LinkedIn For Your Business – 4 Tips To Get Noticed

Are you making the most of LinkedIn?

get_noticed_linkedinLinkedIn is a powerful marketing channel for your business.  It has almost 280 million worldwide users,  with 2 new members joining every second.  In general, users are professionals and although LinkedIn is classified as a social network, it’s not a place to chat about your night out at the pub, nor where you’d expect to connect with friends and relatives.

I go to a lot of business networking events and when I chat with people about social media,  nearly everyone says they use LinkedIn, whereas only a small percentage say they’re regular users of other social networks. However,  are they using LinkedIn to its maximum potential? Not in the majority of cases!  So here are my top tips to get more value from LinkedIn for your business.

1.  Your LinkedIn Profile

I can’t emphasise the importance of a fully completed profile enough.  This is true for any social network but even more so for LinkedIn.  Your profile is a valuable piece of internet real estate –  make sure you take full advantage.

LinkedIn headline

 

  • Profile picture:  Use a clear head shot of yourself – not a logo or worse still, no image.  Your personal profile is about YOU as a business owner or company employee so people want to see YOU.  I’d  go so far as to say it’s more or less essential to get professional photos taken – for a small investment of your time and money, you will get far better results than trying to take a “selfie” or cropping a holiday shot.    If you go to business networking groups you’ll almost certainly come across photographers who specialise in this type of portrait – they know exactly what is required and will do the best job for you.
  • Contact information:  Add your email address, telephone number (if you wish), and up to 3 websites.  Note that the websites can include other social networks e.g. your Twitter profile or Facebook page.  Make sure to customise the “anchor text”  – preferably using relevant keywords –  t0 say something other than “Your Website”.   It’s also advisable to customise your LinkedIn profile URL – the default contains a long string of numbers – not very user-friendly.
  • Your professional headline:  You have 120 characters to describe yourself / your business – it’s important to make this client-focussed.  In other words, don’t just list your products / services and above all, DO NOT describe yourself as “Owner” or “Director”.  You don’t even need to mention your business name here,  Make it all about the value you offer to potential clients,  or employers if you’re searching for a job.   Make sure you include relevant keywords;  Google pays a lot of attention to LinkedIn profiles.   If you really want to make your headline stand out, consider using special characters such as asterisks, arrows etc.  (see mine above – feel free to copy the asterisks!)
  • Your summary:  Here you have 2000 characters to play with – this is your chance to really sell your skills, products and services.  Remember to focus on the benefits you can bring to potential clients or employers rather than the actual “nuts and bolts” of your business.  It could also be useful to mention the specific types of client you prefer to work with. Write in the first person and draft your copy first in Word (or other word processing software) to get the maximum out of the allotted character count.  Tweak your summary from time to time as you add new skills, products and services.   You  also have the option to add rich media (images, video, SlideShare presentations) in your summary –  make sure you take advantage of this.
  • Experience:  In this section you can showcase your current and past work experience,  again using relevant keywords.   It’s a good idea to use bullet points to list projects you’ve worked on as well as your skills.  Remember that people skim-read on the web so avoid using lengthy sentences and paragraphs. Again, you can add rich media here.
  • Education:  Complete as fully as you wish –  certainly with all relevant degrees, qualifications and training that you have undertaken.
  • Skills:  In this section you can add relevant skills yourself (LinkedIn has an extensive list).  Your connections may also give you endorsements for skills they consider you to have  – check these carefully as some of them may not be relevant at all!
  • Advice for Contacting:   Often left blank, but important as another place to include a call to action and let people know the type of client you like to work with.
  • Recommendations:  These are testimonials given by past clients or employers and differ from endorsements (the latter just require a mouse click) in that the giver must either write them personally, or agree to your wording.  Your profile cannot be displayed as “complete” until you have at least 3 recommendations.

 

2.  Your Connections

One of 4Networking‘s mottos is “every connection has value” and this is also very true of LinkedIn!  My advice would be to keep an open mind about connections –  don’t limit yourself to people you have met in person, but always check the profiles of those who ask you to connect.  Unfortunately there are spammers on LinkedIn, just as there are everywhere on the internet. The maximum number of connections one can have on LinkedIn is 30,000 and your initial goal should be to reach 500 (beyond that, the actual number is not displayed unless you upgrade to a Professional account).

Here’s a worthwhile tip, and it’s something that 99% of LinkedIn users don’t do.  Always personalise your connection requests  (NB – you can’t do this from a mobile device). The default message is “I’d like to connect with you” or “I’d like to add you to my professional network”.  Delete that and say in your own words why you’d like to connect with that person.   However, if you receive a standardised connection request, don’t ignore it – decide whether you do want to connect, and if so, reply to the person with a personalised message.  You could actually ask them why they were interested in connecting and if there’s anything you could help them with.   Always go the extra mile!

You also have a mini- CRM system within LinkedIn, enabling you to to tag your connections and filter them by these tags, or by company, location, title etc.   Remember to nurture your connections!

3.  Groups

If you haven’t explored LinkedIn groups, now’s the time to do so.  There are thousands of groups covering every possible area of professional interest.  If you can’t find any that appeal to you,  why not start your own?  Active participation in groups is a great way of raising your profile and positioning yourself as an expert – although do not be tempted to jump straight in and promote your business.  Instead, join in with discussions, answer questions, and if you’ve written a relevant article, or created a helpful video, offer a link.  Always provide value and avoid the hard sell.

4. Regular Updates

Yes, you need to maintain a regular level of activity on LinkedIn, just as with any other social network.  That means posting helpful, relevant information every day (including evenings and weekends).  80-90% of this should be “OPC” (other people’s content).  Find relevant blogs and keep an eye on what’s posted – add these links to your LinkedIn status,  or post to specific groups.   I use Feedly to collect and categorise blogs relevant to my areas of interest, so that I can find useful links very quickly.   Most blogs these days include links to share on LinkedIn, making the process very easy.  It’s even better if you add your own comments – tell people why you think the article is useful, ask for their thoughts etc.   Of course, you should also add links to your own blogs and articles whenever they are published.  I’ve found that posting in specific groups can be very beneficial.


 

What other LinkedIn tips would you add? Let me know in the comments.  If you found this post useful, please share it on LinkedIn (and your other social networks)

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I love helping businesses to get the best from their online marketing. Please contact me if you need further advice on optimising your profile and using LinkedIn for your business. Why not say hello on my Facebook page too? 

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