Showing posts with label LinkedIn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LinkedIn. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LinkedIn, Part IV: Company pages

Not only can LinkedIn users create a personal page, users can create business pages.  Just as with Facebook and other social media sites, LinkedIn will lead you through the process of building a business page so that you can connect with other users, ask them to provide recommendations, and promote goods and services.  A few things you will be asked to do when creating the company page:

1.  You’ll be asked to provide details about the business (company name, type of company and size, URL, industry, etc.).

2.  Indicate who will be able to post of the page – you have the option to limit posting to the person who creates the company page or allow other company employees to act as administrators, and, provide a contact email address.  (Image from LinkedIn's company page builder example)

One thing to be aware of when registering your company page – domain names with,, or similar are not considered valid. 

As with other web tools you use, LinkedIn will also provide analytics pertaining to the number of page views and unique visitors who view your company page, as well as the visitor’s demographics.  In addition, LinkedIn will compare these numbers to numbers for what they call “similar companies.”  So, if there are a fair number of “like” companies who have LinkedIn company pages you may see some valuable data; however, if there are few other businesses with company pages in your category – the available comparison statistics may not be of much use. (Image from LinkedIn's company page builder example)

To build a company page, click the “Companies” tab, select “Search for Companies,” and then click “Add a Company” link, which you will find on the right hand of the screen.  Right now you might find too many ag. businesses listed but why not be one of the first and create your page.  For some inspiration view LinkedIn’s slideshow of “The 12 Best Linked company Pages of 2012” at

Take the time to not only update our profile often but to look through the LinkedIn “Help Center” feature as the tool is likely to continue to evolve.  You are bound to find a feature that you fell will benefit you or your business, such as recruiting for your business (for which a fee is charged), or learn about positions that you might be interested in.  Take some time and navigate through the system to become familiar with LinkedIn and make valuable connections. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

LinkedIn, Part III: Networking and groups

It is quite possible that even those who do not own a LinkedIn account know that the primary purpose is to build and enhance networks.  LinkedIn has a few tools that I have found useful to share with other LinkedIn users and to learn from others in my industry.

Tweet to your links

I am an active Twitter user and have connected my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts such that what I post on LinkedIn can also post to Twitter (I have also done this in a social media dashboard that I use, HootSuite, where I can select the tweet to post to Twitter and LinkedIn).  This is not mandatory; I do have the option of just strictly posting the content on just LinkedIn.  But, think about your audiences who follow/link to you on different social networks you might be involved with – might some of your postings apply to more than one audience?  If so, why save time and post to more than one network by clicking just one “share” button?

How to set up the ability to post to LinkedIn and Twitter simultaneously. 

Why have I chosen to do this?  The more often that my posts appear on any friends’, followers’, or linkages’ feed - the more often they (may) see my posts, topics I like to discuss or contribute to, and may be more likely to read these posts, access my other social media profiles, and view me as more of a resources who shares information that is of value to them. 

Provide and ask those you’re linked to for recommendations

Aside from sharing content on LinkedIn, I have also been asked, and obliged, to provide recommendations for some of my connections.  A recommendation is merely a shot description of the person’s skills, experiences you've had based on interacting with them, and similar.  Consider other businesses that you have relationships with.  If you were to endorse them on LinkedIn – could you help build their reputation and credibility as a leader in their industry? Certainly, you would not want to provide recommendations for each and every LinkedIn user you are connected to, so be selective and provide honest insight as your name, as well as reputation, is tied with you include in the recommendation.

An example of a recommendation I wrote for a guest lecturer who has spoken in one of the classes I teach at Penn State. 

It is not necessary to wait for someone to ask you for a recommendation in order for you to write one, rather anytime you click on one of your connection’s profile you are presented with the option: “would you like to recommend (name)?”  Pretty simple and straightforward just like your ability to add/select keywords that describe your connection’s skills or expertise. 

Join or start a LinkedIn group

The ability to join a LinkedIn group, based on an interest or industry, is one of the strengths of this social network.  Some specifics about groups:

·       You do not need to join most groups to view what members are posting, unless it is a closed group and an administrator must approve your membership before you can participate, but if you want to receive updates with about the group’s activities (posted on your feed page) you do need to join. 

·       You can join up to 50 groups and browse discussions, learn about promotions group members are offering (e.g. classes, special discounts on merchandise), job postings, and see a listing of group members. 
Groups can be very useful resources.  Members post questions and other members can respond or “like” comments.  My own experience with joining a group evolved from connecting with key group members to asking group members to suggest topics for a course I teach.  This informal exchange resulted in some interesting and diverse comments and viewpoints.  Even if you never initiate a discussion, it is interesting to learn from others about how they solved a problem similar to what you are experiencing or learn about potential opportunities. 

This is the message I wrote and that was posted on my group's page.  Other group members provide thought provoking and valuable replies. 

LinkedIn provides a few tools that can help you identify groups you may want join. You can:

  • do a general search for a group based on keywords (as I write this blog there are 1.5 million groups) 
  •  filter the entire list of groups by language and/or by instructing LinkedIn to only select groups that your connections belong to – doing this narrowed my results to 880. 
If you do not find a group that you want to join you can always create your own.  The process is very straightforward and you have the option of having an open or closed group.  Additionally, you can alert others about your group by using the “invite others” option in each group’s page.  By clicking on this link an email is generated with a brief description of the group’s purpose that you can send to others who might be interested in joining. 

In the last of this series of blog postings on LinkedIn I'll describe company pages and how easy it is for businesses to build their own.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

LinkedIn, Part II: Customize your profile page

This blog continues with last week's discussion about LinkedIn.  To learn about highlighting your skills, expertise, and your accomplishments - click here: LinkedIn Part I.

When I first signed up for my LinkedIn account I did not realize that I would be assigned a rather long and difficult to remember profile URL that was a mix of my full name and random numbers and letters.  LinkedIn gives users the opportunity to customize their public profile URL (I changed mine to, which I think is much more professional than the automatic URL I was assigned when I opened my account …./in/kathleenmariekelley93dnc9el3).  

I suggest that users customize their URL as soon as possible, because first come/first served - if the URL is available now it may not be in the future.  My name is fairly common so I had to go through several combinations to get a URL that was short and made sense.  Customizing becomes even more critical when a business owner develops a company page (discussed in my next blog) and wants a LinkedIn URL that closely matches their website or Facebook URL.  Grab it while you can!

Not only have I customized my LinkedIn URL, but I have done something similar for the three websites (the maximum I can add) I've added to my profile:
LinkedIn gives users a couple of labeling options when they add URLs to their profile page.   In the edit contact info option I have two choices for describing/labeling the webpage associated with the URL:
  • I have the option of choosing one of the general/generic names produced (personal website, company website, blog, RSS feed, or blog) or
  • I can develop a more specific label of my choosing, though I am limited to 30 characters or less.
I like the option to customizing and think it is more enticing to see a website labeled: PSU Farm Business blog rather than the standard LinkedIn “blog” label.  If an ag. business uses the generic “blog” title someone looking at the profile may have no clue as to the type of blog that they will find after clicking on the URL.   Better to provide a bit of information, even if the description is rather brief. 

Entering customized link descriptions and how they look on my LinkedIn profile.

As you can see, some of what I've described about LinkedIn is similar to what you might have had to provide when you built your website or even when you set up Twitter or Facebook accounts.  LinkedIn does have an extensive help menu and FAQ section – and LinkedIn personnel are responsive when users ask questions via their “Contact Us” form.  This is just the start of our LinkedIn conversation.  Do check back next week when I describe a bit about networking and company pages. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Are you LinkedIn? Part I: Highlight your skills, expertise, and your accomplishments

I have been a LinkedIn member for a few years and have made some good connections with other users; however, I wanted to learn how to use this social media tool to help ag. businesses build connections, learn from other industry members, and how to potentially increase business. So, I decide to brush up on my LinkedIn skills and learn about some of the changes that took place at the end of last year – some of which I like very much.

Creating a LinkedIn account is fairly straight forward, much like any other social media account or online account you might have created in the past.  A step-by-step process will prompt you to add contact information, your picture, past and current positions, as well as areas of expertise and your skills, etc. 

Adding more than just basic information

You may be tempted to just add the minimum to your LinkedIn profile – but image how much more professional you will appear if you do provide more detailed information about you, your business, and skills and expertise you possess.

Adding skills or expertise is just a matter of adding keywords, or allowing other LinkedIn users to “endorse” you by adding keywords they feel describe what you have to offer.  For example, my skills and expertise are broad, since I have many responsibilities at Penn State, and include: teaching, public speaking, social media, statistics, horticulture, and similar.  A few of LinkedIn users I am linked to endorsed me for horticulture and blogging.  These short words/phrases really do stick out among all the other information I've chosen to add to my profile page – a real contrast to the paragraphs of information that describe current and past positions, etc. 

A listing of keywords describing skills and expertise. 

Think about keywords you could add to describe your specialties: consulting, public speaking, management, landscape, floral design, event planning, or specific computer software skills.  The possibilities are endless. 

The skills and expertise section is just one of the features that users can use to highlight accomplishments or achievements.  More recently, LinkedIn added a feature that allows users to emphasize projects they have completed, courses they have offered, organizations they belong to, and even volunteer activities and causes they support.  Users also have the option to associate each of these with specific jobs or positions they have held. Some examples as to how ag. businesses can use these descriptors include: 
  • Have you written an article about a topic that would be of interest to those you've connected with on LinkedIn?  If so, enter the title, brief description, as well as the URL that they can click on for easy access. 
  • You can do the same for projects.  Perhaps you/your business provided plant material or landscaped a property that had significant meaning for the community.
  • For honors and awards, maybe your wine was award the overall gold medal winner in a wine competition. Why not let other LinkedIn users learn about this achievement? 
For some of these, such as publications and project, you will be able to “add” other LinkedIn members to the description.  For me, I feel that this blog provides stakeholders with such useful and timely information that I added it as a project, associated it with my current position at Penn State, and added names of other major blog contributors (Sarah, Jeff, and Dana) to give credit where credit is due.  

Information I've added to create a project on my LinkedIn profile. Notice how Jeff and Dana are listed under the "Team Member(s) heading.

After I saved the information to LinkedIn profile, each of them received an email from LinkedIn asking if they would like the description of the project added to their profile page.  If they approved, the description was added.  Now, their linkages can learn a little bit more about the blog and choose to read it and receive updates when we next post.

This is how projects will appear on LinkedIn profile pages. 

As with all of your information on your profile page, you can arrange the order so that if you would like projects, etc., to appear above other information, such as the summary of your background, education, groups you belong to, you can choose to do so.  LinkedIn is truly a tool that you can customize in many different ways.  Next time I'll describe other features that you can customize on your LinkedIn profile.