LinkedIn is THE largest business-oriented platform, with over 722 million professionals worldwide as active members - across 200 countries; 24 different languages; and more than 50 million company profile pages.
What is LinkedIn?
Whilst 80% of users operate within a business-to-business environment, LinkedIn serves to build its member’s personal brands, rather than solely their business.
It is strictly used for exchanging knowledge, ideas and employment opportunities and has increasingly become a leading tool for helping individuals expand their networks as well as find jobs in their field. It is also a proactive lead generation tool and is used by professionals across my sectors.
“93% of B2B marketers considered LinkedIn the most effective for gaining leads over other channels” Source: Content Marketing Institute
“62% of B2B companies have won a customer through LinkedIn” Source: HubSpot
“40% of B2B buyers consider LinkedIn important when researching technologies and services to purchase” Source: Social Media Today
Why use LinkedIn for your business and personal brand?
It is THE B2B social network - a business lead ‘search engine’
Amplify your personal and business brand
Networking – you can reach THE decision makers direct
Enhance your professional credibility - gaining referrals / recommendations for your work
Source, enhance and grow new business leads
Spy on your competitors / peers / businesses of interests
Look for that next big career opportunity
Free PR tool – tell the world how great you are!
LinkedIn is and can be incredibly powerful, yet all too many professionals and businesses are overlooking or underusing this superior marketing tool.
So, is LinkedIn just another Facebook?
People spend time on Facebook; Professionals invest time on LinkedIn!
LinkedIn is and can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, yet all too many professionals and businesses are overlooking or underusing this superior platform.
To kickstart your LinkedIn marketing strategy, I have listed my top five tips which form the fundamental building blocks of LinkedIn networking.
Your profile will look professional, and you’ll be confident that the impression you’re making, is the right one
1. SAY CHEESE
We begin with one of the most essential elements to promote your personal brand on LinkedIn. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this could be no truer than when applied to the world of LinkedIn profile images. As a business professional, you must ensure that those words are the right ones with a front-focused, eyes forward professional image.
Think about it... this may be the first point of contact for a potential customer, client or employer, what would the answer be if they asked themselves:
“Can I do business with this person?”
Professionally shot photos are often a great investment, as they can capture a little personality, whilst ensuring the image is LinkedIn and ‘corporate world’ ready. Think also about the banner image at the top of your profile – use this space to present what you do in a visual context. You may want to add some text, but don’t make it too ‘salesy’.
2. BE THE HEADLINER
Your LinkedIn headline is the section at the top of your profile where you can describe what you do. It should suitably accompany your profile picture and encourage readers to learn more about you and why you would be a beneficial contact.
Go beyond your bog-standard job title – consider who your target audience is and what you truly offer - the way in which people may come across your talent or skill in the mammoth LinkedIn search arena. Contend with others by crafting a compelling headline that describes the benefits you deliver – but keep it clear, succinct and free from meaningless, fluffy buzzwords.
3. SELL YOURSELF
This is LinkedIn, not “Curriculum Vitaed-In”, so avoid the dull CV stuff – so you need to summarise your finely-honed strengths and experience. Be authentic and write an elevator style pitch summary as to illustrate:
Who you are and what you do – be mindful of your target audience.
What your USP is – what gives you the edge over everyone else? How can your achievements back this up?
What your specific skills are and why this matters to your potential client, customer or employer.
Why should people connect with you? What ‘value’ will they receive?
And finally, how do they contact / hire you. Maybe add a call-to-action i.e. ‘If I can help you – call me now’
You may want to begin your summary with a question or a statement which empathises with your target audiences' issues, problems or pain points.
4. SEO YOURSELF
Think of LinkedIn as a seriously sophisticated B2B search engine – consider the keywords that pertain to what you do, what your clients may search for and feature them throughout your profile – in your headline, in your summary and in your interest section.
It’s generally good to have 3-4 prominent keywords in your profile.
For example, if you’re an accountant, your keywords may be – accounting; income tax; bookkeeping; audit; payroll etc.
Once you have decided your keywords, you can then add them throughout your profile:
Your Professional Headline
Your Job Title / Job Description
When choosing your ‘Skills’ in order to collect ‘Endorsements’
Include in ‘Projects’ and other ‘Extra’ sections on LinkedIn
5. GET TALKED ABOUT
Word of mouth is just about the oldest marketing method in the world – and it’s still one of the most effective.
The truth is, when anyone can be whoever they wish online, it is often in fellow professionals, businesses and consumers’ words we trust most. This also helps to build our personal brand with our ambassadors, role models and influencers. The difference between LinkedIn ‘Endorsements’ and ‘Recommendations’:
Endorsements can be given by any of your connections, including people who have never worked with you. Recommendations are those that you either have to specifically request, or specifically accept from someone. They are about as close as you can get to a “reference.” Unlike endorsements, recommendations carry much more credibility and for me, are essential elements for promoting your personal and business brand.
Hopefully this blog post will have provided you with some tips and guidance on how to develop your LinkedIn profile. Below is my LinkedIn etiquette list, which, if adhered to, will help you to grow and nurture an effective and memorable personal brand.
Personalise Connection Requests
Include an image or video if possible
Use # to include a topic / subject of interest
Use @ to reference a person / business page
Always thank those who like / share your updates
Turn off notifications when updating your profile
Introduce your connections to each other
Respond promptly to messages
Comment / share information on Groups
Always keep it professional and never get into an argument
If in doubt… don’t do it!
Simon Clayton will be speaking at People Power 2021 on 16th November. Book your tickets and make sure your catch his session 'How to Optimise & Grow your Personal Brand'