LinkedIn is today’s top business networking website and where business professionals of all kinds migrate in hopes of making new connections and creating new business opportunities. It’s estimated there are now over 200,000 million Linked is users and it joins Facebook and Twitter as one of the world’s top social networking websites.
Although everyone and their dog has a LinkedIn profile nowadays for many people knowing how to use it to effectively is no easy task. For most business owners their experience with LinkedIn starts and ends with how many connections they make thinking bigger numbers will eventually convert into more leads or sales.
Sadly for most people this is not the case and once LinkedIn users don’t experience the results they are looking for their enthusiasm can drop in a hurry. There are countless profiles around the world that sit there with little or no activity because people have just given up thinking LinkedIn just doesn’t work for them (at least when it comes to getting more customers).
Speaking from experience however I can tell you that LinkedIn is indeed a very strong promotional tool that when used the right way can be a great source of free marketing for your business.
Like anything else though in life getting the results you want takes some time and commitment so don’t expect too much too quickly. Once you get a better understanding of how LinkedIn works however it will expose your business to a whole new audience not available anywhere else.
On that note here are 10 important tips to remember that will help generate more interest for your business on LinkedIn:
1. Make Sure Your Profile Is Completed Properly: Before doing anything else make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out properly. Choosing to not to complete your LinkedIn profile in full is the equivalent of filling out a job application and leaving half of the fields blank. For people to take your seriously it’s important to treat your LinkedIn profile as an online resume that features your best skills and accomplishments. People must view you as a credible resource for whatever service or product you are selling before they choose to investigate your company further.
2. Include Pictures, Links and Videos In Your Profile: LinkedIn continues to evolve with each passing day and now allows you to add pictures, links or even videos to your profile rather easily. Reading through endless text will bore your visitors in a hurry so anything you can do to spice it up a little is an advantage. If you have pictures of your business available or a portfolio or your work you want visitors to see make sure you include this in a place that’s clearly visible. A picture is worth a thousand words is an old but very true saying when it comes to LinkedIn or all other aspects of marketing.
3. Include a Call to Action In Your Profile: Rather than simply listing your business details in your profile try and include something that tells visitors what you want them to do next. Invite them to view your website, join your other social media pages or call you for a free consultation. A call to action creates more of an impulse response with people who otherwise may give your profile a look but won’t react with any sense of urgency. Don’t go overboard with any full blown sales pitches but communicate your message in a way that makes visitors want take the next step.
4. Update Your Status Regularly With Useful Content: Not updating your status on a regular basis is one of the major mistakes most LinkedIn users make and will make sure people forget about you fast. Once you make connections with people it’s important to make sure you stay in front of your audience so they get to know and recognize your brand. Post information relating to your line of work that others may find helpful including tips, articles, resources, videos, whatever. Once people begin to respect you as an authority of your particular subject matter they are more likely to contact you in the future.
5.Target Your Approach When Making Connections: A lot of people will try and add new connections randomly which is still considered technically a no-no by official LinkedIn policies. If you are going to try and make connections with people you haven’t met before try and think logically what people could benefit from your type of service. Also try and make connections with people in a similar industry to you or who offer complimentary services so there is a valid reason for you to make that connection. Collecting a bunch of people who have no interest in you or your business may build up your numbers quick but won’t help generate buzz for your business. Also remember if your business serves only local customers that you are trying to connect with people in the same area as you.
6. Join Multiple Groups and Actively Participate: There are countless groups on LinkedIn for almost every topic imaginable so join some that interest you and get involved. Just like if you don’t post regularly in your status updates not posting regularly in your groups won’t garner you much attention either. Remember the goal of a group is to network, meet new people and turn them into acquaintances through meaningful conversations. Groups are a great way to build your list of connections but also target specific areas of interest that make sense when promoting your business.
7. Optimize Your Profile For Search Results: Many people even now don’t realize you can do a search on LinkedIn very similar to how a Google search engine works. People do not just search for someone’s name on LinkedIn they search for topics or businesses they are interested in as well.Try to include important keywords throughout your profile that other people may use to search for your type of company. Profiles that are well optimized will show up at the top of many common LinkedIn searches and will bring more targeted traffic to your profile page.
8. Create A LinkedIn Business Page and Make People Aware of It: Yes LinkedIn as officially jumped on the business page bandwagon joining the likes of Facebook and Google+. If you haven’t started one yet do so immediately because building up a business page always takes weeks if not months to get going. If you have a strong list of LinkedIn contacts already send them a personal message to follow you on your business page as well (and make sure you are willing to return the favour). Your business page will let you showcase your company in ways your personal profile will not with better options for photos, videos, posting options and more. Do not neglect your normal profile when building your business page either, the two must work off each other as a cohesive unit for the best results.
9.Say Hello to People You Add or Who Add You: Whether people openly admit or not they will often add a new connection or accept an invitation to connect with no dialogue or interaction in between. You won’t be good friends with every contact you have on LinkedIn but at least try to engage some of them in a manner that lets them know you appreciate their connection. If it’s simply sending a personal message saying nice to meet you and thanks for adding me a personal message goes a long way in building relationships with others. Acknowledging someone as not just another random connection but a real life person lets you stand out in the crowd almost immediately.
10. Get a Professional Photo Taken: You’ve probably heard the saying “image is everything” or perception is reality” a million times before. Whether it’s fair or not having a striking profile picture will make you appear important and more like a big wig in LinkedIn circles everywhere. Professional photos have a huge impact in any aspect of marketing whether its websites, magazines, or print ads you get in the mail. If your profile pictures is poor or just average that’s what your first impression will likely be with others. Also don’t ever use personal photos for your LinkedIn profile, make sure you look the part of someone others would want to do business with.
Of course there are more advanced methods of LinkedIn marketing once you get the hang of it and start to see he results you’re after. Remember there is no magic formula in creating the perfect LinkedIn strategy it is a skill you must practice and develop over time. Work hard and stay consistent with your efforts and the results will finally pay off.
Jeff Moyer – Owner & Creative Director of The Calgary Web Design Network