So, here’s a funny story. I recently started working with a long-time academic to build her profile on social media and the Internet in general. You are your brand, and all that. Now, I’m talking looong-time academic – multiple degrees, including at least one PhD, Ivy League, director of non-profit centers, leader on significant sociological research studies, deliverer of good works. The research that she and her team conduct is highly relevant to understanding how we can live better in today’s world. And, mind you, it’s part of their mission to share the message of the work they are doing. But, outside of their direct constituents and other researchers in the same space, her work does not get a lot of visibility … sadly.
Wait, this was going to be a funny story. Well, I started with an assessment of her social media presence. I reviewed her LinkedIn profile. The result? Professor, you are going to get a failing grade. No photo, no headline, no connections, no posts, no activity whatsoever. I get it. She’s incredibly busy. Who has time for the tripe of spending time on social sites plugging in bio bits. I then proposed that she send me her login information and I would get into the profile and very quickly craft the key items to create her presence on LinkedIn.
Here’s the funny part: “Great,” she says. “But I haven’t logged in to that since I opened the LinkedIn account years ago!” LOL! Now, that is not derisive laughter. By no means. It is optimistic, in the sense that I can fix this. And I shouldn’t reveal this, but it won’t take much. This is a problem that has just been waiting for the solution that already exists, and it’s this:
5 Steps to Uplevel Your LinkedIn Profile
- Upload a high-resolution photo to your LinkedIn profile
- Under “Headline,” describe yourself in 1-3 sentences. Not your job title – write what you bring or believe. Use strong verbs and unique adjectives.
- Synch your email list so that you can connect with people you already know
- Then go “like” some posts by others you admire; maybe comment, if you’re feeling brave
- Finally (for Stage 1) write your very own post! Just a couple of sentences about something you’re working on, have done, are interested in, and make sure to link to something – your website, a social media profile, an article or organization.
See how easy that was. Why do it, you ask? (You’re an academic, too, aren’t you?) Many people in the corporate world already know the secret about LinkedIn connections. It’s not about promoting yourself to get a job if you find yourself in transition. It’s about building a community of partners, colleagues, clients, constituents, and — crucial to non-profits — potential donors. People can’t support your work if they don’t know about it.
Here’s your homework: review your LinkedIn profile. If you need help, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Class adjourned.