Your LinkedIn profile can be an extremely powerful social media tool when used to its full potential. I’ve worked with many businesses over the years that have benefited immensely from its ability to connect people. Its USP for developing business relationships has made it an indispensable tool for business development and corporate strategy. Get your LinkedIn profile right and, as it has gone for me recently, you can utilise it for inbound marketing purposes with great results. In the last month, I’ve had at least an enquiry a day. These have led to partnerships, opportunities, expansion overseas and clients in the UK.
So why does it work for me? I’ve been using and testing ideas on my own LinkedIn profile since 2006 so I’ve had quite a while to see what works and what doesn’t. 2010 was probably when it really became a mainstream platform, when many businesses started to realise its potential. As there has been a dramatic rise in the amount of people using LinkedIn, so has the amount of people making silly mistakes in their profiles. I’m just going to cover the basics here as any comprehensive written works on LinkedIn would form a novella.
At the very least, you should have your company name and logo up there. If you don’t and you’re working in online marketing or calling yourself a ‘LinkedIn Trainer/Expert’, well… Visual repetition is good for your brand, hence why I called my company Mantra; so take every opportunity to visually remind others of who you are and engage your audience.
This is immensely important as it is the first thing that your users’ eyes will focus on. I’ve seen too many that are simply unprofessional. If you’re familiar with usability and retinal tracking studies then you’ll know why it’s in the top left-hand corner of your LinkedIn profile. You need to look professional in relation to your market. LinkedIn is a network for professionals so you’d better look professional. If you’re a cocktail mixer and work in a bar then I’d expect you to have a colourful drink in your hand while standing in a bar. If you work in finance or business development and have used a photo after you’ve had a few too many, standing in the middle of a dance floor then I’d suggest using another image, unless… you’re a nightclub entertainer. Always think about your audience. There are three absolute no no’s when it comes to profile pictures –
1) Wearing a vest when you don’t work in fitness.
2) Multiple people in an image – ‘which one are you?’
3) No image at all. If you’re not even bothered enough to find an image to present yourself to others then will you make an effort for your employers or clients?’
Short and snappy. Some key facts, something exciting if you’ve got it. Keep your audience interested whilst talking about your strengths. Why are you different? If you begin with ‘I am a motivated…’ or ‘I am passionate about…’, please stop. Corporate clichés will make you sound like another robot. Language is a vast resource, so experiment.
This can be done in many different ways. I wouldn’t put too much detail in your positions, just the key facts and anything that people may see as a benefit to your market. Also keep the number of positions to a minimum, three, maybe four at a push. No one really wants to trawl through your life history, leave that for the biography.
This can be tricky depending on your type of work. If you have a degree then I’d always recommend showcasing it. Those things are expensive, why not shout about it? If you have very little education then just let your work experience speak for you. Do not under any circumstances write that you studied at the ‘school of life’, seriously. Even on Facebook, just don’t do it.
The more the better. If you’ve conducted great works for people or people know of your great abilities and will vouch for you, then get a recommendation. What your clients say about you far exceeded what you say about yourself. I feel like I should repeat that. If someone states that they’re great at online marketing, yet have no recommendations, then I question your abilities.
You can be a part of 50 so choose wisely and target. Some groups have lots of members but are no longer active. Some are just vox boxes for the group owners and others can be managed really badly. The best, spark industry-based discussions, best practice and knowledge share. This can be a lengthy task as some groups may appear great at first but then turn out not to be so wonderful after all.
A systematic approach backed through research is best. My LinkedIn profile is relatively young (2013), yet I get some great interaction. This is mainly due to a study I created from the blog posts that seemed to get the most attention. Write about what you know and the more you can make it engaging the better.
Comment on other people’s blog posts, updates, shares, images, etc. The more interactive you are, the more you’ll be seen by people outside your immediate connections. Contributing in a knowledgeable and helpful way for others is the best kind of inbound marketing.
I personally see LinkedIn as a vast network of people coming together for commercial and capital growth. Some want better jobs, others want better employees and some want to sell you something. The trick is value. What value can your skills bring to others to aid their commercial objectives? Demonstrate and freely give value for others and it’ll come back, not always in a client, but referrals are good too.