More and more organizations and business leaders have embraced social media as a key component of their business strategy. Among the main social networks, LinkedIn has become the most powerful tool for connecting professionals worldwide. Its member base has grown from 4,500 on its first month in 2003 to over 364 million in 2015, at a current rate of two new members a second.
How do you make the most of this valuable online channel? Read on for tips on making LinkedIn work for you.
Improve Your LinkedIn Marketing Today
1) Know what you need out of LinkedIn.
After signing up, most folks on LinkedIn connect with those in their own personal and professional networks only. Others treat LinkedIn exclusively as their online resume, staying largely inactive unless they are in between jobs.
While LinkedIn is widely used for recruitment and networking, there are certainly better ways to leverage your account on the world’s leading professional network.
Keep up with the latest news through your LinkedIn feed by following companies and influencers in your industry. Join groups to add sales leads for your product or service. Seeking a mentor? Tracking sources for a business story? Starting a fundraising drive for your non-profit or seeking capital for your start-up? Use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search tools to identify potential mentors, sources, donors and investors.
LinkedIn even offers Premium packages for various business needs: Job Seeker, Business Plus, Sales Navigator Professional and Recruiter Lite. All four packages have features that help professionals make the most of LinkedIn. Examples of these are credits for their direct messaging service InMail, more specific search filters, unlimited access to profiles, and detailed insights on your profile activity.
2) Show, don’t tell.
We’ve been taught from childhood not to talk to strangers. We carry this into adulthood and even in professional relationships, since no one wants to deal with someone they can’t see or don’t know.
More than any other social network, LinkedIn is all about building trust and credibility. The best way to do this is to keep your personal and company profiles complete and updated.
Show people who you are, as well as the why and how of what you do. For individuals, use the professional headline field on your profile to your advantage. Don’t just fill it in with your job title and present company. Instead, put the 120-character limit to good use with words that highlights your skills and your role in the industry.
To illustrate, I belong to the marketing team of a board portal solution used by executives and directors in over 20 countries. I could have labeled myself a “Junior Marketing Associate for Azeus Convene,” but my professional headline reads “B2B Digital Strategist reporting on the intersection of Productivity, Business, Technology and Corporate Governance.”
This simple phrase more effectively summarizes my focus as a marketing professional – digital marketing in a business-to-business context – and related fields I have written about in the course of my work.
We follow the same rule of thumb for the profile of Convene. Instead of copy-pasting our product description from the company website, we used bullet points to show profile visitors what Convene does, why we developed it and how it benefits our users.
Don’t forget to use professional headshots for both individual and company pages. After all, LinkedIn profiles with photos are up to eleven times more likely to get views than those without.
3) Don’t just connect. Engage.
More than being a virtual record of your professional accomplishments, think of your LinkedIn profile as your ticket to a 24/7 networking event with professionals from every field imaginable. But when inviting an industry influencer as a LinkedIn contact, how do you stand out from the crowd?
For one, ditch the default template (i.e., “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. – <your name>”). Using it only paints a picture of your invitation as run-of-the-mill at best, and unoriginal, insincere or lazy at worst. Personalise your message by mining your prospect’s profile for common ground – be it mutual contacts, affiliations, job experiences, skills, causes or interests.
Read something they wrote recently on LinkedIn or elsewhere? Drop a line about how you enjoy their posts or how you apply their tips to your own career experiences. Add 10-20 new contacts a day, following up each accepted invitation with a quick thank you message.
But maximizing LinkedIn doesn’t stop at adding contacts. Make it a habit to leave skill endorsements for every new connection and to touch base whenever there are milestones in their careers.
Just how effective is this strategy? LinkedIn marketing expert Viveka von Rosen once wrote about a client who landed a $3 million government contract after congratulating an old contact on his new role.
4) Get your ideas out there.
A long list of contacts is of little value unless these connections help you grow personally and professionally.
Some professionals remember to use LinkedIn only when they receive a notification in their e-mail inbox. Don’t fall into this trap – it’s a waste of a great resource for building not only your network, but also your personal brand. To do just that, you’ll need to come across as someone who adds value.
Join LinkedIn groups to participate in discussions relevant to your interests. Write content that inspires and informs, making it accessible to more readers by publishing on LinkedIn Pulse. The most featured articles on LinkedIn’s premiere publishing platform usually fall under the following categories: career advice, entrepreneurship, marketing, women in business, technology and innovation.
Improve the quantity and quality of your connections by emulating the kind of person you want to meet, offline and online. After all, the best way to engage with influencers is to become one yourself.
What are your go-to tips for improving your presence on LinkedIn? Share your thoughts in a comment below!
About the author:
Angel Britanico is Junior Associate at Azeus Convene. She is a marketer by profession, a journalist by education and a storyteller by passion. Read more tips on management, corporate governance and technology at Azeus Convene’s blog or follow them on Twitter for weekly industry updates.