It can be easy to forget about LinkedIn and focus on the more mainstream social media channels, but this platform is ideal for connecting and sharing ideas with like-minded colleagues and even potential business partners in the timeshare industry.

LinkedIn is also an essential part of the personal brand building that you should be encouraging your resort staff to work on. Let’s take a look at some key steps you should go through to get your profile up to speed and start building those connections.

1. Upload a professional profile picture

Your profile photo is literally you at a glance. Make sure that it reflects your professionalism and the image you want to project. Consider investing in a professional photographer who knows how to bring out the best in you. But whatever you do, make sure you upload a good quality picture – no blurry mobile images please.

For that extra branding of your resort, organise a staff photo shoot and take pictures of your team with your resort or company’s logo in the background.

2. Customise your LinkedIn profile URL

Set up a personalised URL for your LinkedIn profile and make yourself much more memorable and easy to find. It just takes a few seconds to do so. Click on ‘Profile’ in the menu at the top of the LinkedIn site and then select ‘Edit Profile’. Look for your profile URL and you should see an ‘Edit’ link or a gear symbol that you can click on to set a custom URL. It is best to use your name and surname as your custom URL, or possibly a nickname that is part of your personal brand.

3. Make sure your timeshare resort is listed as your workplace

This one might sound obvious, but it is all too common for people to forget to update their current job info when in the thick of getting settled into a new job. Make sure that you and your staff list your current positions and keep them updated whenever anyone moves department or gets a promotion.

4. Connect with other staff at your resort and with the people you do business with regularly

LinkedIn’s power obviously resides in being connected to other professionals in your sphere. Start by connecting with your colleagues and also reach out to people you have worked with or done business with in the past.

As a professional social network, LinkedIn is ideal for keeping in touch with people who are more of professional acquaintances than personal friends. So, while you probably won’t feel comfortable adding someone you just met at a conference to your Facebook, people are much more open to hooking up on LinkedIn because there isn’t that automatic sharing of your whole life that is part of the deal.

5. Give recommendations to people you work or do business with and ask them to return the favour

One of the best things about LinkedIn is the recommendation system. It goes without saying that testimonials from clients and colleagues are a vital part of building your personal brand and also the reputation of your timeshare resort.

When someone else is singing your praises, it obviously counts so much more than if you were to say the same thing about yourself. And LinkedIn does a great job of linking the recommendations you give and get with real-life professional identities that make them much more credible.

Build up your recommendation portfolio by taking the first step and writing testimonials for colleagues and other people you do business with. Bring out the best in them while making sure to stay honest and truthful – remember that you’re backing up what you say with your reputation. Once that’s done, you can gently ask them to do likewise and you’ll find most people will be very happy to oblige.

And remember that writing recommendations for other people is also a great way to raise your own visibility by showing up on their LinkedIn profile pages.

6. Post interesting content to your LinkedIn profile

No, not your cats or your children please. Those go on Facebook, of course. However LinkedIn is the place to share all kinds of articles and content related to your work that your colleagues and business contacts will find interesting and relevant.

Post great content about your resort and the timeshare industry in general (without overdoing it!) and also about your local area and interesting events going on. Keep it varied, and be sure to post a mix of photos, videos, articles and other content. Keep your profile changing regularly to make sure you stay visible.

7. Promote your LinkedIn profile on other social media and in your email signature

Your different social media accounts don’t exist in isolation, of course, and cross-promoting them is an effective way to raise your online visibility. List your custom LinkedIn URL under your contact info on Facebook and other social media (usually in the section about your websites), so that people can easily access your professional info.

8. Join LinkedIn groups that match your interests

Joining groups based on your professional interests is an excellent way to connect with like-minded people and make new contacts in the timeshare and tourism industries. Keep up to date with what people are saying and contribute to the discussion too. You’ll find plenty of tourism and travel groups to choose from, including the RDO Digital group about using social media and digital marketing to promote timeshare.

With all of that done, you’ll be off to a great start. The next step is to continue to be active on LinkedIn and keep up the effort of connecting with new people and growing your network, posting relevant content, engaging with other people’s posts and actively asking for recommendations from your contacts.

LinkedIn is the largest professional social network with over 400 million users in over 200 countries and drives more traffic to B2B blogs than Twitter, Facebook and Google+ combined. This social network continues to grow steadily and is a great way to promote a your timeshare resort and also your own personal brand.

As we like to say, if you’re not LinkedIn, you’re missing out!