Facing up to Professional Networking: How to get started on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social network like many others, but what makes it different is that it is a professional networking site, designed to help people develop industry connections, share their expertise, find jobs, and take part in meaningful professional conversations. If you are new to LinkedIn and not sure how to get started, this quick guide will help you navigate the platform and make the first steps into your professional networking journey online.
Using social media is a wonderful way to network and build connections with people. As health care professionals, chiropractors occupy a trusted status within communities. Therefore, ensuring professional behaviour at all times, including on social media, upholds and protects the reputation of and confidence in, the chiropractic profession and justifies patient trust*. There are more than eight million clinicians and healthcare professionals registered on LinkedIn, along with 600,000 institutional investors**. As the largest professional network on the internet, having a strong presence on LinkedIn presents the opportunity to highlight your professional status, not only to the chiropractic community, but also in the wider healthcare landscape, helping to advance your professional reputation online.
Despite its emphasis on professional networking, LinkedIn resembles Facebook in a lot of ways in terms of functionality. For example, making friends (LinkedIn Connections), writing posts, sharing and liking content, following pages or joining groups, as well as instant messaging, are all features that you might be familiar with from Facebook.
So, how do you get started? Here is everything you need to know to begin your professional LinkedIn journey.
LinkedIn’s Main Features
- Home: Just like on Facebook, the Home tab is the first thing that appears after you log in and it shows the most recent posts from your connections ( friends) and from company pages that you are following.
- My Network: Here you can find a list of all your connections to date, as well as invitations that you have received from professionals wanting to connect with you. In this section you can also see all the pages that you have followed and the groups you have become a member of.
- Jobs: Thousands of jobs are posted on LinkedIn every single day and by clicking on this tab you can search and apply for jobs, get more information about the positions and companies advertising these positions, as well as advertise open positions at your own clinic.
- Messaging: Just like Facebook messenger, through this tab you can send private messages to anybody in your network, as well as create group conversations with a number of your connections.
- Notifications: A very typical feature of many social media platforms, this tab shows you alerts for various activities in your network that involve you or your connections, such as new articles being published, or your articles being liked and/or shared.
- Me: This is the equivalent to your Facebook Profile tab, leading you to your personal LinkedIn page which resembles a summary CV, showcasing your work experience, education, thought pieces on your specific area of expertise, and recommendations from existing and former colleagues.
Now that you know more about the most essential features, it’s time for us to talk you through some essential steps to get started on LinkedIn:
- Create your profile: Your LinkedIn profile is your “professional landing page for you to manage your own, personal brand”. LinkedIn profiles have five stages of strength: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert, and All Star. Building a strong profile shows your experience and expertise in more detail and differentiates you from the crowd. Follow these nine easy steps to build a compelling All Star LinkedIn Profile.
- Build your network: Your professional network is made up of professionals that you personally know, as well as connections that you make as you become more active on the platform. It is a good idea to start building your network by connecting to your family, past or current classmates and co-workers to begin with and expand from there. Watch this short video explaining how to find people you may know on LinkedIn. You can also follow people and companies by searching for them in the search box or, if you need some inspiration, by visiting the Follow the fresh perspectives page which displays recommended sources to follow.
- Participate in professional conversations: This is a great way for you to share your perspective on relevant issues or trends, gather important insights and establish your expertise with professionals in your industry. Being visible to your network and establishing a strong presence leads to more opportunities as your network is more likely to contact you, rather than a professional that they have never heard from, when new opportunities arise. It is easy to participate in conversations; you can like and comment on posts and articles or you can create or join LinkedIn Groups to connect with members who share the same interests as you.
- Post content: You can do this by creating individual posts that will appear on your dashboard or under your Me tab, or create longer articles which are essentially blog posts with more information and visuals. Read this article to find out how to create engaging LinkedIn articles that people will read and share. And most of all, enjoy the process.
LinkedIn might seem difficult to navigate at first, but if you are a Facebook user, then you are more familiar with it than you know. If you are new to social media, we highly recommend watching the BCA Session delivered by BCA Member Rosie Piercy who will expertly take you through the why and how of using social media as a clinician, showcasing its role as an extension of your ‘brand’, to benefit the professional clinical services you offer.
* Source – The GCC Code
Parts of this article have been adapted from the below sources: