Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile: 8 tips to help you Succeed!
Are you a Business Owner, Professional, or in Sales with a Business to Business target audience? LinkedIn is, first and foremost, a Social Network about individuals in business, so it is recommended that you create a LinkedIn profile to represent your brand. After all, you wouldn’t go out to that all important business meeting without your best suit on would you? Why have a public business profile that doesn’t look and perform its best? Here is a list of recommended best practices:
1) Ask to Connect
I know, it seems obvious, but not everyone does it correctly! Whenever you have interactions with people, ask them if they’re on LinkedIn and if they’d like to connect. Try sending LinkedIn requests shortly after receiving someone’s business card. You have their email address, so it will be easy to find them on LinkedIn and considering they just gave you their business card, they likely have an interest in creating a relationship. But don’t just send them the standard “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” message. Personalize it so they know you remember who they are and that you have a personal interested in building a relationship with them. Try something like, “Hi John, I enjoyed meeting you last night at (whatever occasion) and our conversation about (whatever you talked about). A little personalization goes a long way in developing business relationships!
2) Complete your Profile
Fill out as much of your profile as you can. The more information you put in, the more connections you’re making and by doing so, you’re creating more opportunities for people to find you. For example, by including former employers on your profile, you will be connected to other LinkedIn users who have worked for that company. Same with Universities and Colleges – by including the schools you attended, you’ll be connected to others who have attended the same. This is also your professional branding. Make sure you include all information to make yourself shine and stand out from the crowd. Remember, ask yourself the question, why would someone want to do business with me over someone else, and make sure you answer that question in your profile!
3) Use Strategic Keywords
Build up a list of keywords and search phrases and use them throughout your profile. Put yourself in the mind of the people by whom you want to be found, think about what searches they’d perform on LinkedIn in order to find you. This is a similar activity to doing keyword research for a digital marketing campaign. Do your own Google search to find yourself (or someone in your industry), and use those words in your profile!
4) Set your Profile to “Full View”
Two things that people do when researching business associates is: Google them and search for their LinkedIn profile. I know we all want personal privacy, but if you hide your profile there is no possibility of anyone finding you! LinkedIn is a business network, so the information within your profile should be business focused, not personal. Change the settings on your profile to “Full View” so your profile can be fully indexed by the search engines.
5) Endorse & Recommend!
LinkedIn has a neat new feature called Endorsements, whereby your connections can simply at the click of a button endorse you for a specific skill. By being generous with your Endorsements to others, you will easily build up your own list of skill Endorsements. It is the age old adage of “give and you shall receive.”
Recommendations are a little more involved, but the same principal is applied. Give and ask for recommendations. Recommend those you think are worthy before they ask you to recommend them. They will often return the favor. Recommendations are yet another aspect of
LinkedIn that helps to establish your credibility and brand. Ask your customers to post a recommendation on your profile. What better advertisement than a satisfied customer!
6) Update your Status
Update your status regularly to remind your network what you do and what you know. You can also use your status update to share articles/blog posts you have written, or news stories about your company with your network. A little tip, if you plan on including links in your status use a URL shortened like bit.ly (http://bit.ly/) or Tiny URL (http://tinyurl.com) to save space in your status updates and to track clickthroughs to your link.
7) Make your URL Personal
It is surprising that not every business individual knows this very effective little tip. Make your LinkedIn URL personal! When you set up your profile on LinkedIn, the default URL generated contains numbers. It is very easy to change this to your own personal name (for example:http://ca.linkedin.com/in/lisamontenegro as opposed to: http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/john-smith/32/10a/125). This little tip will help you show up not only in LinkedIn searches, but on Google as well.
8) Join the Conversation!
Join industry groups, participate in the conversations within these groups – this is a great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise! Even better, why not create your own group. Another way to demonstrate your knowledge or generate a conversations is to use LinkedIn’s Poll feature to create polls or answer them. Last but not least, like and comment on people within your networks’ posts and updates. If you engage them in their information, they will more than likely engage with you in your information, thus encouraging the viral nature of Social media.