This is a beginners guide to LinkedIn. I joined a few years ago but it’s just been sitting there until this week… It’s by no means an expert guide, just my experiences over the last week.
Obviously I am on Facebook, with a number of fanpages and groups for various projects. And I am on Twitter too, tweeting as @livingspiritpix. But there was always LinkedIn there in the background. like so many of my other friends, I joined, added some details and then left it alone, logging in only to accept new connections. And that was pretty rare.
For me, LinkedIn was just another social media problem to deal with. And I am somewhat up against the wall with Twitter and FB already! So much ‘social media-ing’ and so little time to write scripts, raise money yada yada… Urghhh.
But I knew I HAD to deal with it. I needed to add more information, update it, refine it and damn well use it!
Part of my problem was I just didn’t know exactly what it was.
So here is my quick run down of what it is (as far as I can see) and the fastest and simplest way to set it up for maximum impact.
OK so what is it? Unlike other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is pretty much a static site. You don’t update it four times a day like Facebook and you don’t chatter on it like you do on Twitter. It’s more like a ‘connected’ online resume or CV.
Personally, I like this aspect. It feels more like a professionalised Facebook, all the connectivity but none of the FB/Twitter distraction. It is definitely less ‘social’ and more ‘media’. That equals less distraction.
After updating my profile, which you can see here…
1. A full update will take you around an hour or two, depending on your attention to detail. And you MUST add a photo – and not a ‘fun’ photo like Facebook, one where you can see you face clearly.
2. You will need to write some ‘recommendations’ for people who you have worked with and would like to ‘recommend’. They should then reciprocate by writing you some recommendations too. This is social proof that you are not an ass and essential to proving you are real and not just hot air.
3. Edit your URL to claim your name. Linked in will assign you a long URL by default, but you can edit it to fit your identity. It makes sense to reuse your Twitter handle and Facebook name for consistency. Mine is http://uk.linkedin.com/in/chrisjonesfilmmaker (matching my Facebook profile)
4. Make your whole profile visible to the outside world. You can choose to hide some or part of your profile, but I would suggest making it all visible. This way people can find you more easily and search engines will find you too, raising your digital footprint (as rumours suggest Google rates your LinkedIn profile very highly). This is all very good SEO stuff. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.” NOTE, it appears that your recommendations are NOT publically visible, only inside LinkedIn.
5.If you have a company, create a LinkedIn company profile. I created ones from The Guerilla Film Makers Handbooks, Living Spirit Pictures and the London Screenwriters’ Festival. LinkedIn members can now join these. Be careful when you do this as the process asks for an email address – so for instance I used firstname.lastname@example.org for the Living Spirit group. Once that @livingspiritgroup.com is associated with a company, you cannot use for other businesses or projects. I didn’t try it but I guess Goolemail and Yahoo etc wont work for settting up a business profile. Makes sense really.
6.Keep your descriptions short and pithy and remember to think in SEO language when describing.
7. Get connecting. With each new personal connection you become more visible to the LinkedIn community. But take care to only connect with people you actually know as YOUR contacts become visible to them.
8. It appears that largely, though not exclusively, only people on the ‘way up’ use LinkedIn. People at the ‘top’ don’t often have a LinkedIn profile. Why would they? They don’t need the connections, they have them already. Plus they would get bugged all the time.
9. Add your LinkedIn profile link in email footers and on your other sites, such as blogs. I am in the process of doing this right now. It really makes sense to add to an email footer as it gives people the chance to see a snapshot of you are (or claim to be!)
10. I chose to list each film production as a separate job. So each production appears as a separate company. This makes sense for larger projects but not for lots of smaller ones, such as music videos or corporate work.
11. LinkedIn lays out your profile in a certain order by default, but you can change it. I choose to put my recommendations toward the top of my profile. The film business is largely about relationships and so I figured other peoples opinions matter more than my own spin on just how-amazing-I-am-and-what-amazing-work-I-have-done. There’s no science to back this up, just a hunch
12. Finally, fill out everything else, blog links, twitter feeds etc. All of this is good SEO if nothing else.
OK that’s my top ten tips for now. Hang on that’s twelve! Doh!
OK if you have any to share, especially from a media perspective, please leave them on the blog.
Onwards and upwards!
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author