Get your own LinkedIn InMap here to see what your network looks like!
1) Finish your profile
I know that LinkedIn is always pestering you to do this, but it actually helps your search results. The more information you include, the more the LinkedIn algorithms will be able to pick up on. LinkedIn often finds people for me to connect with that I never would have considered, and it’s all because my profile is complete. Part of finishing your profile means having a great professional headshot. This picture can not have anyone or anything else in the background. It is not a candid Facebook photo, it’s a representation of your professional self. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your cover letter and resume merged into one, so while you are including all of that relevant experience and information, you should also creating a dialogue about who you are and what you can do. Be detailed with your experience, but also be interesting. It’s not enough to know that you existed at a certain company at a certain time. Use qualifiers, numbers and unique events to make these experiences stand out. This should include corporate-based committee and volunteer work.
Make sure you use the same keywords in your title, area, summary and experience. This repetition will bounce your results to the top of the LinkedIn search list. Including your location in this repetition (especially in your title) is also useful for localizing your search results. Keywords can be included in your title, occupation, problems you come across or solutions you provide, products, services, tag lines, USPs and specialities. Be friendly but professional with your wording.
Organic connections will always be better than random ones. This doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn, just that connecting people and creating relationships with them is easier to do if you have met before, have something in common, and already have a “warm lead” with them. Creating strong connections will lead to long term clients, brand champions and profitability. Make a point of personalizing the message you send to a new connection. Don’t just use the LinkedIn standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” but rather “It was really nice to meet you at such and such an event” or “I read your article on such and such a subject and would really like to talk with you more about it”. If you are looking to increase your connections, let LinkedIn run through your address book, check through your business connections, social media contacts, family and friends, LinkedIn groups and the LinkedIn search engine.
Like all social media platforms, sharing content is an important strategy for both SEO and visibility. By sharing content (to LinkedIn’s “Pulse”) you are adding value for your connections while simultaneously promoting your business. Unlike many of the other social media sites (like Twitter), LinkedIn is not for sharing other people’s content. You should limit your sharing to content that you have personally created. It doesn’t matter if this content comes in the form of blog posts, infographics, white paper or slideshows, all that matters is that you post, and that you post consistently. Note that I said consistently and not constantly. It is better to have a regular flow of content then a lot of content all at once and then a dry spell of nothing for months. If you can only post once a month, that’s fine. Post once a month. Also, content that comes with a picture or media portion is 150% more likely to be read, shared and talked about.
5) Don’t Pay for LinkedIn
Unless you absolutely have to. Use the trial version if you want to see what kind of features they offer. But odds are, if people are checking out your profile and want to connect with you, they will. I would recommend paying for LinkedIn if you have maximized all of its other services and still want to do more with it. Keep in mind that adding random people is a lot like cold calling. Cold calling works to some extent, but consider how much time you are willing to spend on it before you decide to go that route. My advice? Go to more networking meetings instead and use those to bolster your LinkedIn roster.
6) Endorsements and Recommendations
If you endorse others they will endorse you. Having endorsements is critically important to your LinkedIn account. It is like having your references up for everyone to see. Someone without endorsements has less credibility than someone who does. This goes double for recommendations since someone has taken the time to write something specific about you instead of just the one-click skills endorsement LinkedIn has made so easy lately. So don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations!
I tend to use LinkedIn as a jumping off point. I will connect with people on LinkedIn to start a conversation somewhere else. I rarely use the internal messenger system, and quickly switch to email once business has been decided. How do you use LinkedIn? I’d like to hear your experiences with it and how it has helped you do business.
Want to learn more about optimizing your LinkedIn account? Have questions about how social media can help your business? Contact me for a free consultation and subscribe to my blog to get free weekly communications content straight to your inbox!