Why Every Design Professional Should Be On LinkedIn
Guest post by Charlene Kingston, business coach at Social Media DIY Workshop, and VP of Social Media, IFDA-AZ.
I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all social media solution for businesses. However, I believe that every design professional should be using LinkedIn. Let me explain why.
As a design professional, you understand that it’s not what you know but who you know when it comes to getting a job or a new client. It’s a business about relationships and referrals from people who know your work. That’s where LinkedIn comes in.
LinkedIn is a social media site where people share their resumes. In fact, it’s the largest resume sharing site on the planet with over 200 million users. Some of them have jobs. Some of them are self-employed. But all of them are using LinkedIn to stay in touch with their professional connections.
To begin using LinkedIn, you need to create a profile. If you have a job, you can think of this as your online resume. And if you are self-employed, you can think of this as your professional summary. Either way, it’s your chance to share your experience, expertise, and specialties with the world. It’s your words telling your work story your way.
LinkedIn provides all kinds of boxes and blocks you can assemble to create your profile. Feel free to pick and choose between them so that your profile truly showcases your strengths. It might take a couple hours to set up your profile, so set aside an evening or a weekend afternoon to create this important professional description of your work.
After completing your profile, it’s time to identify people you already know who also use LinkedIn. This is easy and there are several ways to do it! You can have LinkedIn check for people using your email address book. You can also ask LinkedIn to check for your former co-workers and classmates. It’s really fast and easy to do.
When you find someone you know on LinkedIn, send them an invitation to join your network. This isn’t awkward! It’s connecting with people you really know. In fact, LinkedIn discourages you from trying to make new connections. Your network should be people you really know and who know you and know your work.
LinkedIn measures your network in circles.
- Your first degree or inner circle are people you know and have added to your LinkedIn network.
- Your second degree are all of the people who are connected to your first degree people. It’s the connections for your connections.
- Your third degree are all of the people who are connected to your second degree connections.
It’s a little like the Kevin Bacon or 6-degrees of separation game. You know someone who knows someone who knows someone… You get the idea.
With each degree, you get access to more people. Let’s say your network starts off with 20 people. If each of those people have just 20 connections, your second degree network has 400 people. And if each of those people has just 20 connections, your third degree network has 8,000 people, and that’s a lot!
You can add people to your network in under 15 minutes a week. You want your LinkedIn connections to reflect your real world connections. So take a little time at least twice a month to accept invitations from people and invite people to join your network. When you meet someone at an IFDA event, invite them to join you on LinkedIn the next day. It’s that simple!
LinkedIn is not like Facebook where you are expected to show up and talk to people. On LinkedIn, it’s enough to add people to your network. You don’t have to talk to anyone. After all, these are people you know in real life, and some of them you already speak with on a regular basis. There is no conversation expected from you.
After setting up your profile and investing a little time to build out your network, here’s where LinkedIn pays off.
- The people you know move, get married and divorced, change jobs, change their names, their phone numbers, and their email addresses. But they always update their LinkedIn profile. This means that you can find the current contact information for people you know through LinkedIn. That’s handy!
- LinkedIn can help you connect with people you have worked with in the past. It’s a great way to reach out and reconnect.
- Are you looking for a job? You can ask your network to help you find an ideal position. Chances are, you know someone who knows someone who has a job that would be a perfect fit for you.
- Looking for new clients? Your network can share your professional summary with the people they know who are looking for a design professional. In fact, by adding your clients into your network, you make it easy for them to share you with their friends who need your services.
These are just a few of the many benefits you can expect from your LinkedIn profile. With just a little effort, you can now turn your LinkedIn profile into a workhorse for your business.
Don’t be afraid of LinkedIn. For just a small investment, you can gain an invaluable resource to help you in your professional life and business.