If you are a business person and you do not have a LinkedIn account yet, you may want to consider creating one due to the sheer amount of opportunities available. So with that said, if you are not utilizing LinkedIn to grow your business, then now may be the perfect time to do so.
However, before you do that, you have to learn the LinkedIn guidelines on becoming a member. Most of these are common sense, but it never hurts to spell them out. Feel free to refer back to this article to refresh yourself on what IS allowed and what ISN’T on LinkedIn. You’ll be glad you did.
- Be real: No fake profiles allowed. “Members of LinkedIn need to be real people, who provide real names and accurate information about themselves,” the company states. Just like in the real business world, it’s not OK to give “misleading information about yourself, your qualifications or your work experience, affiliations or achievements” on LinkedIn.
- Be professional: It should be one of those “it goes without saying” things, but better safe than sorry. Being professional means being honest and appropriate in what you post. Much of the value of LinkedIn discussions is the frank and open exchange of ideas and opinions, but this forum is not to be used “to shock or intimidate others,” the company stated. “It is not okay to use graphic images to shock others, and it is not OK to share obscene images or pornography.”
- Be nice: Mom always told you if you can’t say anything good about other people, don’t say anything at all. She was right. LinkedIn should not be used to harm others, or “harass, abuse, or send other unwelcomed communications” – junk mail, spam, chain letters and the like. Do not make threats of violence or property damage on LinkedIn, or attack people “because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, or medical or physical condition”. LinkedIn is not to be used “to intentionally infect others with viruses, worms, or other software that can destroy or interrupt their data or computer devices. Nor is it okay to interfere or disrupt LinkedIn’s service,” the guidelines state. Respect other’s rights and follow the law: Don’t use LinkedIn to commit fraud. The company advises that “before sharing or using someone else’s copyrighted works, trademarks, private information, or trade secrets, please make sure you have the legal right to do so.” Note: Sharing comments and other updates is one of the hallmarks of social media. What is not good is taking other people’s content and passing it off as your own. At the very least, it’s plagiarism.
- Respect LinkedIn’s rights: What are they? You can find all the details in the User Agreement, “but put simply, please don’t use LinkedIn’s services to wrongfully take data or information. It is not okay to suggest that you are affiliated with or endorsed by LinkedIn when you are not, and it is not okay to violate LinkedIn’s intellectual property rights,” according to the company.
With that said, once you understand the guidelines, it is important to take action and present the professional “YOU”
One of the first things that you can immediately do is make an appointment with a portrait photographer. This is one of the best investments you can make that will pay off in many ways, not just on LinkedIn. Be sure to get high-resolutions photos in color and black and white that can be published on paper, as well as images that are already adjusted for newsprint. You will also want images that can be used well online.
Now that you got these guidelines along with 1 simple action item to get your profile on the fast track, you can now create your very own LinkedIn page. But remember – your success in LinkedIn is a direct result of your daily actions. You cannot sign up, build a profile, and then walk away.
Your success on LinkedIn is a result of consistent action taken on a daily basis over time.
Have you taken the time to look over the LinkedIn guidelines and to take a professional photo? I would love to hear from you!