How do you use LinkedIn?
Do you just use it as an online cv – fill in and forget – or are you getting business leadsand making new contacts as a result of activity there? If you’re in the first camp, but would like to be in the second, then read on!
First, you need to decide why you want to be on LinkedIn – is it to raise your profile, increase your credibility as an expert, find potential business partners, expand your network of contacts, or to generate leads for your business?
Prioritising these goals will allow you to prioritise your activity here.
First things first, make sure you’ve got a 100% complete profile on LinkedIn, with a professional head and shoulders photo to boot. Make sure the language you use is professional but approachable, and not full of jargon.
A crucial part here is making sure that you have testimonials, especially for the work that you are currently doing. LinkedIn makes it very easy to do this – so just ask clients past and present, colleagues, employers. Etc. The more testimonials you have, the higher your credibility.
Next, you need to make sure that you have lots of connections. Import your contact list from Outlook, connect with people you meet in the business world and the social world too – you never know when that link might be useful to you, or them.
Whatever your priorities, you need to be able to be found on LinkedIn. People search the platform looking for suitable candidates for jobs, projects, freelance work, partnerships, strategic alliances…. And more. If you don’t appear on the first page of search results, you won’t be considered for that opportunity – you will be unseen.
To appear on the first page of results, you need to make sure that your profile is full ofkeywords. These keywords need to be relevant to your business and the location in which you operate. The most important parts of your profile to incorporate them into are – your headline and summary, your present and previous work experience and your specialities.
Having done that you’re now ready to be more active on LinkedIn.
Make sure that you join groups where the people you are hoping to make contact with (potential clients, partners, funding sources) are active. It’s very comfortable being in a group of people in a similar field of work (and this can help with connections at this level, of course and with on-going development) but it won’t bring you into contact with your target connections so readily, in most cases.
Being in a group allows you to get your message across to all the group members without having to be a connection of theirs. Adding useful information to a discussion helps you to demonstrate your knowledge and credibility. Starting a discussion is especially powerful and can result in your name being mentioned in the digest email sent out to all the group members who haven’t unsubscribed to it! If you share valuable advice and ideas, you can really boost your profile. Not only this, but if you post a link back to your blog, when appropriate, this will help to drive traffic back to your website.
Another way to position yourself as an expert is to answer questions that are posted onLinkedIn (‘Answers’, under ‘more’). That way, you are displaying your knowledge and experience to, potentially, an even wider audience than in groups. It is well worth spending some time every week to participate in this, especially if you are keen to raise your profile and be seen as an expert.
So – there you have it – my top tips for getting LinkedIn to work for you! What other advice do you have? Please share in the comments below!