How To Make LinkedIn Work For You
Think LinkedIn is only a place to go when you’re looking to hire or get hired? Or maybe you assumed it’s a social network where only college grads search for their first job. Believe it or not, LinkedIn is way more. Much like everyone needs to build a website, these days people in every industry and every stage of their career can benefit from being on this social platform.
LinkedIn is a place to meet clients and headhunters, find new jobs or spot potential hires, but it’s also an incredible platform for learning new skills, networking with people in your industry and sharing what you are up to (professionally) with the world. And like Wix, it’s free, which means in 2017 there’s really no reason not to be on LinkedIn.
Wait…what is LinkedIn?
Let’s take a step back. If you’ve missed the buzz, we’ll fill you in. Designed originally with professionals in mind, today LinkedIn is the third most popular social network on the planet. In addition to being an incredible place to network with people around the world, LinkedIn offers a vast array of tools that can help you market yourself and your business online.
If you’re feeling nervous about climbing aboard the LinkedIn train, we’re here to help. Follow these expert tips for using LinkedIn and you’ll be a pro in no time!
Create a personal profile with your goals in mind
The foundation of every LinkedIn account is the personal profile. That’s where people look first to get an understanding of who you are. They can read about where you work, what your business goals are, where you studied and much more. As you create your profile, consider who you are writing the profile for. Are you trying to get a job, network with people in your field or attract new hires to your company?
Based on this, you should tailor your profile to your target audience and include the information that will be most relevant and interesting to them. You can also customize the order of the sections in your profile, placing near the top of the page the sections that you want people to see first.
Get your name right
It might sound obvious, but if you browse through enough LinkedIn profiles, you’ll see that lots of people are using short names (for example, use Jillian and not Jilli), nicknames (how would people know that “SelfieQueen32” is actually Martha from HR?), or even worse, making mistakes with their very own name. On LinkedIn, looking professional is a must – and this starts with your name.
Capitalize the first letter of your first and last name and put a space between the names. Then, add any letters that you’ve earned along the way. (This isn’t the place for modesty!) If you’re an MD, PhD or JD, flaunt your skills by adding these letters to your name.
Use a professional photo
There’s no way around it: if you don’t include a photo on your LinkedIn profile, you just don’t appear serious. But instead of uploading the most recent selfie you find on your iPhone, use a photograph that depicts you as professional and likable! Remember the power of an image – this single photo could make all the difference in helping you connect with someone influential, find a new employee or land a new job. You may even want to invest in hiring a professional photographer to take some headshots for you – it will be money well spent!
Write a killer headline
Your headline is a brief, 120 character statement that should describe what you do (in a very small, succinct nutshell.) Because LinkedIn displays your headline when people search for you, it is one of the most important parts of your profile. A good headline can single-handedly get someone to click on your profile.
Write a few words that will make yourself memorable, capture the attention of your target audience and highlight your strongest skills. If you’re feeling stuck, take the time to peruse through other people’s headlines to get inspiration from your own and notice which headlines stand out from the rest.
Nail the summary
A good LinkedIn profile must have a killer summary! This overview of your profile should cover who you are, what you do, what skills you offer and – most importantly – have a clear call to action. What do you want from people who are reading your profile? Write the summary in the first person; a summary written in the 3rd person can come across as stuffy, snobby or disingenuous.
Highlight the things that you most want people to know. You may want to weave your points into a compelling story that will make your summary fun to read. Then, try to add in rich content like a video, PDF or newsletter at the end.
Link to your website
Regardless of your industry or profession, LinkedIn is a great place to get leads for new business. To encourage people to come from LinkedIn over to your very own website, you should place a link right inside your profile, under your summary. That way, people who are interested in learning more about what you do can go to the best possible source – your website.
Don’t have your own site yet? Then before you finish up your LinkedIn page, may we recommend that you create a website?
Show off your more subtle side
Unlike a traditional resume and cover letter, LinkedIn lets you present a complete version of yourself. In other words, it’s not just about what you do between 9 and 5. Add a section about your volunteer work or your hobbies and take advantage of this opportunity to show off the unique aspects of who you are. After all, you may not just be the woman in the office who makes the most killer PowerPoint presentations, you might also be an outstanding baker or be willing to teach your colleagues how to windsurf on the weekend.
Create a business page
LinkedIn is designed to help you showcase the capabilities of your business. You’ve probably heard about Business Pages on Facebook, but did you know you can make one on LinkedIn as well? That’s right – in addition to your personal profile, you can create a dedicated page for your business. This is powerful whether you have a multinational firm, a mom and pop shop or a one-person LLC.
You can post updates about new developments and draw followers to the page. Share posts and images and make sure that anyone at your business also connects to the page. Learn more about creating this kind of page here.
Showcase your products or services
Once you have a business page setup, you can use LinkedIn to share details about the products and services you offer. Post blogs and updates that let your followers know the best of your business, both on your personal profile and your business page. Describe your goods in detail and then use images and videos to support what you write. You may even want to throw in some testimonials from other clients.
Share your knowledge
In addition to creating content about your products and services, you can write posts on LinkedIn that show readers your expertise in your industry. Share brief articles or updates that highlight your professional opinion on a product or trending topic in your industry. Define yourself as the “go-to” authority in your field!
Teach and learn as an active group member
In addition to posting on your profile and/or business page, share your knowledge in groups. There are countless groups on LinkedIn, relevant to every topic imaginable. Look for groups that are related to your industry, have an active following and boast a large membership.
Then, read through the posts, learn what you can and be sure to chime in with smart, helpful comments whenever possible! This is a great way to network with other people in your field, posit yourself as an expert and attract new business.