Yes, we know the social media giant remains Facebook, but for those looking to network and develop business connections, you’ll want to get to know the platform known as the “professional social networking site.”
While the user count is continuously growing, LinkedIn is used sparingly. Meaning, you have a very short window to make an impact. Even more so than with Facebook.
Before jumping in, keep in mind what LinkedIn is known for - a “professional social networking site.” While it is a strong personal platform, LinkedIn is Business to Business or Professional to Professional network and marketing at its finest.
So what is the best way to use this “professional social networking site”?
Part one will share the benefit of and best practices of using LinkedIn’s Personal Page, and Part Two will cover the Company Profile side.
Your personal LinkedIn profile includes details on your job qualifications, employment history, education, skills (and skill endorsements), experience, volunteering, articles you have posted, and content you have commented on or liked.
It's important to create a robust profile that reflects your work experience and qualifications, and to update it regularly.
Tip: Be active. Like with any other platform, you have to show up and be involved to build your recognition.
A Living Resume
Like your traditional resume, your profile should demonstrate your abilities, work experience, and education. However, a LinkedIn profile can do even more than a traditional resume. It can include a photo of you, links to your work, references from colleagues and employers, and more.
Employers in every industry use LinkedIn to find job candidates, and it's the top site for professional career networking. It's important to make sure your LinkedIn profile highlights your skills and experience. This way, interested employers and networking connections can see, at a glance, what makes you unique.
Be detailed. Be engaging. Be professional.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to “show off.” Use your LinkedIn profile to showcase papers, presentations, personal website, accomplishments, recommendations, etc. LinkedIn is a great way to show, rather than tell, employers about your strengths.
Beyond your personal profile showcasing your abilities and qualifications for potential employers, you can seek job opportunities on LinkedIn, as well.
Search for jobs on LinkedIn by clicking the "Jobs" tab, and then entering a keyword, country, and zip code. Use the Advanced Search Option to refine your search and to search by date posted, experience level, specific location, job function, company, and industry. You can save job searches, and even receive emails about new job listings.
You can also find job openings by searching for and clicking on specific companies. Many companies post job openings on their LinkedIn pages.
Tip: Consider following your dream companies on LinkedIn. This will allow you to keep up with their achievements (which will be useful to bring up in a cover letter or interview) and will help you spot any job openings.
Growing Your Personal Network
Another way to share your profile is to connect with other members and build your network. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you have. And it works both ways - you may need the resources of another member and they may need yours.
You’ll best grow your network by not just adding random people, but by connecting with people you actually know and their shared connections. If you don’t know someone but would like to connect, be sure to send a private message introducing yourself.
Expanding Your Company/Business Branding
Believe it or not, your personal LinkedIn profile can make a big difference for your company.
By showcasing that you work at a specific company, you essentially serve as a representative of that business on LinkedIn. Your profile comes to act as an extension of your company, and this can have a huge impact – both positive and negative, depending on how you present yourself.
Sharing Beyond Just “Business”
Be real, be human.
There is a belief that LinkedIn is a professional network and people should share content that is strictly business-related. But don’t be afraid to intertwine stories into your content strategy on LinkedIn, your connections will reward you for it.
People want to connect and engage with other humans on topics that are inherently human. We can all relate to stories, this is why they work so well on a platform that has been dominated by recruiters and people sharing business-related content.
Both of achievement and failure. By exposing ourselves, opening up to our audience, and telling stories about our experiences, we can naturally build trust and grow a following. People seem to empathize with the stories of failure, and are inspired by their triumphs.
Post consistently, but purposefully
- Provide content that’s valuable - and relevant - to your core audience
- Post three to five times per week
- Mix content between sharing from other sources and your original content
Studies show that “how-to” and list posts perform best, especially those with titles that had 40-49 characters.
Visual, visual, visual. Images improve your posts’ popularity is the fact that including photos increases the comment rate by 98 percent. AND video - 59% of executives said they would choose to consume it via video.
Share your LinkedIn profile (business or personal). Email signature, website, resume, other social media pages, business cards, etc.
Effective networking is about building relationships. It is critical to take the time to build your LinkedIn profile, add to your connections, and effectively use them to aid in your job search. It is equally important to give back and help your connections when they need advice and referrals as well.
Network After Hours
According to Mashable, statistics show that only 8.33 percent of Americans use LinkedIn during working hours compared to other social media sites, such as Facebook (with almost 30 percent of people using it during work hours), indicating that you might get more interaction and exposure if you update your status, network, and connect with people and companies after business hours on LinkedIn.
As with all platforms, test this out at different times of the day to see what works best in getting responses and other interactions.
Join Professional Groups
Do an Advanced Search to identify professional groups in your area and get involved. This will help expand your network, show your expertise (when you engage in online conversations and answer the questions that come up), and possibly connect you to the organizations you want to work for in the future. When researching groups, you want to participate in groups that have recent activity. Otherwise, you might be wasting your time if a group doesn't have daily or regular interaction online.
Write Once, Share Multiple Times
Whether re-sharing from your personal or business blog, breaking up a longer blog post into multiple posts, repurposing content from other platforms, or re-sharing old content with a new tip, insight, etc.
Read news from your connections.
Your connections post news, tips, and updates, which you can look over to stay current on industry trends and timely topics.
LinkedIn has many features for your personal and company brand. You can establish your expertise through the LinkedIn content platform, interact with your community via brand pages and groups, and reach out to others via LinkedIn messaging. Also, LinkedIn offers opportunities to network every day - both with individuals you may know and those you’ll want to know. You can expand your business connections through LinkedIn far more than by using Facebook or Twitter.
Are you already using LinkedIn? Or need help getting started? Contact LinkPoint today to see how we can help you grow your brand on LinkedIn.
Already using LinkedIn for your personal profile? What about for your Company?
Check out Part Two.