Unlike most social media sites, LinkedIn's only purpose is to support professional networking. With roughly 35 million users, it's not as big as Facebook or Twitter. But its narrower scope ensures that your presence there will be acknowledged and followed by other business community-oriented users.
LinkedIn is a “gated-access” forum, meaning contact between users requires an existing relationship or an introduction through a third party, so that new connections can be trusted.
Create a Community
When adding a connection you'll be given six different options to explain your relationship.
- Colleague: Click this option for all University of Texas employees.
- Classmate: This option is not relevant to a McCombs-related account.
- We've done business together: Occasionally departments and programs within McCombs will seek help outside the school. Perhaps you've invited a speaker to address your colleagues, or maybe you've hired a freelance professional to assist you on short-term campaigns. This would be a great selection in those situations.
- Friend: Use this for your personal LinkedIn account, but do not use it for your McCombs-related account.
- Other: You probably won't use this option much, if ever.
- I don't know ________ [name of the connection]: Click this option when attempting to forge a new relationship with a professional outside the university who you believe will be a good resource for your department/program.
- On the toolbar at the top of the page, under Contacts, go to Add Connections.
- To add a UT or McCombs employee, click on the Colleagues tab. Here, you can link your profile to anyone else in McCombs that is also on LinkedIn.
- Another tab provides a similar option for McCombs Alumni.
- Based upon your colleagues, alumni, and email contacts, LinkedIn composes a list of "People You May Know," further increasing your network’s size.
- You will be provided new lists of "People You May Know" for each new email or social network account you give LinkedIn access to. For instance, if you allow LinkedIn access to your Gmail contacts, it will provide you with a list of all those contacts with active LinkedIn profiles.
Posts Viewed by Your Connections
Use this forum to post opportunities and achievements in business, community initiatives, job openings, internships, program updates and changes, and company profile pages.
Create a Group
What are Groups?
LinkedIn supports user groups that
- Allow you to quickly and easily share news and information about McCombs and other career-related topics
- Ensure open job positions in your department/program are displayed to a large group of potentially qualified candidates
Take a look at several existing McCombs groups, such as the McCombs MBA Alumni Network, to get a feel for how to set up your own group. Check out the kind of news, notices and discussions typical to those forums.
Create Your Group
- In the LinkedIn toolbar at the top of the page, hover your mouse over the Groups
- A drop-down menu of options will appear. Click on "Create a Group"
- Fill out all the applicable information (description, website, group name, summary, logo, etc.)
- Depending on how large and accessible you want your group to be, you can allow members to invite others to join the group, or pre-approve the membership of all McCombs students, faculty and staff based on their shared email domains (mccombs.utexas.edu).
- You can also choose for the group to be “open." This means the group will appear in search engine results and will support the participation of anyone inside and outside McCombs.
- To limit the types of people who can join, choose the “restricted” option. Members-only groups are recommended for most McCombs users.
Create Your Profile
Go to LinkedIn.com and follow the steps on this page to create a professional profile. You will need a valid email address, which LinkedIn will use to inform your contacts of your new profile. You can choose who this information is sent to.
As you create your profile, you will also be asked if you will like to share this information on Facebook and Twitter, which is an excellent opportunity to triangulate your contacts and build your presence between the three sites, allowing your followers on Twitter and your friends on Facebook to be a part of your LinkedIn network.
When filling out your profile, make sure that your employing organization is the McCombs School of Business, which will allow you to insert yourself into the already-sizable presence the school maintains on this social media site.
You can also coordinate your McCombs department or program page as your primary website, which will appear on your profile as a link for viewers to visit.
Make sure to fill out the summary section of your profile to clearly express the goals, rankings, and constitution of your part of McCombs. The summary is a great, simple way to advertise the school and entice prospective students, faculty, business organizations and individuals.
A profile can be tweaked so that people in your network know why they should contact you:
- Click “Contact (Your Name) For:” which lets you decide which notifications of opportunities you would like to receive, such as “expertise requests” or job inquiries. Space is also provided to write custom advice for users considering contacting you.
**NOTE** Unlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn has both free and “premium” account options. The premium option allows for an enhanced ability to search and few professional profiles, and send messages to people you are not directly connected to.
Schools Using LinkedIn Wisely
What to post
Although LinkedIn will post alerts about your activity (e.g. profile changes, new connections made, groups joined) on your behalf, you'll want to post content for your audience between two and five times a week.
Post things like
- New job openings in your department of program
- New professors or administrative staff hired on
- Outstanding students and their achievements
- Reports of new top rankings for McCombs
- Suggestions for other McCombs groups to follow
- Check in once a day and take place in group conversations
- Interact with connections who post about you or send you messages
- Explore what other schools and businesses are talking about