A brief introduction to LinkedIn
Building your professional network has never been easier than it is on LinkedIn. For business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) business marketers, there's almost 1 billion users who could bring you more success and custom, if you know how to stay relevant. Meanwhile, individual users use their LinkedIn profiles to build personal brands and a social network with colleagues, clients and associates.
Newcomers, however, are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the social media platform. Learn why millions of ambitious members think LinkedIn is a great place to accelerate their business growth.
What is LinkedIn marketing?
When new members create a LinkedIn profile, they often treat it like a Facebook account rather than a tool for digital marketing. It's important to differentiate the two.
LinkedIn, with its vast range of marketing features in its mobile app, is way more than a social media network. LinkedIn provides marketing tools for personal and company pages, including direct messaging via InMail, sponsored posts, content publishing and text ads. Small businesses are often looking to improve their closing rate. LinkedIn provides an affordable way to target users who're already in their sales funnels.
How to improve your LinkedIn profile in 7 steps
LinkedIn provides a new means of creating a professional social media profile. Here are some best practices to help boost the quality of your personal LinkedIn profile.
Having a good LinkedIn profile photo requires you to keep it professional. Picking the right images for your profile page can increase your chances of appealing to your audience or landing that new role you’ve applied for. Remember, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network so you want to make a good impression.
For many of us, our job is our identity. LinkedIn members don’t just want to know what you do, they also want an impression of who you are from your online profile. Within your headline, it is best practice to include why you’re passionate about your chosen career or how your relevant skills help the world (preferably in 120 characters).
It takes skill to concisely show off your credentials and personality within your LinkedIn profile summary. Here are our top tips to nail it…
The first tip is to type. Having a written LinkedIn summary will give you an edge over a surprising number of people who neglect this opportunity.
Like everything else on LinkedIn, you want to use the 2,000 character summary to inject your personality into your profile. Tell a story about your business or career development, rather than listing your work experience.
Spend a couple of days coming up with a draft that conveys what you offer your clients, LinkedIn connections or potential employers. Writing 3 to 5 short, well-spaced paragraphs should be ideal. And remember to avoid jargon if you can, so you're better understood and more approachable.
Want to impress a new connection or potential customer? Then include a personalised LinkedIn URL on your credentials.
To create a personal URL for your LinkedIn profile, simply:
- Navigate to the top of your LinkedIn feed, click Me and select View Profile from the dropdown menu.
- Tap Edit Public Profile & URL over on the right.
- Choose to Edit Your Custom URL.
- Include your full name, if it's available, or find a variation that works, such as your initials or your middle name, for example.
If you’re a blogger or business owner, why not link to your website from your LinkedIn profile? It's a great way to keep your audience interested or help them understand what you could offer them next. To increase your website's chance of being clicked, have a call to action just before the link on your LinkedIn profile – a few quick, inspirational or instructional words, such as 'Read my newest blog posts here' could boost visitors to your site.
Want more? Here's one of the best, quick tips for improving your LinkedIn profile. Optimising your LinkedIn account for search can seriously boost your visibility.
This means including keywords, used on search engines, within your profile. There are SEO tools that can help you find important keywords to include. If you don’t have access to these tools, there's always auto-complete within Google – use this to find keywords which best describe what you do.
Politely encourage clients and former colleagues, ideally people within your industry, to publish recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. Aim for five to ten, highlighting your skills and experience, as LinkedIn endorsements are a sure-fire way to build social proof over time. But if people outside of your industry are praising your most relevant skills, that's great too.
Connect with LinkedIn users to build your professional network
Bigger networks look better. The more, quality connections you have on your personal profile or company page, the more relevant you seem to your industry, so put a little time in. Syncing your LinkedIn profile with your email account is a fast way to connect with those you've reached out to online before. And why not contact influencers in your field? Or follow up on meetings with LinkedIn connection requests? Don't be shy now.
See who's viewed your profile recently
Connect with those who've had a peek at your profile. They're clearly curious about you and more likely to accept your invitation. To find out who they are, go to your profile and find the section on who has recently viewed your profile.
Message new prospects using Open Profile
Open Profile is typically used by sales prospectors for cold messaging. This method has proven to be a great way to connect with the right people without the need to source email addresses.
Customise your connection requests
Do you feel special when you're sent LinkedIn's default connection invite? Of course not, it's the easiest and most generic message everyone sends. To stand out and stand a better chance of being accepted, write your own. If you're on LinkedIn's mobile app, all it takes is a tap on the 3-dot icon in the top right and another on Personalise Invite. When you've finished your message, press Send.
How to get noticed quickly
Want fast results? Here's how to make the most of LinkedIn from your first day.
Add to popular network updates
Leave a comment or a Like on people's posts. Not only is the author notified when you do, but those who see the post could read and reply to your thoughts or opinions. Being active, like this, is a good way to get attention and more connections on LinkedIn.
'@' people to mention them
Think a contact will find a certain LinkedIn post helpful or interesting? Would you love someone influential to read your blog? Tag people in the comments on a LinkedIn post by putting an '@' symbol before typing their name. Mentions, like these, aren't unique to LinkedIn. Across social media, this is one of the best ways to grab someone's attention. Careful not to spam though.
Join or create LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people and learn new skills from others in your industry. Find relevant and interesting groups by conducting an advanced search using your homepage search box. If one hasn’t been started on your chosen topic, you can create a new LinkedIn group and show off your leadership skills by giving your industry colleagues somewhere to share ideas and questions.
Share LinkedIn updates on Twitter
Are you also on Twitter? Sync your account with LinkedIn and maximise your marketing efforts on both platforms. When you're writing your next LinkedIn post and choosing who can see it, select ‘Anyone + Twitter’ to share it far and wide.
Optimise your LinkedIn company page
Build your reputation and have an edge in your niche by making your company's LinkedIn page stand out with these additional tips:
- Ask your employees and business partners to connect to your company's LinkedIn page.
- Include keywords that are commonly searched for on search engines so you're easier to find.
- Spruce up your company page so it's more attractive. Why not have a graphic designer give your logo and banner image a bit of love?
- Create LinkedIn showcase pages (memorable, digestible pieces of content) to launch new products, re-introduce your USP or explain your services and offering.
- Post regular company updates about your successes and progress, so you're relevant and noticed.
- Add a LinkedIn Share button for your website to make it easy for people to contact you or learn more about your company.
- Analyse your LinkedIn marketing performance. LinkedIn Page Analytics will show you helpful stats, such as how well your posts are doing, how many followers you've gained and more about people's visits to your page.
Create engaging content
To stay relevant on LinkedIn, offer your connections a mix of timely and useful content. One day, with sustained creativity and effort, you could become a thought leader in your industry by doing this – perhaps bringing you more connection requests, business or clients. No time to blog or write eBooks or white papers? Share other people's most thought-provoking, interesting or controversial LinkedIn posts to spark ideas, as well as conversations and healthy debates in your network.
Did you know? You can write, share and publish professional-looking articles on LinkedIn's own publishing platform. This is a great feature to use when establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
How to use LinkedIn for recruiting
Business networkers and recruiters find talent and jobseekers find opportunities on LinkedIn. Here are some tips to remember.
Post your job opening on LinkedIn's free platform and the algorithm will show it to the most relevant candidates. Simply filter through and prioritise the applications you get. Hiring is this easy and affordable.
Jobseekers, use LinkedIn's search box to hunt your next job and keep an eye out for vacancies at your dream companies.
Use Recruiter to filter LinkedIn profiles according to your job specification. If you create projects for each job role, you can save the best-qualified profiles to these and set up customised alerts.