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by Gillian
on April 25, 2013

Although it may seem like the stuffier cousin of the more youthful and exciting social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn should be an integral part of your social media life, particularly if you are a business professional. As with any social network, in order to get the most out of it, you have to actively participate on LinkedIn and the first step is to make sure that you have a complete profile.

You’ll be able to see if your profile is complete by looking at it while you are logged into your account. In the right hand column you will find a circle that is either empty, partly filled in, or full. This corresponds to the different levels of profile completeness. There was a time when LinkedIn used percentages to convey this information, but they’ve switched to the slight cutesier classifications of:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • All-Star

Of course, your ultimate goal should be to reach the level of All-Star, which means your profile is complete. But why is a complete LinkedIn profile even important?

First off, your LinkedIn profile represents you to the professional world. When you have a complete LinkedIn profile, your colleagues, potential clients, and even potential customers will have an easier time finding you – not just on LinkedIn, but also on search engines. This is because social media profiles rank highly on many search engines. When a professional contact is googling you, it would be a lot better for them to find your complete, professional LinkedIn profile come up first than a blog entry about the last beer pong competition you won.

A complete profile also makes it more likely for someone that finds you to actually get in touch with you. According to LinkedIn, it actually makes that 40 times more likely to happen. For instance, if someone was searching for social media specialists and ran across a member of the ManoByte team, they could see from his or her complete profile that they knew what they were doing. This means more offers, more contacts, more lead generation, and a wider network to mine for customers, clients, and mentors. That definitely seems worth the extra effort.

But having a complete LinkedIn profile can directly benefit your business, too. LinkedIn gives you opportunities to link out from your profile to other sites like your Twitter page, your blog, or even your company’s site. This is driving people who are interested in you and your company directly to a place where they can engage with you and hopefully buy from you. This is inbound marketing and it’s great.

Finally, having a complete LinkedIn profile makes it that much easier to leverage all the tools that are available to you on LinkedIn. Participate in groups, send InMail, post updates. With a complete profile, people are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and to engage with you, which is what social media participation is all about.

If you don’t have a complete LinkedIn profile now, it’s time to get one. Add your former employers, your skills, and your education and watch your completion meter climb. Take advantage of the “boring” social network and see what kind of exciting results come your way.

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