One of the things that sets LinkedIn apart from other social media channels is its approach to your contacts. Rather than having as many “friends” as possible, LinkedIn members use the site to find potentially useful contacts. And that’s how, as a business owner, it can benefit you too.
An important aspect about LinkedIn is how to approach your content; you’re not writing an instant news heading, or a one-line summary of your day, unless it’s exceptionally newsworthy. You’re either sharing articles of interest, writing your own article to drive traffic to your blog or website, or you’re posting in discussion threads. So the very first step to using LinkedIn for this purpose is to know how to look professional.
Firstly, look at the main components of your LinkedIn Profile page, which we have listed below. How does this compare with others in your industry? Are the right people sending you connection requests?
Your LinkedIn Title
Make a quick list of your skills and selling points. If you are a music teacher, for example, it’s worth being more specific in your Title section: ‘Music Teacher | Violin and Piano Teacher’. Keep it simple, but remember to use ‘keywords’ – relevant words to you and your industry that will help members to find your services.
Your LinkedIn Profile Summary
Your summary gives your readers a feel for who you are and what you can do. This is your chance to promote yourself or your business, but don’t just focus on your experience. LinkedIn is no longer a CV site. Take the opportunity to publicise any relevant info and links, such as your website, and emphasise what your business has to offer. You’ve already told people who you are. Now’s your chance to show how you can help them. Add a strong call-to-action; why should people contact you or your business? Why not add an image or a video too?
Your Experience and Education
Think about what you are promoting and who you want to attract. Be honest, but keep it relevant – for a travel consultant, there’s no point talking about your year working in a café or that course in animal care, unless these are connected to your business. For example, as a travel consultant, you may have had these experiences in a different country and that might well prove very relevant. Just list what you’ve done in relation to what your fellow professionals need to know. And don’t forget – use those keywords.
Skills and Additional information
Looking at your Skills and considering your strengths, which are the most important to your current career? Did you know you can click on the small pencil icon in your Skills section and add new ones? Either select from the list or manually type these in, then drag these to the top of your list so that LinkedIn will show these Skills first to other members to endorse. The aim is to try and get endorsed for the most relevant Skills to your business or career.
If there is anything you mentioned in the previous sections that you wish to expand on, there are multiple sections on your Profile page you can tick and add further details about yourself . Be careful what you say here; ask yourself – what are you willing to say about you and your business for all the world to see? Never include anything that could jeopardise your chances of boosting your career or your business.
Now you’re off to a promising start
By simply creating a LinkedIn account, you could be visible to millions of people in the LinkedIn community. Your LinkedIn business connections will enable you to reach out to services and companies you might not otherwise be able to reach. Any recommendations and endorsements people have made about you will give credibility to anyone considering either recruiting you or engaging with your business. Thank people for their endorsements and ask your clients for recommendations.
Start talking – Groups
How do you increase the use of this channel for marketing? By active communication with other members – look for relevant Groups and join:
- Chat to members.
Get involved in group discussions on topics of interest. As well as being a source of inspiration for writing, this is the ideal opportunity to promote yourself and your work. Share valuable insights; educate and inform. Don’t be too salesy (this can lead to you being asked to leave certain groups) – be genuine and conversational, thus building relationships with your fellow members, as well as making yourself known.
- Keep writing.
There are three possible goals of any good LinkedIn post: publicity, raising awareness, and gathering a community. What’s yours? First, be clear on where you are going. Your readers want certainty, not aimless rambling. Then write. About your work, your audience, your interests; whatever your connections might be interested in reading about. Write regularly, and make it relevant.