If you are not already using LinkedIn for business networking or marketing, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Chances are good that you have received emails (probably several!) inviting you to “connect” with colleagues, former co-workers, friends, key business partners, clients and even former classmates. But, is it really worth your time and effort?
We think so, and here’s why: According to LinkedIn’s self-reported statistics, there are currently more than 414 million members worldwide (more than 124 million in the United States alone), and new members are joining at a rate of more than two per second. Which means, if it takes you four minutes to read this blog post, LinkedIn will have gained 480 new members in that time. We’ll give you just a minute to let that sink in.
OK. Got it? With that many members, LinkedIn can be an amazing and powerful tool for your business, if you’re using it correctly. And, to help you use it correctly, here are ten tips that we think will help you get the most out of using LinkedIn.
1. Personal profile. Complete (or update) your own personal profile, but don’t just fill it in quickly to get something on the page. Take full advantage of all of the opportunities available to you. For example, you can (and probably should) customize the url for your profile page so instead of including random numbers and letters, it is specific to you and your business.
In addition, you can upload PDFs, presentations and even video clips that showcase your work. You can also add not only a profile photo, but also a background photo. Your profile page can be a powerful way to market both yourself and your business, so put some thought and effort into customizing it to meet your needs.
2. Connections. You can, and should, accept those invitations to connect, but don’t stop there! LinkedIn has both “basic” and “advanced” search functionality to help you find connections, so spend some time building your network of connections.
You can also segment your connections by “tagging” them and adding notes that are only visible to you.
3. Company pages. If you don’t already have one, after setting up your own personal profile, take some time to build a company page for your business. You can also add extra “showcase” pages to highlight a specific product or service
4. Content. Use the “update” field to post information to share with your network. You can post information both from your personal page and from your company page, so use these to their full advantage. You can use them to share and promote blog posts, showcase your particular expertise or knowledge, or just to share general information.
And, if you’re familiar with using facebook, twitter or instagram, you will find that on LinkedIn, you can also tag colleagues, business partners or clients by using the same “@” sign before their name (assuming they are already among the 414 million LinkedIn users, that is.)
You can also use LinkedIn’s publishing tool, LinkedIn Pulse, to post your own articles or other thought leadership content, with a wider audience than just your existing connections.
5. Integrate. Add a “badge” to your business website, email signature or blog with a link to your LinkedIn profile (personal and/or company page), and consider adding LinkedIn “follow” and “share” buttons to your website or blog.
6. Tweet! If you add your twitter handle to your LinkedIn profile, you will be able to share your LinkedIn posts on twitter at the same time, reaching a wider audience (and hopefully growing both your LinkedIn network and your business.)
7. Groups. There are alumni and industry networking groups established on LinkedIn for just about everything under the sun. Research them, then join the group(s) that make sense for you. You’ll be able to message and share updates with group members and will likely learn something from others and make some great connections in the process.
8. Endorsements. LinkedIn has two ways that users can compliment other users: endorsing one or more specific skills or writing a recommendation. Use these. Don’t be afraid to ask others to endorse or recommend you, and don’t be shy about endorsing or recommending others with whom you have worked and whose work you would genuinely recommend. Don’t be phony or untruthful, but if you can sing someone else’s praises honestly, do it.
If you are already using LinkedIn, put some or all of the above ideas into practice, as a part of your marketing and networking strategies. If you aren’t already on LinkedIn, hopefully this has convinced you to become one of the two new members per second.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you find smart solutions for your own social networking, and all of your digital marketing needs.