June 9, 2014
The social media world is now so diverse, you can actually pinpoint differences among the widely used platforms. But among them, LinkedIn remains quite different – where Facebook, Twitter and other sites are mostly used for personal purposes, LinkedIn gave a professional twist to the already existing online community.
And because LinkedIn is aimed at professional rather than personal connections, the approach in maximizing this platform’s usage is different from the others. Firstly, LinkedIn boasts and average of $109,000 annual income of its members – making it one of the most viable areas to gather leads and prospects for your business.
Here are some tips on how you can be successful in LinkedIn:
Create a Profile that speaks to your clients
Remember, you are creating a profile for your clients or connections, and not for you. Ask yourself, who are your clients and what are their interests? What problems do they have? What solutions are they looking for?
Write a compelling headline that grabs the attention of your target clients, and a summary that will sustain this attention enough for them to look through the rest and get your contact details. Remember to write your profile in the first person, this way you appear personable.
How to make your Profile stand out on LinkedIn
Complete your profile. An incomplete profile tells your target market that you are both lazy and unprofessional. LinkedIn is also a multi-channel platform now – it can host a variety of files and documents to be used in your profile. Use relevant videos, images and PDF documents to make your profile more visual and engaging.
Pay attention to the following:
- Profile description: Here you can highlight what you currently offer, what you work on and how you’ve been helping clients recently. Include a call to action (“get in touch,” “download free report”) to get profile visitors motivated to connect with you.
- Contact details: Check your profile contains up to date information, you’ve filled in your websites. If you use Twitter – link both profiles together. You won’t start auto-publishing tweets in LinkedIn but you can share some LinkedIn updates of Twitter if you want. But this step makes it easier for someone to connect with you on Twitter and send you a quick message.
- Work history: Showcase your expertise and skills. A great way to do it is to show your career history and how it helped you get to where you are now. What useful skills can you apply when working with clients today?
• Education: Similar to work history, you want to show your expertise and professionalism, so showing your education (courses, degrees, CPD) is a great way to state your business credibility.
Skills and endorsements: This section is effectively your informal recommendations as other LinkedIn users (your connection) endorse you for skills. Treat skills like keywords that can be used to find your profile, so fill them carefully – think SEO and your actual skills and experience.
Other sections you may or may not use depending on your business, but make sure you remove them if you don’t want to fill them in just yet: awards, projects, publications, test scores, patents, languages, certifications etc.
The proof is in the … recommendations
Your proof in LinkedIn is a recommendation from your client (or friend, connection, employee, business partner). Think of a list of people who could recommend you for previous work you’ve done for them or with them, connect with them on LinkedIn. Then send them a customized recommendation request (avoid the standard message unless you want a useless, brief recommendation that won’t showcase the skills that are important to you).
If the recommendation you got isn’t what you were looking for, tactfully ask the person if they would be able to rewrite it focusing on a particular skill. And finally, don’t rush making a profile just because you want to have one, take the time to think about what you are putting in there and why you need one in the first place.
Avoid the seven deadly LinkedIn mistakes
Just like other social media platforms, LinkedIn also has sets of common mistakes and pitfalls. Are you guilty of any of these?
Sending a standard connection request message. You know that template that appears when you try to connect to people? It may say that it is optional and you can change it — unfortunately it is mandatory. Take the time to write a personal message to your connection to explain to them how you met or if you have not met personally, why would you want to connect in LinkedIn.
Not sending a WELCOME MESSAGE to new connections
It does not take a whole hour to conjure one up – make sure that you ALWAYS send out a welcome message to add value and build a better relationship.
I don’t need to explain this further…this is and will always be a faux pas in building up a relationship with people – worst, they will delete you as a connection.
Make sure that you respond promptly to important messages in LinkedIn – treat it like your business e-mail. You wouldn’t leave a message from a prospect unanswered for days, would you?
Asking for recommendation from people who do not know you
It will make your profile questionable, especially when you get recommendations from people who can never vouch for you.
Posting self-serving and irrelevant ads in groups
This is a quick way to be kicked out of a LinkedIn group – when you post ads, sell something or post irrelevant messages. You must understand what the group is about when you join, so when you post, you offer solution to questions or problems other group members have.
Don’t criticize or comment negatively in groups
Be classy and professional in your networking, just because it’s a private group that others can’t easily join or view – it doesn’t mean you comments can’t get out in the wider world and affect your business reputation.
Now – over to you! What’s the biggest challenge or question you have about using LinkedIn? Share in comments below and I’ll try to answer as many as I can! Pinky promise 🙂
I'm Tamara Baranova - a digital marketing strategist and coach, who loves helping small business owners and entrepreneurs make more money doing what they are passionate about. Using proven marketing strategies and efficient business systems, I support them to accelerate business' growth, attract the right clients, achieve their vision and goals, while feeling in control of their business and marketing. To find out more about me and how I can help your business too - just visit my website. You can enter your details there to download a free Digital Marketing Strategy Kit, as well as receive regular marketing tips and training.