Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BY ROBYN GOLDENBERG

LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms for business professionals. It’s a great place to connect with potential customers, partners, and both current and prospective employees, and it can be a powerful platform for small businesses that optimize their profile.

Robyn Goldenberg LinkedIn Facebook is the way many operators connect in this industry, so why LinkedIn? Simply, it’s known as the professional social networking site with more than 800 million users worldwide, according to the site. People who are using LinkedIn are going there for usually one purpose: to expand their professional network.

Still not convinced? There are more than 57 million companies listed on LinkedIn, and the COVID shutdown gave way to a 55 percent increase in conversations on LinkedIn in 2020. Eighty percent of active users drive business decisions, making LinkedIn the top network for B2B content marketers for organic marketing. LinkedIn also has 61 million senior-level influencers, 56 million decision-makers, 17 million opinion leaders, and 10 million C-level executives. Looking to hire talent? According to Hootsuite, 40 million people use LinkedIn to search for jobs every week, and an estimated three people are hired every minute across the platform. Are you starting to see why it’s essential to make sure that you are maximizing your personal (and company) LinkedIn profile?

If you’re targeting working professionals, executives, and other business owners, LinkedIn can be a great source of direct access to your ideal customer. The platform makes up more than 50 percent of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs, and 45 percent of content readers fall under upper management in companies. The best performing posts actually tend to be long-form content (1900+ words) like how-to articles and list-style posts. Users also tend to spend an average of seven minutes there each session. In short, it’s critical to have valuable and frequent content and build your network to ensure that your posts are getting in front of the right people.

Ready to get started?

1. Profile Setup Basics
As a user, you are seven times more likely to be found on LinkedIn if you have a profile picture and 12 times more likely to be seen if you include at least two past working experiences, according to data from the site. The first step is to upload a profile picture and a background picture, but be sure to use one that is professional, friendly, and accurately represents who you are now (not 10 years ago).

There are two immediate sections on your profile that allow you to tell people who you are and what you do: the headline and the personal summary. In your headline, you have 120 characters to tell your prospects who you are, what you do, and why they should care. Use this limited space to include more than just your title: “President of ABC Company” doesn’t tell me why I should connect with you. Use this opportunity to add keywords relevant to what you want to be known for. LinkedIn has algorithms that can help you choose your headline, which I discourage using. Instead, a customized headline will distinguish you from all the other Presidents of ABC Company out there. An excellent example template to use for your headline is: [Job Title]: Helping X do Y—with X being your ideal prospect and Y being their perfect outcome.  

Next, the summary is the text box at the top of your profile where you have about 2,000 characters to give an overview of your professional life. This is your chance to highlight what is important about you and your professional experience relevant to your prospects, while showing off your personality at the same time. The standard on LinkedIn used to be that your profile was written like a biography (i.e., in third person), but that has changed. People want to connect with real people in their voice, not just outside representations of people. Your prospects want to hear from you in your voice. Think of it as your 30-second elevator pitch: speak to your skills, experience, and professional interests. 

Keep in mind that just as it is essential to your website, relevant keywords also play a role on LinkedIn to help drive your profile higher in the search. Think about how you can make your profile more visible to potential customers.

Lastly, if you want to get fancy with your profile setup, you can edit your LinkedIn URL to match your name. When you click on your profile, you’ll see a section on the top right-hand corner that says “Edit public profile & URL.” This will allow you to personalize your LinkedIn URL. My suggestion is to change this to include your full name, or the name you’re using on LinkedIn. As an example, my URL is LinkedIn.com/RobynGoldenberg. This simple adjustment makes your profile appear more professional and thought-out. 

2. Grow Your Network
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with people you know. You can do this by syncing your email contacts with LinkedIn, making it easy to find those to add to your network. When you have a lot of connections, it is more likely that people will accept your connection request, but this does not mean that you should link with random people to bulk up your credentials. As you build your network, having more than 500 connections can help boost your credibility when people view your profile and decide if they should connect with you or scroll by.

Looking to bolster your connections?

• Add a clickable link to your LinkedIn profile to your email signature.
• Follow up meetings with LinkedIn connection requests.
• Install the LinkedIn app on your phone to connect with people on the go/at trade shows. Turn on the “who’s around you” feature at events.

3. Spotlight the Services You Offer and List Your Pertinent Skills
LinkedIn offers an excellent opportunity to have a concise message about what you do and who you help. I suggest that your headline contains the services you offer. In your summary, talk more about how those services can benefit prospects. The skills section is another place where you can add keywords relating to your industry or expertise. This will make it easier for people to find you when they need someone with the skills listed in your profile. 

4. Share Company Marketing/Sales Collateral
Posting marketing or sales collateral (e.g., white papers, blog posts, e-brochures, pictures) not only demonstrates thought leadership but adds value to your network. It can be helpful to create a folder on LinkedIn specifically for this type of content. You can either post the link to the content in the comments of your posts or, even better, write a blog post summarizing the content and then include the link. One caveat: You don’t want to be “selling” all the time, but providing value to those in your network.

5. Grow Your Reach by Posting
Posting once per day on LinkedIn has become a standard best practice based upon data collected by HubSpot, which indicates that posting 20 times per month produces an average of 60 percent more page views than if one publishes only five times.

It’s important to stay active and interact with your connections, just like other social media platforms. LinkedIn may have different types of content versus Facebook or Instagram, but it is still a social networking platform:

• Share relevant content from your LinkedIn feed
• Like and comment on posts
• Follow applicable influencers (other business leaders, companies, etc.) to find content
• Create your content (case studies, industry news, how-to guides, quick tips, etc.)
• Use appropriate and relevant hashtags

Bonus Tips to Take Your Profile to the Next Level

Make sure your profile is complete and up to date. This may seem obvious, but having a full profile helps potential customers or partners learn more about you. It also gives them a way to contact you directly if they need more information or want to work/expand their relationship with you.

Use LinkedIn groups to connect with other professionals. These groups offer an opportunity for professionals from all industries and backgrounds to connect. When you join related groups, you can share your content and connect with and learn from other professionals from other verticals.

The best time to post on LinkedIn. This will likely be during business hours, Monday through Thursday, when people tend to be working and looking at their phones and laptops.

Incorporate LinkedIn ads into your marketing strategy. This can be a great way to reach out to specific prospects already in the market for your services. You can target potential customers based on their job title, company size, or other factors.

Learn more about LinkedIn sponsored content. This is where you can promote content such as a blog post, SlideShare presentation, or video. This is a great way to drive more traffic back to your website or landing page.

By following these tips, you can make sure your LinkedIn profile is doing its job marketing your small business. It’s important to remember that your profile should be tailored to your target audience and the services or products you offer. Have fun with it, and most importantly, stay active on LinkedIn! Are there any other tips you would add for creating a compelling LinkedIn profile? Let us know. And remember to connect with us on LinkedIn!   [CD0322]

Robyn Goldenberg is Director of Operations and Marketing for Strategy Leaders. She can be reached robyn@strategyleaders.com.