Using LinkedIn to Improve Your Reputation
One of the best ways to improve your online reputation is to connect with the people who know you and with whom you have already built relationships. While Facebook may be a more popular social networking site overall, LinkedIn.com is the one you should be using for reputation management. It is geared more towards business relationships between coworkers, vendors, and customers, and can be used not only to connect with other people, but also to project your own individual message.
When first using LinkedIn, you’ll be asked to connect to people that you know whose contact information you already have from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and the like. It’s a good idea to do this. You will also be asked to provide information about your career: the companies where you worked, your job titles and responsibilities. Using LinkedIn is like having an online resume profile, but unlike Monster.com whose main purpose is apparently to sell advertisements for online education, LinkedIn helps you to maintain connections with people when they move from company to company throughout their career. By adding your contacts and work history, the process of contacting your business acquaintances is much easier.
Next, you will want to contact the people whom you know best on LinkedIn and ask them to write recommendations and endorsements for you. You should offer to do the same for them. This is not only a polite thing to do, but it increases the value of your connection to those other people. To write a recommendation, locate a contact under Contacts / Connections and select Engage / Recommend from the Send a message dropdown. Put some time into your recommendation; make sure that you treat your acquaintance with the care and respect that you would like in return. Also, make sure that you check your spelling and grammar. It is important to keep a professional demeanor on LinkedIn, because you may not be able to fix typing mistakes once it has been posted. Endorsements are a new feature on LinkedIn and you will likely be asked to add endorsements as soon as you select your contact from the drop down menu (Contacts / Connections).
I have recently been made aware of a new tool called Referral Key. I tried out this service, which borrows your contacts from LinkedIn and asks you to send them all a bulk email to get them to try Referral Key. DON’T DO THIS. Basically, it’s just another spam from another wannabe social networking site, with no functionality that you couldn’t get from using LinkedIn on its own to touch base with your contacts. Besides, nobody wants spam from yet another social networking site.
LinkedIn boasts over 100 million members, and has recently started earning two million dollars a quarter. That means they should be around for a while. You will likely find the site useful for managing how others see you online, and it never hurts to make a good impression if Googling your name turns up your LinkedIn profile.