Getting the most out of LinkedIn for your business
Is your LinkedIn profile serving your business? Susan Lancaster Maghrabi advises how to rework your presence on the social network and grow your business.
There is an abundance of social media platforms out there. We can’t belong to or be active on them all, and nor should we be. So, what is it about LinkedIn that’s worthy of your time?
When you’re speaking to your ideal customer, you may be giving out your Facebook name, your phone number, your email address or your LinkedIn details. It’s always about selecting the right connection for the person you’re talking to. But, as a business platform, LinkedIn is generally perceived to present a business-like connection, which tells your contact that you’re a professional and open for business.
I’ve heard people say ‘I haven’t got a Facebook account I can’t be bothered with it’ and they’ve basically dismissed it. But I’ve never heard someone say ‘I haven’t got a LinkedIn account and I’m not going to be bothered with it!’ More and more LinkedIn is becoming an extension of your brand and, when done well, can go a long way to helping you cement your place as a leader in the market.
So, how can it do that?
Build, engage and sell
LinkedIn allows you to publish regular short posts and longer articles ‘natively’ on its platform. If you don’t have a website, or one with a blogging structure, LinkedIn can step into that space. How does this differ to other social networks? Not only can you publish and share through the platform, you can publish numerous articles which don’t drop down the page AND you can feature these articles on your account so they’re always available for your visitor to see.
Hashtags can also be used to spread the reach of your posts. The optimum number seems to be three per post.
Know your audience
As you build your audience, it’s important to know your audience: their motivations, their problems and what you can do to solve them.
You can use this information to create the most relevant posts or articles to support your ideal customer.
Imagine then that you regularly write a post or article on your LinkedIn profile that gives your network value and leads them towards your offering, as LinkedIn allows you to include web links. LinkedIn can become both a key driver to your services and a tool for presenting your value.
Lifestyle has its place in positioning your personal brand and encouraging a sense of camaraderie and community. But that doesn’t mean talking about trips to the park or your favourite meal – which of course is exactly the tone needed for lifestyle posts on Facebook.
A LinkedIn lifestyle post is more along the lines of ‘I took my laptop to the park, and completed writing my digital course.”
Creating interest and engagement
Of course, you won’t be the only one publishing regularly on LinkedIn. Like any social network, LinkedIn is a noisy place. So, how can you make sure your profile stands out?
There are four prominent starting points for gaining interest in your account:
- A clear profile picture
- An enticing headline that speaks to your audience
- An informative about section
- A volume of relevant and quality connections
It might sound obvious, but make this a close-up picture of you, ideally facing the camera. People connect with people and if they can’t see your face, it’s hard to connect.
On that note, try to avoid any disguises, filters, emojis, sunglasses, big floppy hats or cuddly pets. As a professional network, the expectation is a professional-looking picture.
Positioned beside your profile picture, your headline one of the first things that people see. It’s also visible when you comment on posts and engage with other content, so it’s important that you give it the attention it deserves (as others will too).
Simply using your job title doesn’t give a lot of information for people to understand how you can help them. A more effective way to write it is as a concise statement of what you do and the audience that you serve. Think of it this way: “I help X (your target audience) to do Y (your outcome)”
“I help busy professionals keep fit and healthy to feel like the confident and successful people they are”
“I help dog owners train their pup so they can feel relaxed and confident in public with their beautiful dog”
The About section is a chance to expand on your headline to give your ideal customer a stronger understanding of your offering and how you can serve them. Ask yourself what is your speciality? What are you known for? What is your USP? What are some of the results they can expect?
It’s important to keep your About section relevant to your business as it stands now. If you had an early career as a wrestler or a horse trainer, and your business is now as an affiliate or network marketer for a candle business, well your early career probably isn’t very relevant.
However, if you had an early career as that wrestler and you’re selling health products there would be a connection. Make sense?
Being clear about who your ideal customer or Avatar is helps you to find the right connections on LinkedIn. In the search bar you can look for people by company, location, jobs and more…it’s very versatile – LinkedIn really go out of their way to help us connect with an ideal business partner, customer and client.
As you can see quite a lot of refinement can be done in your search. Connect with people by sending a message. You can save time by having a set message and personalising the first part, for example by saying:
“Hey Jane it would be great to connect with you on LinkedIn as it seems we’re in similar lines of business/ have similar professional interests…”
It’s worth noting that people who aren’t suitable may try to connect with you too in a bid to drive up their connections. Take a look at who they are and if they’ve not included a message and are not from a relevant background, it’s probably not worth accepting.
Don’t forget to back up
I suppose the final thing to love about LinkedIn, is you can get a report about how you’re doing. On their social sharing index, you can find out how many points you have – It takes you back to the school days where you’ve got a B- and aspire to do better! (I jest) It tells you how your interactions work and encourages you to focus on certain aspects of LinkedIn.
With all that said, ultimately LinkedIn is your account and you can use it in the way that you feel best within the platform.
Always remember that it could change, or disappear so never rely on any social media platforms to do your work for you, and always back up your work – collecting and saving contact details regularly and creating separate documents for your articles.
Go forth and prosper…
With that final caveat please do enjoy using LinkedIn and sharing your knowledge, wisdom and superpowers!
Use it amongst your colleagues at business meetings, in network meetings and with your clients. I truly believe this is the platform of choice for business people, and using it correctly will help your business soar. You’ll be able to build, engage and sell using LinkedIn as one of the tools in your armoury.
I help home business owners with simple & proven formulas to help you generate interested leads, make more sales, and grow your business. I keep it simple so you can too. Find out more at www.susanmaghrabi.com
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