With over 200 million people using LinkedIn you need to find ways of building relationships with the right people so that you can make good use of this platform.
Of course, the first thing you need to do is to decide who you want to engage with: prospective clients, your next employer, strategic business partners, professionals in your industry etc. Once you who you want to attract you will need a plan to make sure you don’t waste your time and your efforts when you’re using LinkedIn.
Incorporate the following strategies into that plan and you’ll stand more chance of success.
# 1. Make A Good First Impression
You don’t get much time to make a first impression on LinkedIn or anywhere else. When people find your profile via a search or by accident they will look at your photograph and at your professional headline. In two to three seconds they will have decided whether or not to read further. You have one image plus 120 characters to inform the reader of:
- Your role
- The level at which you work
- Your industry sector
- The value you deliver.
Here’s how I use my 120 characters.
With your image and your professional headline you’re trying to show that you’re a professional person. You want to help the people viewing your profile to decide that they want to connect with you, to contact you, to read more about you and so on.
Spend time getting your message right and practise squeezing more information into your 120 characters.
You will be rewarded for your efforts.
#2. Use Relevant Key Words
Before you start writing your summary and the information about your career, your company and your work think about the key words you intend to use as you write your profile. You will use these words in the job title fields, in project headings, in your list of skills and expertise and in the text that you write – just like when you’re writing a web page.
Be specific. If I’m looking for an EU VAT Taxation Specialist on LinkedIn (and I recently sourced such a person for a client) I would not have found you, if you had just called yourself an accountant in your profile.
Likewise, if you describe yourself as an executive coach, I won’t know that you’re an expert in conflict resolution, dispute resolution and employment tribunal avoidance unless you tell me.
LinkedIn is the place to be specific with the terms you use about yourself and your abilities.
Write in the language of the people you want to find you. Explain, for example, that you help newly appointed executives to transition from management roles to board level responsibilities and include several references to what you do so that your expertise will show up in LinkedIn searches.
Use the skills and expertise area, too. Use key word terms that you hope your target audience. They will find you more easily if you work in this way.
#3. Be Visual
LinkedIn is nudging us all to be more visual in our approach to using the platform, whether we’re producing company pages or working on individual profiles. Follow the advice.
Upload images, videos and presentations to supplement the text you write. This will help to build your credibility on LinkedIn.
You’ll demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you can deliver. For example, if you’re a professional speaker, video clips of you delivering a presentation will underline your abilities.
#4. Use Updates Effectively
Even if you have a great profile and a fantastic company page, you won’t engage with enough of the right people on LinkedIn, if you wait for them to find you. What you need to do is to post updates that will be of interest to your chosen target audience.
Don’t simply post a link to the latest article in a newspaper or other authoritative source. Write something about the update. Offer an opinion about why it is important. Ask a question. Explain why you’re taking the position you’re taking in your blog post. Make the news story part of your communication. Don’t just repost something you have read elsewhere.
Don’t stop there. Use the “like” function and the “comment” function to show you pay attention to the updates of people in your community. Share relevant content on your profile and in the groups to which you belong. Again, make a point with your update. Show that you are an interesting person with well-thought-out opinions that are worth listening to. Don’t just join in the conversation. Start one, and because you’re on LinkedIn, make it a meaningful conversation.
The majority of people on LinkedIn don’t use the platform well. Their profiles are badly written and they don’t know how build, or to engage with, a professional community. If you follow any of the strategies here, you will get ahead of a lot of people on LinkedIn. You’ll also be starting to make LinkedIn work for you.
I know LinkedIn works for me and for my business. See how you can use it to help you. Which of these strategies do you think will help you to make a big impact on LinkedIn quickly? You’re welcome to share your thoughts and your plans below.
Guest author: Margaret Adams is a content marketing strategist and a speaker on inbound marketing topics. She helps professional practices in the UK build a strong online presence. Find out more about her at www.margaretadams.co.uk
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