Most modern professionals are familiar with LinkedIn. It is the largest online professional social network in the world, with more than 400 million active users.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that is designed specifically for the professional and business community. It was launched in 2003, and today it has membership covering 200 countries across 170 industries. A significant proportion of LinkedIn subscribers are actually recruitment professionals.
Registered users of the platform can establish a professional network of people and businesses they, or another of their connections, know and trust. Connections can be made on either a basic or premium basis; basic membership allows for connection within three degrees of separation, so that only people one has attended school, university, worked with or knows professionally can be connected with. Premium membership allows for a much wider access to an array of potential contacts.
LinkedIn can be used for all professional networking purposes; no longer must one rely on personal introductions or exclusively attend conferences and industry events to create contacts. With LinkedIn, you can discover and generate leads, connect with prospective business clients or partners, and even find a job.
Why use LinkedIn?
The use of social networking online has increased exponentially over the last decade. With more than 400 social networking sites built on an array of themes, online connection is here to stay. With many millions of users worldwide, there is no better way to connect professionally than via LinkedIn.
Traditional networking involves attending industry events, passing out copious numbers of business cards, handshaking and “schmoozing”, emailing and calling to try to sell; and many professionals find the entire process somewhat tedious. There has to be a better way.
That better way is LinkedIn.
The average LinkedIn user has a few dozen connections; however, there are some with thousands of professional connections. One connection leads to another – and the sky is the limit when it comes to potential exposure for yourself, your business and your brand. With a little savvy and some insider know-how, there are plenty of LinkedIn tips and tricks you can use to help build your business and brand.
How can LinkedIn help you build your business?
Aside from personally showcasing your business activity via your personal LinkedIn profile, you can also establish a LinkedIn company page. This can help to broadcast your business and your brand, getting you attention and providing your business with enhanced credibility. From attracting new customers to affecting a successful B2B social media marketing strategy, LinkedIn can help others discover your business. Additionally, company pages on LinkedIn tend to rank highly in searches – enhancing your online reach. Imagine, for example, being able to generate thousands of potential leads without spending any money at all? With this platform, you can.
LinkedIn tips and tricks for building your business
- Identify your target audience: Like with any marketing strategy, you need to understand the audience with whom you wish to connect. Research members who comply with the persona of your customer base and learn from this how you can best position your company page.
- Make your page a hub of industry-specific information: Share articles, news and other pertinent information, making your page a one-stop shop for your visitors to learn about your brand and your business.
- Be visible: You want and need the right people to be able to find you, both for their benefit and also for yours. Make sure to include the specialities of your company, your core values and philosophy, and share links to and from your company website, online blog, and any other social media platforms you use for your business.
- Use a photograph or profile image: A profile with a photo attached is sevenfold more likely to be viewed; ensure it is a professional-quality business portrait image that clearly shows who you are. For a company page, a logo or banner is ideal for this purpose. Never share candid personal photos or those that include pets or children on a business or professional profile. Additionally, if sharing an image of yourself, use a recent photograph. Deception has no place in the professional world and a photographic image from decades ago will be perceived by many as dishonestly representing yourself.
- Keep your profile fresh: Demonstrate that you are active and engaged; post updates relating to your business, its progress and its accomplishments. Share articles you have written. Demonstrate your expertise in your field.
- Seek quality connections: Many employers and potential business clients will look at your connections and be influenced by them – sometimes it really is about “who” you know as opposed to “what” you know.
- Define your strategy for using LinkedIn: Be mindful of your goals and keep this at the forefront when making connections, creating updates, and posting to group conversations.
- Customise your public profile URL: It looks more professional than the default URL and is simpler for visitors and connections to use.
- Create a profile badge for your website or blog: Help promote your LinkedIn presence.
- Make sure your profile is complete and kept updated: Tell people who you are, what you do and how you can be valuable to them.
- Optimise your profile: Use appropriate target keywords and phrases in both your heading and your title to increase your page visibility.
- Import business contacts into LinkedIn: Increase the reach of your network. Also, invite friends, relatives, current customers and other colleagues to connect with your page to get the ball rolling.
- Tag: Areas of expertise and the skills or services you offer.
- Encourage engagement: Personally welcoming new connections; this is a valuable way to develop new business relationships. Ideally, you will also customise the default connection request message with a personal message instead.
- Follow up on all communications from connections: Some connections will be public consumers, but many will also be other businesses. Social media can be a valuable tool and b2b social media marketing is a growing field. All communications require a response; this is not only professional, it is basic courtesy.
- Give and invite recommendations: This helps to build relationships, particularly if the recommendation is unsolicited.
Most importantly, engage with your connections! Respond to comments and questions, provide industry and brand specific tips and information, and create unique content that is meaningful to your business and those who have an interest in it.
Be very aware that, unlike on most other social media platforms, a faux pas made on LinkedIn can be damaging to you, your career and your brand. Professional networking and personal networking are two very different endeavours; at all times, be mindful to keep your LinkedIn activity professional and business-appropriate. Image is everything in the business world and you are well advised to make yours stand out for all of the right reasons.
Use LinkedIn as part of your business building strategy, and follow the above LinkedIn tips and tricks to enhance your online activities. It not only helps you find others; it helps you to be found, and to connect in a meaningful, professional, convenient way.
LinkedIn can open the door to greater opportunities, unlimited new ventures, and profitable business deals. It is also a great place to go to be updated with the latest news in your industry, to be inspired and to inspire others.
Stay ahead of the social media game with the latest social media trends and check out this yarn. Go on. What have you go to lose?
LinkedIn is a great tool for raising awareness, generating leads and boosting your bottom line. If it is your preferred social media channel, check out our free LinkedIn eCourse to help you get the most out of the platform for your business.