If you ask most LinkedIn users what’s most important to them from a personal branding/networking standpoint, they’ll likely mention the profile. After all, your LinkedIn profile is where you make a case for your expertise and talents based on your education, work history and recommendations, right?
Well, the profile is certainly a good start, but it’s just a start. If you truly want to get the most out of LinkedIn, updating your status is the key.
Why shouldn’t you depend upon your profile alone? For your connections to understand what you have to offer based on your profile, several things have to happen:
1. They need to think of you
2. They need to search your name
3. They need to digest the information in your profile in enough detail to understand what you do
Now compare that to the status update. First, status updates are automatically fed to your contacts’ news feed whenever they log on to LinkedIn, so they don’t have to think of you or seek you out. Just as important, since a status update is brief, it’s much easier to consume than a profile, and because status updates encourage you to “show, not tell,” they generally convey more meaning than titles, job descriptions and other information in your profile that many be a little harder to understand.
It’s important to remember that status updates are only effective if they’re used consistently. The key is striving for repeated impressions, day after day, that help your connections understand what you have to offer and how that’s relevant to them and/or their connections. If you’re disciplined about updating your status once a day (and that really is often enough to get traction), and you focus only on your professional life, you’ll stand a much better chance of securing mind share among your connections than if you wait for them to visit your profile.
Now, what might you say in a LinkedIn status update? I’ll share some ideas next week.