Build Your Credibility on LinkedIn

Online Credibility – why is it important
Online credibility is the perception your customers, potential customers, business / collaboration partners get when they encounter you online e.g. visit your blog, read your comments online, read your profile, etc.

Your online credibility is an increasingly important way of showcasing your specialised knowledge and expertise. Anyone can start a blog or start participating in forums and as more people engage with the social web, differentiating yourself will become imperative.

We live in a world where we expect people to be qualified on what they write about – but you don’t need qualifications in the social web. So your online credibility is the only evidence of your expertise. Even if you have qualifications, people will use the all of the information about you online to draw conclusions about your credibility. Every bit of information about you on the internet is important.


Build Your Credibility on Linkedin

A new member joined LinkedIn every second and it is becoming an essential place to build your online e-portfolio and credibility. In January 2009 there was a 22% increase in visitors to LinkedIn, which was primarily due to people understanding the need for networking and job hunting during a recession.

Most people understand the basics to setting up the profile, but beyond that they do not understand the potential of how they can use this online networking to:

  • Increase traffic to their website
  • Become an online expert within your niche
  • Build trust with existing & potential customers
  • Build rapport with your existing network

In this post I will look beyond the basics and look at how you can invest your time to build your reputation and credibility on Linkedin. You can download this post as a document from Google Docs.

  • Setting up Your Profile
  • Do not set up dummy accounts on false names
  • Accounts with few people linked to are considered less influential
  • Needs to be real, needs to reflect your personality and who you are
  • Add a picture
  • Make sure it is a professional looking picture
  • Make sure it’s a head shot and you are looking at the camera
  • You need to make an impact with the photo
  • Headline – is your personal brand tag line
  • Focus it around your niche and occupation
  • E.g. it could be very main stream: Charlotte Britton, Online Marketing Expert or
  • Enticing and engaging: Helping you make the most of the Social Web
  • You need to draw people in to look at your profile
  • Work experience
  • Put in each role
  • Summarise the impact you made there
  • Keep it concise, do not waffle
  • Summary
  • This is your elevator pitch
  • What looking to do, what you are about, your unique selling points
  • Include keywords in content
  • Increase your chances of getting the content indexed by Google
  • Content will then get shown on search phrases around – your name and company
  • Boosting your web presence
  • Making you look more influential
  • Remember how people read online
  • Make it short and snappy
  • Summarise, use bullet points
  • Distinguish yourself from the crowd
  • Add websites that showcase your abilities
  • As you get more recommendations, answer more questions and build your network, you will gain more credibility
  • Customise Contact Settings
  • Let people know what you are looking out for on LinkedIn
  • Build Your Network
  • Reflect your offline network online
  • Upload your contacts from your email client (AOL, Gmail or Outlook etc)
  • If you are going to an event
  • Research the people prior to going (if you have the delegate list before hand
  • After a networking event
  • Do not link to all the people that attended the event, as that would be considered spamming people and appear aggressive
  • Only link to the people you personally met or will be doing business with
  • Personalise each invitation
  • As you would with any networking, invest the time in personalising the introduction
  • People with too many connections
  • How can anyone know so many of people?
  • People with a huge network could be considered a ‘social butterfly’
  • Unless they hold a position where they may meet a lot of people, too may contacts could lead to a drop in credibility
  • Only link to the people that are influential, potential customers / suppliers or people that you know
  • Try not to link with the people just to increase numbers
  • Do not link to people to the people you met at a job interview or pitch
  • If you do not get the job, you have linked up un-necessarily
  • Looks like you are stalking them
  • Is inappropriate as you may appear to be attempting to influence their decision
  • Add in other Applications
  • Find the Application Directory
  • There are other applications you may find applicable
  • The main ones listed are below
  • Integrate your blog using the Blog Link
  • Ensure you blog regularly
  • Add commentary on topical subjects
  • This can prove that you understand your niche and your knowledge
  • Twitter
  • Link to your Twitter account under the profile
  • Integrate the twitter feed, which will update your status with your tweets
  • Slideshare
  • Upload white papers / power points which prove your knowledge to Slideshare
  • Then link up your slide share account with LinkedIn
  • Then people reading your profile can browse the documents
  • Further building your credibility
  • Events
  • If you run any events you may wish to add on the events application which will enable you to set up and promote your events
  • Show which events you are attending
  • Promote your events to your network
  • Recommendations
  • Think wisely on this as it’s linked to your credibility
  • Only recommend people you know well and would be happy to work with yourself
  • Try not to reciprocal recommend as this will show up on the weekly Linkedin updates and will lose credibility
  • Be sincere, authentic and real
  • Anything too gushy and over the top will appear insincere
  • Linked In Answers
  • Was launched in February 2007
  • Enables users to ask and answer questions
  • Questions are open for 7 days prior to closing
  • The person who has asked the question can close the question early
  • Answer questions before you start asking questions
  • Sub categories within each main category
  • Find one which reflects your skill set
  • Or where you potential customers might reside
  • Do not go for the obvious choices which are crowded with your competitors
  • Pull Categories RSS into you RSS reader
  • Such as feedburner or Google reader
  • This means you don’t have to login every time you want to review the questions
  • Makes participating more time effective
  • Answering Questions
  • Establish and grow your personal brand
  • Only answer questions that are pertinent to your niche and knowledge base
  • Don’t make up an answer
  • Answer questions on a regular basis, infrequent participating does not look like you are committed
  • Answer in a timely fashion
  • If your opinion goes against the majority of answers, ensure you back it up with evidence / links to other people who think the same
  • Do not troll other people in the group (your response invokes an emotional response from the person who asked the question or disruptive behaviour)
  • Becoming an expert
  • Share more than you take
  • Explicit selling, marketing and self promotion can be flagged by anyone, be careful
  • Demonstrate you are an expert, give the reader a compelling reason to view your profile
  • When you become an expert you get a badge on your profile by Linkedin
  • It takes time, building your credibility is not going to happen in a week
  • Questions are indexed by Google
  • Great opportunity to increase web / brand presence
  • Boost traffic to website and profile
  • Asking Questions
  • Follow Linkedin’s etiquette on answering questions
  • Linkedin FAQs
  • You can email question to 200 of your 1st degree contacts
  • Free members can ask 10 questions per month
  • Should be 1 question on 1 subject
  • Ask questions that will be of value to others
  • If answers go off topic you can close early
  • Personally thank people who take the time to answer your question (you’d do it in the real world!)
  • Asking 1 question per month is good for building credibility
  • Groups
  • Search for groups where you can be grow to be an expert
  • Find one which reflects your skill set
  • Or where you potential customers might reside
  • Do not go for the obvious choices which are crowded with your competitors
  • Same principles as Asking / Answering Questions apply
  • Add company profile page
  • Current employees can add page
  • will need to provide registered company own email address which will be validated
  • Click on companies found on top bar of navigation
  • optimise so will be found in search engines

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