Even 500 years ago, people were taking advantage of forms of social media to get their message across — Martin Luther posted on doors and created pamphlets and woodcuts to attract and share his idea of reforming the Catholic Church (of course, the time line for going viral back then was measured in months or years). Today too, as military spouses tend to move around, we need to make effective use of current social media to share our ideas, talents, information, etcetera. A primary avenue is LinkedIn. However, one needs to make effective use of its tools to take advantage of its full potential. There are numerous tools, but for this column here are three things that can help you beyond just posting a profile and searching for those you might know on LinkedIn.
1. Personalize the URL
You can create a professional and easily recalled URL for your LinkedIn profile — something along the lines of: http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomaswahl. To do so, click the link below and go to the right-hand side to modify your public profile URL (just don’t use my name):
2. Tag — you’re it
As you start to make connections, you’re going to find there are people to whom you are personally connected, as well as professionally connected. Within that professional group, there might be different types of connections, for instance: industry, employer, military, branch of service, civilian, etcetera.
As you send out messages or posts, you might only want to reach out to a certain group or people. If you build up enough connection, it could take awhile sorting out who gets your communication. To avoid this, use LinkedIn’s tagging tool to tag your connections: click on My Network>Connections and as you hover over a connection you’ll see a “Tag” tool. LinkedIn allows you to create your own tagging categories.
3. Join a Group
As a certain presidential candidate might say, “The Groups feature is yuge!” First, in terms of networking, groups will help you expand your connections, enhance your professional knowledge through the group discussions, and let you bounce ideas off of peers.
Additionally, membership allows you access without being connected: you can message other members in a group without being connected, and you can view others’ profiles without needing to be connected. Turning this benefit around, group members can reach out to you, as well.
To end, I know I said three tips, but I have to add one more: have a good photo. Don’t post a seflie, watch out for the leaning head pose (some just aren’t natural — any further and these people’s heads will drop off), and don’t take up the whole frame with your head (it’s a little scary).
So, go now and refine your LinkedIn account. And find a few more friends there while you’re at it. Good luck!