There is no doubt that LinkedIn is the world’s number one online business networking platform with over 300 million users and a new one signing up every two seconds. When used correctly it can be an exceptional business tool. Here are a few tips that will make a big difference to your results.
Do nothing without a full profile
Your profile is out there working for you 24/7. Potential clients on the other side of the world could be relocating to your region and in search of goods and services like yours while you sleep, so your profile should stand out.
The key principle to a successful profile is getting in the mind of the people you want to be discovered by. Think about the keywords they might use and include them in your profile summary, making sure that you put the most important ones in your professional headline.
People mistakenly think that their professional headline and their current job title are the same thing, but they are not. Your headline should be used to maximum effect. For example, don’t write ‘Director, Craig’s Carpets’ as no-one would search for that. Instead try ‘Commercial and office flooring specialist | Hull’, this is will appear in people’s search results more often and resonate with them when it does.
When people scan their search results the two things that they always see are your profile picture and professional headline, which brings us on to the next point. Your profile photo should be smart, friendly and professional, and not include things such as bars or beach shorts. Above all make sure that you have one; no one does business with a blue silhouette.
Structure your summary into sections such as who you are, what you do and what your future goals are. Make sure that you list any skills and specialities that you have. Remember, when someone searches using keywords your profile will appear somewhere in those results if you have them written anywhere on your page.
Use the powerful search feature
The search box at the top of the page is a great tool. It lets you search by people, groups, companies and keywords. Use it to find decision makers by selecting ‘people’ and filling out fields such as ‘job title’ and ‘industry’ and by adding keywords like ‘marketing director’. Once you find who you are looking for look for mutual connections who can introduce you or see who from your network works at the same company. Read their profiles and any recommendations they may have written of other people, see what groups they belong to and what they talk about in their activity stream. All of this will help you get a much better sense of who they are and what they value most.
Communicate with your network regularly
Make sure you keep in touch with your network often. There is a lot you can do; congratulating people on jobs and anniversaries, commenting on discussions, making recommendations and creating status updates. Just remember to keep it brief and work related. These activities increase visibility and make it likely that they’ll think of you next time they need your services. This needn’t take up more than 15 minutes of your time a day.
Use these three basic principles and you should start to see a lot more activity on your LinkedIn account. There is a lot more to discover, but getting these right will go a long way towards helping make sure that LinkedIn starts working for you.