Love it or hate it, LinkedIn dominates business-to-business networking. And if you are not in love with it, you should be asking yourself why, because it is quite possible that you are just not taking full advantage of the features on offer. As Moz reminds us:
Establishing yourself and your brand as an authority in your area of focus will help build authority and trust among your customers, both current and prospective. LinkedIn’s feature set can help brands stay up-to-date on users’ professional networks, in addition to establishing a business presence and sharing company news.
So, why LinkedIn? Well, at a glance this network is functional in 200 countries and territories and boasts of a professional database of 238 million users across 20 different languages. Pretty comprehensive, right? Additionally, you may be impressed to find out that a total of 5.7 billion searches were conducted on the platform in 2012, a figure which is growing exponentially year after year.
Furthermore, conversions are three times as likely to occur on LinkedIn than they are on Facebook and Twitter. So if you need to show a decent return on your social networking, LinkedIn is the best platform to do it on. And while a business tone still applies to this platform, LinkedIn is quite literally full of features designed to help you develop an impressive professional profile. Let’s take a look at how you could be improving on yours:
Including Useful And Appropriate Keywords
Using the right keywords will help you in terms of search and in terms of classifying what you do for prospective connections. The more visible you are in search results, the more likely you are to receive connection requests.
Start thinking like the person you would want to have reading your profile. What features or qualities would they find impressive? If you were comparing similar profiles, how could you make it stand out?
Also, remember to include your career goals and objectives in your professional summary. Write it in the first person and allow it to be personable yet professional.
Endorsements And Recommendations To Build Your Reputation
Both endorsements and recommendations add credibility to your profile and show that others believe in and have worked with you in the past. They may also show that you are a good networker, as you can request others to endorse and recommend your work.
Recommendations are also an important ranking factor for searches and are one of the profile features that come up when someone conducts a search.
If you have been struggling to get LinkedIn endorsements, or would like to boost what you do have, Fluxe Digital Marketing provides the following advice, using website testimonials:
Reach out to the person who wrote it and ask them if they would repurpose by copying and pasting it on Linkedin. Go a step further and make it easy for them by telling them that you will just send them a request for a recommendation. That way it’s easier for them and they are much more likely to actually follow through.
Going forward, it is a good idea to make it a habit of asking people to consider giving you an endorsement at the start of a project if it goes well. Build this into your workflow so that it becomes a regular part of every project and so you don’t forget to build on this important component of your online reputation.
Don’t wait too long or use recommendations that are very dated. The most useful endorsements are those that have been done recently. Sometimes you may need to give people an idea of what you would like the to say, or which skills you would like them to focus on.
Creating A Professional Gallery
Words are just one way to convey what you do and how you do it so well. LinkedIn has shifted into becoming a full multimedia channel and allows you to upload images, videos and slideshows of your work and professional achievements. If you are a better speaker than you are a writer think about creating a short intro video where you introduce yourself and show what your best skills are.
Make Use Of Your Customized URL
LinkedIn gives everyone a custom URL, which effectively allows you to own your name. Taking your URL up (yes you have to claim it manually) will improve your search visibility especially when targeted searches are being conducted. If you don’t claim it, someone else probably will.
Developing Your Professional Network
Once you have completed your profile and filled in all the vital information you need to start connecting with others. You can allow LinkedIn to sweep through your email inbox and send all your contacts requests, which should bring you up-to-date with everyone you have communicated with in the past.
However, to make new connections you need different tactics. HubSpot recommends using the “How You’re Connected” tool, which allows you to hone in on mutual or shared connections:
Now when you visit someone’s profile, the tool allows you to see who in your network knows that person, and how he or she know each other. Using this tool is a great way to view people you want to be connected with and who might be the best person to ask to make an introduction.
Make it part of your schedule to make new connections every week or every month. You don’t have to be aggressive about it, but it is a good idea to get into this pattern so that over time you can build your network.
The other valuable way to connect with like-minded people is to join groups. Here you can participate in discussions and meet other professionals. You can also ask for advice on industry issues and find valuable content that can improve your products and services, as well as the way that you market them. If you are looking for ideas and inspiration for a company page following other successful pages can teach you a lot about posting and engagement.