An important industry event is coming up next week. You registered months ago, and everyone you know is going to be there. You know that several individuals you’d like to do business with are attending, and you’re hoping to get introduced to them by people you know.

You’re looking forward to visiting the trade show so you can get information on companies, products, and services that are of interest to you.

Several great round-table discussions are scheduled, which you plan on attending so you can talk shop with other leaders in your field.

You know the press will be there, and it’s great for your reputation to be seen as a thought leader at these sessions. Everything you gain from events like this, LinkedIn provides every day.

That assertion comes from Veronica Fielding and her cohorts at Digital Brand Expressions, a Kingston-based company, publishers of a $9.95 digital book, “The Jump Start Social Media Guide to Social Media for Professionals” at www.JumpStartSocialMedia.com.

Billed as a resource for business professionals who want to utilize social media but don’t have a lot of time to invest in learning how to get set up and utilize social media websites, the guide offers step-by-step instructions for getting started on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter and gives a comprehensive overview of each of these three popular social networking sites.

The E-book price includes a year’s worth of updates. Other options, such as webinars and personal consultations, are available. Fielding is on a social media panel at the Princeton Chamber’s trade fair on Tuesday, September 29, at 9:30 a.m. at the Westin. Cost $20. Call 609-942-1776 or www. princetonchamber.org.

Other panelists include Melissa Klepacki from Princeton Scoop, and Marion Reinson of To the Point Communications.

A panel discussion will be moderated by Matt Dawson of Image Cog.

“Social media today is where the Internet was in 1995,” says Fielding. A 1981 graduate of Rider, she had spent nine years in interactive publishing at Dow Jones and left to co-found a multimedia firm.

“In April of that year the Internet opened up to consumers, and forward-looking companies had their websites up by the end of the year.

“By 1998 and 1999, you were left behind if you didn’t have a website. Now a lot of companies are questioning and getting left behind,” she said. “We are trying to help people who didn’t grow up with the Internet get up to speed.”

LinkedIn, she writes, was created with businesspeople in mind and is the most popular social media community for business professionals. “It is one of the first places recruiters go to find talent for their companies.”

Facebook, though it began as casual networking, is fast becoming a business tool for personal branding and professional networking.

Twitter, a micro-blogging service, is not, as you would think, the domain of the teenagers, even though it began as a way for family and friends to communicate. Now teens text, and business people “tweet” for professional networking and human resource recruiting.

Fielding’s LinkedIn tutelage is particularly helpful to job hunters. Here is an excerpt from the LinkedIn section:

On LinkedIn, your personal summary is similar to the “objective” line of your resume. It should be short, easy to read, and should be used to position yourself according to your personal branding strategy without sounding overly self promotional. Personal summaries are always written in the first person and should be limited to 3-4 paragraphs, max. Do not use formatting to attempt to stand out (all caps, groups of special characters like “***”, etc.). Bulleted lists, however, are fine.

Some great personal summaries follow this format.

1). A brief explanation of what you do for a living, your area of expertise, or how you fit into your industry.

2). Some choice highlights from your professional career.

3). A short paragraph or sentence detailing the types of opportunities you are looking for (a new job position, new connections within your industry, etc.)

Use keywords appropriate for your industry or area of expertise throughout your summary. Ensure that the first sentence of each paragraph is a stand-alone snippet that succinctly showcases your professional value — all following sentences should support this statement.

Formatting your summary in this way will allow even those profile viewers who are skimming through your content to pick up on your carefully crafted messaging.

Consider exactly who your target audience is — who do you hope will be viewing your profile and reading this content?

When you have finished writing your personal summary, move on to your “specialties.” These are meant to be formatted as a list of keywords relevant to your experience and areas of expertise, separated by commas.

Think of the types of opportunities and/or connections you are looking for. Then think of the people who you want to find you in order to facilitate these opportunities. If these people are logging in to LinkedIn and searching for someone who does what you do, what types of keywords would they enter into the search box to find you?

Leave adjectives out of this section. Keep your keyword list short and highly targeted.

Things like “management,” “marketing,” “sales,” “client services,” etc., will not do enough to differentiate you, and anyone searching with those keywords will quickly find that too many people come up in search results to be able to view them all, and so most searchers will end up using more targeted keywords.

Warns Fielding: “It’s better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing.”

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