LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 433 million members in 200 countries. Its mission is to connect business people to make them more productive and successful.
There’s so much that LinkedIn could help you achieve – but just having a professional profile is not enough. It’s how you use LinkedIn to engage with prospective customers and strategic partners that really counts if you’re seeking real business growth.
Here’s our list of the top 7 things you need to do for starters…
1. Complete your profile
Nothing’s worse than a partially completed LinkedIn profile. It looks like you’re not fully committed.
This will be most people’s first impression of you.
What message does it send out if you can’t be bothered to fill out your profile?
2. Add a Profile Picture
Profile pictures will get you noticed. LinkedIn accounts with no picture look unfinished and indicate you’re not serious about your business. If you are going to use LinkedIn, use it properly and add a photo.
Us a recent headshot where you are smiling and dressed appropriately for work. No photos in the pub with your mates or with your other half, this is a professional networking site and your photo should reflect that.
3. Make your Headline Compelling
Your headline is the part of your description people see first and it is critical. It will either get your profile read or send people straight to sleep.
It has one simple job – to get your profile read. Does yours pass this test?
Imagine you were a dentist. Which is these profiles would you go on to read?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a sales person, but if that’s how you describe yourself
on LinkedIn who is going to want to connect with you?
4. It’s not a CV
Your LinkedIn profile should give you a flavour of what you do and why that is important. It should pass the “So what?” test. If it looks like everyone else’s in your industry, it won’t be effective.
Unless you are seeking a job it should not read like a CV. It should very specifically highlight who you help and why. That way, if an ideal customer finds your profile, they will immediately see your value and want to get in contact.
Where possible show examples of your work, explaining exactly the value you have added. That way any potential customers looking at your profile will “get it” immediately.
Think about ex-colleagues, people you know through business and beyond – and connect. It’s about broadening your network after all.
You’d be amazed how many people you meet over the course of a year.
Get in the habit of connecting with people with a personal message (never use the generic LinkedIn connection request message). Connect as soon as you have had a meeting with them and follow up regularly.
But don’t sell to people. The relationship comes first – focus on building mutually beneficial relationships and the opportunities will naturally follow.
6. Be Social
Most people just read LinkedIn like a newspaper and don’t engage. To get the best from it you need to get involved in conversations, like and comment on articles. Be generous in your praise and encourage others.
Publish stuff yourself. You’ll find the more you interact with people’s posts the more they will interact with yours.
Imagine you publish a post and no one comments. How are you going to feel? Now imagine one of your contacts likes your article, writes a great comment and shares it with their network endorsing you in the process. How are you going to feel about them now?
Make it a habit to go into LinkedIn for 5 minutes a day and show some appreciation of what your contacts are doing, sharing and liking. Get involved and start to nurture those relationships.
That’s one simple way we can build relationships on LinkedIn – it’s got me on the radar of some seriously influential people.
7. Check who has viewed your Profile
Once you’ve got your LinkedIn profile sorted, people will start to check you out. You can see who has viewed your profile from the “profile” drop down menu. You may find some of your ideal future customers are already visiting your profile. This gives you the perfect opportunity to reach out and make contact.
This list is really just the start. If you are serious about building your business, LinkedIn can be a very valuable tool. In fact it’s the most powerful database of business contacts in the world, but you will only benefit from it if you get proactive and engaged. Check out our upcoming workshops to find out more.