3 Things You Should Really Be Doing on LinkedIn

Are you using LinkedIn to the best of your—and its—ability? It’s chock full of features, many of which you’re probably not using. Here are three ways to get more visitors and make yourself look more legit as you build your reputation as an expert.

Set up that vanity URL. Establishing your own special LinkedIn address (e.g., www.linkedin.com/in/johndoe) may seem pointless (after all, people are probably going to find you through a search), but it makes your profile look cleaner, more professional, and less generic. The vanity URL is also much easier to write down, so you can scribble it on a napkin after lunch with an important contact or type it into an email to a reporter who’s covering a story you’re qualified to comment on. It takes less than five minutes. Do it.

Optimize optimize optimize. Make sure that your profile is primed for search so you get the visitors you want, and keep their interest once they’re there. Stock your headline, summary, “Interests” section, and “Skills and Expertise” section with the words and phrases that define what you do. Aim for getting some specific, accurate keywords in there without making it spammy and repetitive. Don’t be afraid to throw in one or two of your personal tastes (like, say, cycling or botany) either—it’ll show people that you’re a real human being, and might even encourage people to pick you over someone else in your field.

Get social. LinkedIn is so much more than a static online resume. In recent years it’s become even more a full-fledged social platform. Join and create groups related to your expertise. Use a social reading application to showcase the books you’re reading or the books that are similar to your own. Share links to pieces you’ve written, coverage you’re getting, or compelling content related to what you do. An expert becomes exponentially more credible if people see that he or she is interactive, involved, and constantly learning.