Have you Googled yourself recently? Does what you saw reflect what you do best? Does it even reflect you personally, or someone else with your name?
Even if you are gainfully employed, a robust online presence is astronomically important for networking and career development purposes. This online presence should ideally include content that showcases why you are an expert in a particular area so that whoever happens to be looking wants to know you and work with you.
I used to exclusively recommend that people purchase their domain names (e.g. alexandralevit.com) and develop full-fledged personal websites. I still think that’s a good idea, but for those of you who are resistant or just don’t want to pay the $20/year, the good news is that LinkedIn, which I first wrote about here in 2010 has evolved to serve the same purpose.
To tackle the question of how to use LinkedIn to build an expert platform, I tapped Glenn Raines, who does this for a living via his business, Social Media Moves. Here are his best tips for getting started:
According to Raines, you must first consider the art, which is shaping a narrative that conveys one’s value to a potential employer, partner, collaborator, or client. The science, on the other hand, involves adding frequently searched subject matter keywords into your LinkedIn section titles and skill descriptors. Use LinkedIn to share material related to your subject matter expertise, such as a new blog post, a new book you’re reading, or a key takeaway from an industry conference. Post an activity update at least once a week to stay on the radar of your LinkedIn followers.
In your LinkedIn contact section, connect people to where your subject matter expertise shines in further detail (website, Google profile, etc.). Add keyword descriptors to the web links to maximize search optimization in LinkedIn and Google indexing.
Raines says that Linkedin is a great place to re-purpose underutilized content that reflects your subject matter expertise, such as white papers, point of view documents, media attributions in trade journals, conference presentations, and non-proprietary work Powerpoints. Turn these into downloadable PDFs and share them via LinkedIn apps like SlideShare.
Take advantage of external touch points by adding links to your LinkedIn profile and subject matter content to your e-mail signature, your business card, and your resume.