In our previous article, we took a look at the 4 compelling reasons why businesses and staff working for a business or organisation cannot afford to ignore LinkedIn. You can read this article here.
Very simply, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with current figures at 313 million users. Sadly, in Australia, we seem to be very slow to take on board the opportunities that are available to businesses. Which is exactly why this is a great opportunity for businesses, their staff, consultants, coaches and everyone else who seize this opportunity right now.
Most people think that LinkedIn is a fancy place to place your resume to get seen by Recruiters. And, they are right.
But more importantly, LinkedIn offers easy to access connections that can help you build your career and business, IF you know how to find them.
Optimising for LinkedIn
There’s a simple 2-step process to getting started:
- Develop Your LinkedIn Profile
- What most people don’t realise is just how important it is to do justice to the profile that LinkedIn offers. And that is just the beginning.
- Market Yourself and Your Business/Organisation
- Once you have optimised your profile, the next important step is to build your network to open up opportunities for both you and your business or organisation.
In this article we will be looking at:
- 10 Ways to Optimise Your Professional Profile to get you noticed
- 4 Ways to Build Your Network to Market Yourself and Your Company
How do you go about Optimising LinkedIn?
It all starts with your professional profile. LinkedIn is continuously updating the functionality and features in the Professional Profile to allow you add your personal style and build your credibility with your networks.
There are so many tips and techniques to share, that it would be very difficult to include it in just one article. So, I have take the most obvious, easiest and most effective to share with you today.
I do want to encourage readers who are wary of LinkedIn and sharing their information with others. I have included 6 considerations to set the record straight:
LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. Its a business platform for business professionals.
LinkedIn is a networking opportunity on steroids. By all means choose who you do and don’t want to connect with, but ask yourself: “Would you turn away from someone who has held out their hand to shake yours in the real world?” Get to know people before making judgments about them.
LinkedIn is the start of a relationship that will need to consummated with a face to face meeting for the relationship to develop and grow. In that respect, I don’t believe Social Networks replace eyeball to eyeball interaction
If you are going to be on LinkedIn in a half-hearted way, why get involved in the first place?
What gets measured, get’s managed: have a specific business purpose for using LinkedIn or you are wasting valuable time and effort
Make sure you have a strategy and process for accepting and reaching out to your network and prospective connections or your random efforts will create random results
Develop Your Professional Profile
10 Ways to Optimise Your Professional Profile
- Complete your Profile 100%: you must first establish a foundation in order to begin building your influence
- Make Sure You Have A Current, Professional Image. You are 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have an image.
- Use Keywords. Think about what you want to be known for and identify keywords to support this. Then, include these keywords throughout your portfolio.
** Key Consideration: you have to be real in how you do this. People viewing your profile want to get a sense of the real you. One of my colleagues commented to me the other day on a recent update I had made to my summary that when they read it, they could hear me talking to them. Because I write like I speak. I hope that makes sense? Be real AND make sure you include your keywords in a way that is not spammy.
- Customise Your Public URL. It looks so much more professional to have your name in the LinkedIn url link than to have the LinkedIn automated url link which includes numbers and letters that don’t match your brand. Make it easy for people to find you.
- Customise Your Website Links. LinkedIn automatically allows you to put in your website details. And, it also allows you to customise these to include free resources, courses, more information on your website that you want your viewers to click through to. So, use this function!
- A Headline with your Specialisation and that includes the benefits/results of working with you/your organisation (120 characters)
- A Summary that Sizzles! Your summary should read as an invitation to learn more about how you help your customers or the organisation you work in. Remember, you are the brand for your company. Before people think of your company, they automatically think of the people who work in your company. Relationships rule in the social marketing age.
- Customise your Current Positions as Website Links. This is a great way to get extra exposure for your website, which after all is the key to social media efforts
- Show Off Your Best Assets:
- Ensure you update your endorsements to list what you want to be known as an expert in. LinkedIn currently creates this list for you. You can change it though and I strongly recommend you do!
- Get recommendations from your clients, peers, managers and anyone else you work or have worked with – this provides social proof. NB: you need at least 3 recommendations for LinkedIn to label your profile as complete
10. Make use of the Image Area in each of the summary and expertise sections to include videos, brochures, awards. In fact, any marketing or relevant material that showcases you, your company and how you help your target market / organisation. Content must be hosted by LinkedIn or one of the approved services (Some examples include: YouTube, Pinterest, SlideShare, Spotify, TED etc)
Marketing Yourself and Your Company on LinkedIn
4 Steps on How to Build your Network
- Identify your ideal connection or customer
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- Where do they hang out?
- Set Goals for Using LinkedIn
- Every connection needs to be linked to your goals and objectives in business both now and in the future
- What metrics will you use?
- How will you evaluate these?
- How can You add Value?
- Before you start emailing marketing to your contacts, think of a few ways you could add value to them. For example it may be that within your connections there are about 100 accountants of whom you have recently connected and would like to potentially partner with. Your first email could be a sending a link to a recent article you read/noticed in SMH. This shows you were thinking of him/her. Your second email could be a FREE Ebook you have found that helps accountants generate more business etc.
- Segment your Connections
- All new connections are automatically tagged under a folder which LinkedIn calls: Untagged. In order for you to reach any level of success have to personalize your communication. If you cannot properly assess who is who quickly within the tags its difficult to do this. Make sure you review every connection you have in the untagged folder and re-tag them accordingly.
- Leverage Your Connections
- The worst things you could be doing:
i. Randomly connecting
ii. Not thanking new connections when you have connected
iii. Clicking on “connect” without a personal message
iv. Not segmenting your connections
- Here’s what you should be doing:
i. Identify who you want to connect with and then:
- Find a shared second-degree connection
- Connect through a shared group
ii. Join groups and post relevant and helpful articles
iii. Follow your contacts and networks interactions, posts and other…..
And in closing…
LinkedIn is a great way to help you start your online journey as a business professional. Make sure you have set yourself up properly and this will help you build your brand tremendously.
Aim to spend 3 – 5 hours of time implementing the steps I have shown you and be sure to let me know how you go in the comments section below!
Until next time,
I will see you at the top!
PS: Ok, so now you know what you should be doing, let’s rate your LinkedIn efforts to date:
On a scale of 1 – 10 (1= poor, 10 = I’m “styling” man!) how does your Professional Profile on LinkedIn rank?
Drop us a line in the comments section below to let us know your top tips for optimising LinkedIn for Business