By Victoria Tomlinson, Northern Lights PR

Getting recommendations to complete your profile

Getting recommendations can feel awkward. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. Find five people to ask, who you know, who are on LinkedIn, who are active and have connections. They will understand what this is about. They will have had to ask others for recommendations when they first set up their profile.

You actually only need three recommendations to complete your profile so five gives you a safety net.

People you can ask to recommend you include former and current bosses and colleagues, people who have hired you to do work for them or even lecturers and teachers. We’ve had a number of our clients asking us to recommend them — although flattering, LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to do this. For obvious reasons.

It is quite hard work doing a recommendation for someone, so try and help them. Give them a few tips as to what you would like them to say ‘I am trying to network with people who are looking for a corporate financier, so anything you could say about the deal we did and how we kept finding solutions to every problem thrown at us, would be really helpful.’

LinkedIn does give you the facility to send out a request to up to 200 people with a standard email request (you can add the names in bulk but the emails are sent individually). We would not recommend this

•First of all, tailor the request to the person. If you are getting back in touch, make the most of the opportunity. Be personal, helpful and friendly

•Doing a recommendation is a pretty big deal for most people. Do you honestly have 200 people who would feel they know you well enough to do this? We would not recommend someone unless we really knew the quality of their work

•Better to get half a dozen quality recommendations from people who are respected and give a thoughtful recommendation, than dozens of what can start to feel like ‘rent a quote’

Your summary profile and specialties are really important. These are keywords for Google and LinkedIn to search on.

Some points about these
•You probably want a corporate description about your company that everyone uses to ensure consistency

•You may then want to agree how individuals adapt and tailor the company information to their particular areas of operation and expertise

Building your connections

This takes time. Set yourself a task of inviting 20 people every week for ten weeks and that will get you on to a solid platform. You may find you do a batch of 50 to start while you are enthusiastic, then it tails off. Slow and steady can be best.

LinkedIn has a tool, as you might expect, to link to your Outlook. Again, we would not recommend this. You need to own and manage the connecting process, making sure you connect with quality people and maximize the process of connecting.

When you send an invitation through LinkedIn, it suggests a standard email for your invitation. It may seem a lot of effort but the whole point of having a network is to increase your contacts for business. If you start sending volume emails out using the template email that everyone recognises, you are not networking and engaging.

Personalise each email. That is the point of social media, it is about relationships. Remember, you will be finding people you may not have seen for years — school, university, former employers.

Remember, others are watching you

When you create a profile, you can set your settings as to who can watch what you are doing on your profile. Go to your name in the top right corner, click on the drop-down box for Settings. Spend a bit of time looking at all the options — particularly privacy settings.

Most people click that they want to notify their contacts about updates to their status — ie who they have connected with, when they have updated their status (you can put short messages on LinkedIn, like Twitter), joined a group and so on. This is all part of staying in regular touch with your contacts.

However, you need to think about what people are watching. A very senior retail director, looking for a job, mentioned that he followed the key headhunters to see who they were connecting to. If he spotted a new connection that he thought was to do with a new job, he would write to the company direct. That could be a win:win for everyone, — except the headhunter.

Equally, imagine you are on a pitch list and meet the potential client for a brief, then connect to them via LinkedIn before you have submitted your tender. You may alert competitors to your involvement that may or may not be an issue.

The point is that you are giving away information that others are looking at and interpreting — rightly or wrongly. We have decided that we are comfortable with this, you need to think what is right for your business.

This article was taken from the ebook: Why you can't ignore social media in business

Watch the video below featuring Jemima Gibbons of AAB Engage discussing ow social media can positively impact your business.


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