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In the 6th installmenet we'll take a look at engaging your audience on LinkedIn.

In the business world you often don’t get to practice your performance. Impressions made, often can only be changed with a lot of time and extra work. The time to practice and prepare is before you encounter your audience.

On LinkedIn your audience includes existing and potential:

1. Connections
2. Alliance partners
3. Clients
4. Coworkers
5. Business Partners

Your brand is your performance. How are you preparing to give an Oscar worthy performance? Have you spell checked your profile content? Did you include enough information to receive a fair review? Are you doing enough to engage your audience?

LinkedIn provides the tools, but you have to utilize them. If I look at my connections, approximately 35% of the people don’t have a profile photo. Another 10% have a less than optimum picture. If you did not include a picture for privacy reasons, fair enough. But if you just haven’t taken the time or don’t have one to add you have no excuse. Get a picture on your profile today.

What about background information. Have you included enough of your prior work related experiences to round out your profile? People want to know what else you have done that is relevant to how you can help them today.

Are you taking advantage of the LinkedIn applications to further tell your story? If you write a blog, connect it to your profile. If you have a power Point presentation, add it as well. You can also add PDF and Word documents, add what you’re currently reading or recommend others read, and upcoming travel information.

Do you communicate with your audience? A simple way to do so is by updating your “What are you working on now” box. Try to do this 2 or three times a week with relevant information. When you ask or answer a question your network is notified on their home page. The same goes for when you are recommended or provide a recommendation. Each time your name is referenced on your network’s home page is an opportunity to draw traffic to your profile.

Are you a giver or a taker? You should be both. Are you proactive in responding to items in your inbox? Do you use the forward profile function to introduce connections? Do you pass on introduction requests? You should give in the hopes that you will receive.

All of the above is part of your performance…Your online brand. You should take every opportunity to engage your audience. LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool that is nothing more than a paper weight if you don’t pick it up and make it work for you. Take the time to learn how to make it work for you and you may just discover that it can be a productive tool. It could help you create a performance that delivers. Now go break a leg!

Sean Nelson is the author of the Linked Intuition blog and helps business professionals, the Self-Employed and small businesses understand how to effectively use LinkedIn to expand their networking and grow their business.

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