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As a CPA, social media tends to end up lower on the priority list of to-do items on any given day of the week. While LinkedIn is a powerful tool in the professional world, the nature of accounting can act as a deterrent to actually leveraging and understanding this social media platform. In response to this, our team at Delap has come up with 10 quick tips to help CPAs better navigate and utilize LinkedIn.
Be sure to fine tune your profile to be professional and approachable. LinkedIn has become a common tool for employers and recruiters to find potential job candidates. As a result, your resume lives online for virtually anyone to see. With this in mind, be sure to keep your profile current, professional, and descriptive. Additionally, if possible use a professional photo. To hedge potential, unwanted contact from recruiters, it is recommended to only make your public profile visible to your connections.
Make sure to include a written background summary that also includes bullets that describe your specialties, and skills. By including a summary, you create an opportunity for LinkedIn users to learn about your career passions in a less formal and more personable manner.
Leverage your ability to publish meaningful content by posting with intention. Keep in mind that because the half-life of posts is typically 18 minutes*, your post will inevitably disappear quickly. Keeping this in mind, don't spend endless amounts of time on finding valuable content to post. As a rule of thumb, don't spend more than 10-15 minutes perusing the web for articles you can re-purpose on LinkedIn or other social media outlets.
Posting too often could become an annoyance and you could potentially lose connections, or your current connections may block you from their feed. Make sure to limit the content you post on your LinkedIn feed. Don't be the person who people start to block or hide from their feed. A good rule of thumb, is that for every 1 post on LinkedIn that you publish, try to engage with at least 10 people. For example, if you post an article or blog post, to balance your activity – like, comment, or engage with 10 other people or posts. As far as frequency of posting, at least once a day is recommended. Posting articles over 10 times a day is reaching the danger zone of "flooding the feed".
Try not to use the stock message when connecting with new people, be creative and make it personal! After all, LinkedIn is a social environment. How would you ask someone to connect in person? Any social interaction you have should translate over to any digital social media interaction.
Connect with your college classmates! LinkedIn is an awesome way to keep in touch with peers, connections, classmates, or old bosses. As you mature in your career, so will your peers. Staying connected with them may provide an opportunity for a business opportunity later in your career.
Only endorse people with skills that you know they have obtained professionally. Many LinkedIn users can tend to endorse others for the sole purpose of receiving an endorsement for themselves. You should be endorsing others with the intent of helping them beef up their profiles with legitimate skills they possess, not for your own benefit.
LinkedIn is a dialogue, an interaction, and a platform to establish and cultivate relationships. Be sure to engage with others on LinkedIn, rather than simply posting content. You can achieve this by liking posts, commenting on articles posted by your connections, or congratulating your peers on work anniversaries or promotions.
Use your best judgment on when to update your profile. Your job experience should reflect positions that are relevant to your current job or career path. If you gain a new skill, learn a new software, or recently completed an educational course that relates to your position – add it to your profile! Updating your LinkedIn profile is ever-evolving; there will never be a time where your profile is "complete".
Posting consistent, valuable content on LinkedIn (or any social media outlet), will earn your followers' trust, help increase traffic to your profile, and over time provide you with thought leadership authority. Inconsistent posting on the other hand, takes away from your reliability, and can cause your connections to ignore your posts due to their infrequency. Be aware of how frequently you are posting content, and try to keep it as steady and predictable as possible. It also helps to keep your personal brand highly visible among your connections.
These tips were crafted to allow time for mastering LinkedIn. So, while social media may still be lower on the priority list for CPAs, when your schedule opens up, try to focus on mastering 1-2 of these tips at a time to improve your profile. While it's unnecessary to master these 10 tips all at once, working through this list methodically, will help you better understand and leverage LinkedIn in the long-run.
Co-authored by Jamie Hanel and Anna Barram