LinkedIn is a fantastic marketing tool to self-promote as well as job search – and it’s practically free.
You could compare LinkedIn to a networking event online – you connect with people, share advice, recommend one another, chat and blog about industry issues, and support each other by ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ posts. With all these fantastic tools at your fingertips, it can be difficult to figure out how to make best use of the platform. So here are five top tips on how to use LinkedIn effectively.
1. Do Your Research
Before throwing yourself into posting five times a day and hitting ‘Like’ on every one of your customers’ posts, do your research.
Make sure you check out your competition, do some digging on their company pages to see how often they post, what sort of content they publish and whether people are engaging with them? Similarly, have a look at your key audience, are they posting regularly and interacting online?
This will give you valuable insight into how to position yourself on LinkedIn and the type of content your audience will engage with, which is a good starter for ten when you have a blank page and trying to think of what to post!
2. Fix Up, Look Sharp
Your individual profile as well as your company page needs to be up-to-date and professional before you start exposing yourself on LinkedIn. It may sound simple, but making sure your profile picture is a professional head and shoulders shot of yourself is a must – a picture of you on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand is a definite no, no.
Also, ensure your name is spelt out in full. If you’re known as an ‘Andy’ rather than Andrew, then make sure your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your business cards and how you introduce yourself to people – otherwise they won’t be able to find you online.
3. Grow Your Network
LinkedIn isn’t like an online dating tool, only connect with someone you have met or at least spoken to over the phone. Random connection requests don’t benefit anyone, unless you’re being introduced by a mutual contact. Remember, it’s the quality of connections, not quantity.
To grow your network, make sure you’re joining and participating in group discussions and post updates to your network regularly. You build rapport this way and demonstrate yourself, or your company, as an authoritative voice in your field. You’ll earn people’s trust and respect and ultimately, this may lead to a new business meeting or recruiting your next rising star.
4. Stay Social But Don’t Brag
LinkedIn is another social platform, but be careful not to treat it as a broadcast channel by making sure you post a healthy mix of content.
Only 10% of your updates should be branded posts. By branded, I mean talking about yourself and what you or the company offers – the hard sell.
‘Created’ and ‘Curated’ content should dominate your feed. Created content means drafting your own blogs and linking these back to your website, sharing insight and advice with your audience, creating infographics or video. Curated means sharing insightful articles you have seen online such as BBC News or from trade publications, whitepapers or articles from influencers.
Make sure your content is interesting, entertaining or informative – ideally all three! If it’s none of these, don’t post it.
5. What Is Your 3 Step Plan?
Don’t overwhelm yourself with a huge LinkedIn to do list. When you’re not up-to-speed with how it works it can seem daunting at first to get your profile or company page in good shape.
My advice would be this – give yourself just three tasks to complete by the end of the week. This could be to upload a profile picture, post at least one update, or join a relevant discussion forum for example.
Building rapport on LinkedIn can be a slow burn, so taking baby steps at first will help boost your confidence, ensure consistency with your brand and grow your network.
April 27, 2016 - This article was written by Jenny Woolley