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LinkedIn is my favourite social network, and I’ve been able to get more out of it than any other platform.
Around a year or so ago, I decided to invest time and effort into growing my LinkedIn presence and making the most out of my profile. I’d observed how useful the tool was for career and business growth, and I wanted to take my membership to the next level.
So, I chipped away at developing my presence by updating my profile, growing relevant connections, and delving deep into the functionality the site offers – while keeping my membership at the free level.
The results have been immense: my connections have skyrocketed, LinkedIn is the second highest referrer to my websites (only after Google), I’m a top contributor in several relevant networking groups with thousands of members, and I have messages every week from recruiters, connections and potential clients.
I believe making the most out of LinkedIn is about being smart and strategic. The obvious advice is to ensure your profile is polished and current (complete with a professional-looking image), to invite relevant connections that will benefit your business, and to request some genuine recommendations. But there are other key steps that can help to grow your online brand and business as well. Here’s what has worked for me.
1. Do what LinkedIn tells you to do
You might think you’ve added every job, skill, connection and interest that you possibly can. But LinkedIn knows better. On the right hand side of your home screen, LinkedIn tells you who you might know, who’s visited your profile, more skills you could add and key profile information you’re missing. For more tips, click on the big blue button inviting you to improve your profile on your profile page.
Tip: by following LinkedIn’s guidelines and suggestions, you can be certain your profile is as complete and accurate as possible. This leads to greater exposure among your professional network.
2. Ensure your profile contains relevant keywords
If you want to enhance your presence in your professional field and ultimately grow your business, you need to check that your profile is representative of your online brand. This means your profile should contain the most important keywords you associate with your business. Remember, be specific: think of terms that others would be likely to use to search for you.
Tip: look at your title. Is it broad or general? Could you improve it? Does it include your business name? Look at how the leaders in your field have described themselves in their titles for inspiration.
3. Share content, sparingly
I share all my new posts on LinkedIn as updates and within groups, and as I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is my second-highest source of traffic. Why? Because I’m promoting relevant content to targeted connections and groups. I don’t share everything in every group, though.
Tip: be careful not to duplicate content or spam your network. It’s not a good look to see the same post over and over in many similar groups, so you need to find a balance. I usually choose two groups when I promote my posts, so I’m reaching readers within my niche without overkill.
4. Understand who’s looking at your profile and why
You can’t always see who’s viewed your profile for privacy reasons, but you can usually get a feel for the types of users who have been checking you out. Think about what led them to your profile. Are they people you want to attract? Are they relevant?
Tip: study who’s looked at your profile every time you log in. If they’re not people you want to attract to your business, update your profile to be more representative of your business goals.
5. Read your news feed every time you log in
When you log in, take the time to see what your connections are posting, sharing and commenting on. This is your professional network, so you need to understand what’s happening inside of it. If you have competitors, keep an eye on what they’re up to as well.
Tip: interact with your connections by liking, sharing and commenting on their updates.
6. Play an active role in groups
It’s not enough to join groups about topics related to your business (key culprits include businesswomen, marketing and entrepreneurs) and leave it at that. You need to play an active role in the groups you’ve joined in order to get the most benefit. This means engaging in discussions and sharing content – your own (sparingly, remember), and posts by others you’ve found interesting.
Tip: join groups that contain a lot of members but that also have discussions on most posts. You can soon tell if groups don’t have an engaged membership if most of the posts don’t have any likes or comments.
7. Utilise LinkedIn for companies
Consider setting up a LinkedIn page for your business or company with the view to post your updates regularly and promote your brand by sharing your business activities. You can list services and get more followers for increased exposure.
Tip: find other relevant companies you are interested in and follow them. Study how they use the LinkedIn for companies feature for inspiration.
8. Promote your LinkedIn profile externally
Grow your list of relevant connections by including a link to invite others to connect with you at every client touch point. Include this on your website footer, about page, any guest blog posts, business cards, presentations, online bios, and email signatures. Remember, you don’t have to accept every connection that comes your way if it’s not relevant.
Tip: When you promote your LinkedIn bio, include a personal, friendly message inviting connections.
Finally – you guessed it – you can find me on LinkedIn here, and I’d be thrilled to connect if you’re in a likeminded business or industry. I’m also interested to read about how you use LinkedIn: what’s worked, and what hasn’t? So please do share your tips below!