than likely, your blog has a style to it. If you include a lot of humor in your blog, your “About” page may be written more for giggles than professional experience. Think of your LinkedIn profile as neutral ground. The nuts and bolts of what you do.
Who is going to look at my profile?
The most important reason you should be networking professionally on LinkedIn is that’s where professionals network. Sounds simple I know. It’s not the only place they network but it’s definitely a place to be seen. How do I know? Because I’ve seen who’s looking at my profile.
One of my favorite features is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile?” section on the home screen. At a glance, it looks something like this:
You can actually look at who has viewed your profile. It may give you the name of the actual person or it may give you something generic like “Someone at Mega Public Relations.” Yes, PR reps look at your LinkedIn profile. As do friends, co-workers, brands, and potential employers.
If you work with a brand rep for a specific campaign, how do you keep yourself in front of them after the campaign is over? Connect with them on LinkedIn after the campaign has successfully run. It will prompt them to take a closer look at your experience and possibly make you more memorable.
The experience you include on your profile also makes you more likely to show up in searches. You have the ability search for people within your own network or in the entire LinkedIn database and others have the ability to do the same. As an example, I pretended that I was looking for a freelance writer in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area. Here’s what I found:
Some of the people that appeared in my results set are in my network. We’re connected directly. Others will appear as a 2nd or 3rd level connection. That usually means I know someone who knows them. Instead of randomly reaching out to brands or bloggers, I might instead prefer an introduction by someone who knows us both. That’s the beauty of LinkedIn.
By the way, that’s a basic keyword search. You can get much more granular with the Advanced Search.
Of course, I haven’t even touched on Groups or Jobs on LinkedIn, both of which can be very valuable if that’s what you’re looking for. At this point, I’m just hoping you’re jumping up and down saying, “Okay! I get it! I’m off to set up my profile!”
I’m guessing you probably stopped reading my post. You probably went over to LinkedIn and either dusted off your untouched account or created a new one. And then you stared at the screen that was asking you to complete your profile and thought, “Um, what should I put here?”
I expected that. I suggest taking some time to look around at people you know and respect on LinkedIn. Look at their profile and think about what you like about the way they present themselves. And then come back on Thursday. I’m going to tell you exactly what you should put in your profile. More importantly, I’m also going to tell you what not to put in your profile.