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The Landscapers

I have quite a few friends that are landscaping and landscape design professionals. The pictures of the projects they complete are incredible. Beautiful waterfalls, manicured greenways, native plants, raised gardens and flowerbeds. They really do beautiful work! Their own yards however, well, that's a different story. It seems to be a fairly common story as well; the contractor is often so busy that he doesn't have time to maintain his own home. I've been guilty of this as a marketing professional. I understand the value of Linkedin and I counsel people regularly on how to get started using it effectively, but last night I finally cleaned up my own backyard. The best part was that it only took a few minutes to do and I have already had some benefit this morning. In the spirit of sharing, here are the 5 things I focused on: 1. Use A Recent Headshot- While many people choose not place a photo in their Linkedin profile, I feel this tends to be a mistake. A photo instantly makes you more personable and eases an introduction. It also tells people you're more comfortable with yourself. Also, remember to keep the photo professional and clean. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Also, keep it recent. there's nothing more surprising than meeting someone you expected to be 20 years younger! 2.  Customize your URL It only takes a few minutes and it will make linking your profile that much easier in e-mails. If you haven't done this yet, take a few minutes and do so by clicking on Settings (underneath your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen), Edit Your Public Profile, and you should see the option to change yours on the right hand side. It's always nice to know what you are clicking in an e-mail and customizing your URL will make people more comfortable adding you. 3. Pay attention to your headline This is your best chance to grab someone's attention on Linkedin. You have 5 or 6 words to tell the world what you do and how you relate to their search. If you have a major certification or unique qualification, put it here. If you need ideas, do a quick search on Linkedin using the keywords that apply to you. While some are corny, you will find some incredibly succinct and meaningful ways to advertise your skillset 4. Add your associates Now that you have cleaned up your page, make sure you add your associates and colleagues. As you are researching potential clients and relationships, you'd be surprised how often that someone you know or have done business with will have an existing relationship with your prospect. A cold-call or unsolicited e-mail is often ignored, but a letter of introduction will generally buy you at least a few minutes of time. Often, this is enough to break the ice and start a conversation that can lead to a sale. 5. Join a group and post Doing this will increase your professional visibility and provides a great introduction to people. Who knows what great idea you may learn or who your next client may be? Be selective with this though, you're better off choosing a few and being actively involved in the discussions than joining so many that you remain invisible. These simple changes can go a long way towards helping you increase your effectiveness using Linkedin. The best part is that none of them are incredibly time consuming. Make it a point to spend a few minutes each day and you will rapidly be on your way to networking like a pro!  

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