How to use LinkedIn more effectively and avoid common mistakes
Even in 2016, some people still view LinkedIn as just an online CV that they can keep updated and direct people to as and when appropriate. The thing is, a lot has changed since the early days of LinkedIn and there is huge potential for those that utilise the network correctly and maintain a regular presence on the social network.
Here are some quick tips to get you thinking about the numerous ways in which you can utilise LinkedIn more effectively for more exposure.
Set your headline and job titles correctly
The headline is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile for a few reasons. Firstly, being at the very top of the page it should be able to keep the interest of anyone reading it instead of allowing them to go elsewhere to your competitors. Secondly, it holds value in search engines like Google allowing you to get more exposure as long as you take the time to write and format your text correctly.
You should also make sure that your job titles are up to date and include any keywords that are applicable and best describe the role. Think about how users would find you if they didn’t know you or your name. From that, you should use those terms to fill in the blanks.
Think about your display picture
Display pictures or ‘profile pictures’ are arguably more important on LinkedIn than any other social platform. Adding the right picture to your LinkedIn profile helps create that trustworthiness and general credibility that is hard to gain without one.
Obviously it goes without saying that you should pick a professional image of you that shows people the trustworthy face behind the name.
Stay active on LinkedIn
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people create their profiles and think of it as an online CV only to log off never to return! You should be active on LinkedIn staying in the view of the people that may want to use you and your business due to the reputation generated by being active, posting useful content and having a well written profile that you constantly add to.
As with any other social network, interacting and engaging with the community is very important – if you read something interesting or useful, don’t just save it and click off – ‘like’ the post or share if you think that others will benefit from reading it.
If you found a post to be useful, be sure to tell the user that posted it! It sounds obvious but online we tend to miss these very basic interaction opportunities. Obviously not everyone you speak to will mean business but it’s a healthy habit to get into early on when starting out on LinkedIn or any social platform for that matter.
Explore through the profiles of others, they will see that you have been visiting and viewing their pages and then curiosity kicks in and sure enough they will be viewing you and your profile to see what you are all about and what you can offer. As long as you have catchy well-written content that holds their attention, you have the best chance at generating work – much more so than just having a long boring list!
Use LinkedIn to follow up after networking
Many people attend networking events in person as they can be very useful when combined with your social media efforts. When you are networking, be sure to encourage people to connect with you on LinkedIn but don’t just let that be the end of it and wait it out – be proactive and gain details from the people you meet and reach out to them on LinkedIn and other platforms. You have made a new contact/lead and it is important to grow, maintain and capitalise on that relationship by being connected and active when it comes to engaging and sharing their content online.
Join in with discussions
Conversations between people are happening all the time on LinkedIn and you shouldn’t be afraid to get stuck in! A lot of users are very quiet and tend to just go with the flow but you really need to be proactive with participating and directly engaging with the users that are likely to result in business, or ones that your product or service can help out.
You may feel after a while that you are giving more than you are receiving in terms of engaging, commenting and posting content to help others but that is perfectly fine. You are positioning yourself as an authority in your field and becoming the ‘go-to’ source for a professional opinion relating to your industry due to the fact that you are engaging in conversation, giving advice and sharing your knowledge. It won’t happen overnight but picking up these habits and the right mentality early on will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
Regarding your content that you share, as time goes on your catalogue of content will be growing and more often than not still as relevant a few years down the line (depending on the industry) so once your audience starts to grow, that great content will still exist. This is why you must not feel disheartened if initially your content doesn’t seem to be picking up much traction early on.
I have said again and again that your number one goal on social media should be to become your current and future customer’s personal problem solver. It’s no different on LinkedIn, you should set out your profile in a way that gives you the best chance at keeping people interested. Look over your profile and ask yourself ‘What do I have here that shows how I can help my customers /clients with their problem via my product or service’. This is what people are most interested in, not hearing you boast about how many qualifications or awards you have received.
Use LinkedIn for this rather than just a list of your previous jobs and qualifications, the fact is it isn’t the most important thing to a lot of people – they want solutions and the right company for the job and you better make sure that you can hook them within the first 10 seconds of them reading your profile. Always remember that your competitors are only one click away, use that as your motivation to keep active and constantly try new methods to attract clients to your page and keep them there.
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