When it comes to social networking for businesses, LinkedIn is at the top of the list. With 277 million business and professional people counted as members, this is the place to be if you are looking for a career change, trying to find candidates for a job opening, want to expand your network or mine for prospects.
Just as with other social networking sites, you will want to provide useful, compelling and authentic content regularly, and engage with those who comment on your post. But the most important thing to improve your visibility on LinkedIn is to have a complete profile. At a bare minimum, you’ll need your photo, current industry, two or more positions listed, five or more skills, at least 50 connections and a good summary. But what you want to shoot for is All-Star status, and that means filling out every field you possibly can on your profile.
The second-, third- and fourth-most important things for LinkedIn: Keywords, keywords, keywords. Keep these basics in mind as you go through the following tips that will make it easier for you to stand out and be found among those 277 million people.
- Put your email address in the first paragraph of your summary. This gives people who don’t know you the information they need to be able to send you an invitation.
- Create a special LinkedIn URL. Most people stick with LinkedIn’s default URL for their account, which is your name along with a garble of numbers. Make your profile stand out – and be searchable – by creating your own custom URL.
- Be sure you list a business email address. Nothing screams “rookie” like a free email account.
- Customize your website link. The generic label says “Company Website.” You can change that to virtually anything. While you might want to label it “ABC Co. Website,” why not create something catchy, such as “How to Increase Your Business by 500%”? The link still goes to your website, but now people have a compelling reason to click on it.
- Use bullet points in your summary. Everyone is time-challenged these days – and some of us are attention-challenged, too. If you’ve got a lot of stuff to put in your summary (and dig deep, my friends!), bullet those items to make them easier to scan.
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile. You can do this as you complete it, but it may be easier to just get it all down first, then go back and add in those keywords. This is one place where keyword stuffing is not a bad thing, because the more frequently they appear in your profile, the higher you will appear during a LinkedIn search.
- Add images. Start off with a professional portrait. Remember, this is a networking site for business and professional people. A candid shot of you and your pooch might be cute on your personal Facebook page, but here it will lessen your credibility.
- Use PDF files. Not everyone will have PowerPoint loaded on their computer, but anyone can see a PDF of a PowerPoint presentation. Save it as an optimized PDF so it will load faster.
- Be creative when you name your uploaded files, including images. Yes, you can change those labels, too, so make it count by optimizing them.
- Be grateful. When people give you an endorsement, be sure to thank them. You’d be surprised how few people do that.
- Personalize your invitations to connect. Use their first name. Find something in their profile that you can mention in your invitation. Tell them how you are already connected to them – either through other friends, work colleagues, school connections and so on. There is a word limit, so keep it brief but meaningful.
- Personalize your acceptance of a connection, too. One of the best ways to do that is to find something unique or interesting in their profile, reference it and then ask a question: “What an interesting career path you’ve had! How did you get from professional hockey player to brain surgeon?” I guarantee you – the recipient will feel very special that you’ve taken the time to look at their background, and by asking the question, you will open the door to a conversation that could lead to conversion.
Finally, go ahead and talk business. Unlike other social media sites, where it is considered in poor taste to talk about your products and services, it’s OK on LinkedIn. You still don’t want to be too sales-y or pushy, but this is why people use LinkedIn – to make business connections.
Talk about your business when you accept invitations to connect. If there is a commonality in your businesses – or if your product or service could in some way benefit your new connection – put it out there. You may say something like: “Did you know ABC Co. has a new program that can save you time and money by digitizing your recordkeeping? This is just one way we can help companies like yours cut expenses. Let me know if you’re interested in learning more.”
Talk about your business in your content, remembering that it’s about what how product or service can solve problems – not about the features of what you’re offering. Features are nice, but benefits are better!
Which of these tips was the most useful to you? Please share in the comments. And if you’re interested in learning more about LinkedIn, please CLICK HERE.