In my work with business owners and organizations, I often find that many professionals overlook the value of maintaining a strong presence on LinkedIn. The assumption is that if they’re not looking for a job, there’s really no reason to be there. If that’s how you’re thinking, you’re definitely missing the boat!
Your business branding has a digital footprint on the web that extends far beyond your website. Consider that any mention of your business name online spans many sources, such as websites of membership organizations, review sites, and social media platforms – including LinkedIn!
Alternatively, if you’re an Independent Professional, you are your own brand, so the same holds true. When your name is searched online, your LinkedIn profile is likely to be among the first listings on page one of results.
Here are a few facts you should know about Linkedin:
Approximately ¼ of all adults who are active online use LinkedIn. That’s a lot of people. Nearly half of all college graduates maintain a presence on LinkedIn. Another interesting fact to note is that LinkedIn has more users over the age of 30 compared to other social networks. That’s a lot of smart people, who have been around a while and are more likely to be in senior roles and decision-making positions.
Any business offering a product or service that is B2B in nature or appeals to this market segment should tap into the power of using the LinkedIn platform to fuel sales growth.
This is why it makes perfect sense why LinkedIn is the preferred social platform for consultants, speakers, authors and other independent professionals to set themselves apart. Anyone with a product to sell can also work this platform to build rapport and be more widely recognized as a trusted resource.
If you have expertise in a specific field, why not be a thought leader? Share news that relates to your field. Identify your niche market and create and share content of interest to that market segment.
Here are a few tips to branding yourself on LinkedIn.
1.) Use a professional profile photo! You should choose a professional headshot photo with minimal background and no other people in view! Brand yourself with a cover image as well. Thoroughly consider the imagery chosen here, as it gives your profile page an immediate sense of who you are and what you do. These are important elements of your own personal branding campaign.
2.) Be sure your profile information is up-to-date and complete. On the right side column, at the top of your profile page, there is a visual indicator that shows you if any areas are incomplete. Beyond basic resume details, you can reference examples of your work using print, photos, slideshows and video. If applicable, include news clips too.
3.) Maximize the power of an optimized summary. You have the freedom to use this introductory section beyond simply outlining past accomplishments. Consider this to be the landing page for your personal brand. What opportunities are you seeking? Target who you’re hoping to reach and clearly state what’s to be gained in making a connection with you.
4.) Get Recommendations! Here is where you get to feature testimonials from those who know you best. Recommendations are validated third party endorsements — social proof freely given by those who have done business with you previously can go a long way in eliminating uncertainties for a prospect considering doing business with you going forward.
5.) Export Your LinkedIn Connections. Own your list of contacts. Once you’ve built a solid list of connections on LinkedIn, export this data in a spreadsheet or as a .csv file. To do this, click on Connections, then Settings (the gear icon), and on the next page under Advanced Settings, you’ll see a link to export a file containing your contacts’ first and last names, email addresses, job titles, and companies.
One more bonus tip! Customize your LinkedIn profile URL. Rather than having a series of numbers in your profile web address you can make it easy to recognize, like mine: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenetchells
(When you visit my LinkedIn profile, please make a request to connect!)
To set this up for yourself, go to Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile, you’ll see a URL link under your profile photo, and below that, “Customize your public profile URL.” Move your cursor over the link and click the Settings icon next to it.
Okay, now that you’ve properly set up your Linkedin page, you’ll see that your profile views greatly increase. Demonstrate your expertise by creating and sharing helpful information that is of value to your target market. If it resonates, you’ll get likes and shares and more readers will be exposed to your work. Social networking is a two-way street, so respond to what others post as well.
The more you engage in the media — sharing of yourself, and your expertise and passion for what you do, followers will take notice. While it can take time, these efforts will eventually pay off in conversions – meaning new business for you!
Karen Etchells is a Digital Marketing Strategist with Innovast Digital Marketing, helping businesses find success online with Website Design, Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media Management, and Email Marketing.