When looking for a great venue for connecting with your target audience, LinkedIn is simply the perfect platform. According to LinkedIn, the company’s mission is: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. When you join LinkedIn, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.”
LinkedIn has grown into the largest professional social online network today, with over 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe. No matter what marketing strategies you’re currently deploying, networking is still one of the most important skills that you could learn in order to make your business a success story. Creating a business profile and optimizing your personal profile will help you generate leads and get your business noticed by your target audience. If you are a professional or a business owner, you can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to build relationships with potential customers, clients, partners and peers on LinkedIn.
Here are 9 ways to do that:
Leave Nothing to Chance
It’s your profile. Be sure to fill it out completely. Summarize your accomplishments succinctly, highlighting your achievements with such powerful verbs as “refined,” “enhanced,” “directed” and “excelled.” Above all, avoid clichés.
LinkedIn even keeps you informed on how well your overall profile is optimized:
Get and Use a Flattering Headshot
In a world so heavily dependent on social interaction, it should surprise no one that profiles displaying a professional likeness attract almost 70 percent more attention than those that don’t. Skip this step and expect to be overlooked. Read “A Professional Photographer’s Guide to Getting the Right LinkedIn Profile Photo” for additional tips and best practices.
Make Intelligent Use of Your Headline
Your default LinkedIn headline displays nothing more than your current job title and company name, and when marketing yourself is your primary goal, that’s sadly insufficient. Take the time to edit this field, take the keywords that are important to your business and add them in your headline. Remember do not stuff keywords, instead use the keywords to make a statement about what your business is and what you can provide for potential customers.
Edit Your “Vanity” LinkedIn URL
An example is https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisraulf. This will enable your LinkedIn profile link to show up in search results under your name on all the major search engines. It is important to claim those results for your name as they provide a gateway into your personal brand. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to create your personalized URL on LinkedIn.
Grow Your Network
Your existing contacts—your “natural” network—can provide a rich online networking experience and can help you quickly ramp up your visibility. This foundation network is key to creating a powerful presence on LinkedIn!
To uncover all of your connection opportunities, go to “Add Connections” in your navigation menu, which is listed under “Contacts.”
Your status updates should add value to your target markets. A best practice is to update your status one to two times daily. Also, spread out your updates rather than posting them all at once.
A fantastic tool for adding value in your industry is to take advantage of LinkedIn Today. This is LinkedIn’s top news tool available right there inside the network. You can customize your news updates by industry and easily share relevant stories with your connections.
Join and Contribute to Groups
The profiles of LinkedIn members who maintain active membership in relevant organizations have a five-times-greater chance of being viewed, and the attendant display of these groups on the profile page can only prove a plus.
Stay in the Know
Following companies of interest can alert you to what is happening in the industry, and commenting professionally on their updates will assist in both boosting your profile and potentially attracting their attention.
Content Marketing is King
Posting content to your profile on a regular basis will keep you looking current, and backing it up with attractive images will help to strengthen the impact. It’s important to keep it professional, though. Save all personal updates for your Facebook page.
If you don’t already take advantage of the LinkedIn Long-form publishing platform as part of your content marketing strategy, here are 3 best practices and tips for LinkedIn Long–form publishing.
There are so many features and tools available with LinkedIn to help grow your business. It’s a networking treasure chest for any businessperson, filled with opportunities to deepen existing relationships, meet new professionals and add value to members of your target markets. To take advantage of all of these opportunities, it is important to spend time learning as much as you can. I recently taught a half-day LinkedIn training workshop in the Denver area and was a bit surprised by how underutilized this tool is. Hey, it’s never too late to get started taking advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer. Follow our blog to learn more about how to leverage LinkedIn and other social media channels, and stay tuned for SEO and digital marketing workshops that will help get you more traffic to your site.
About the Author
Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique SEO training and consulting agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Chris and his team assist local, national as well as international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs.
Chris has 15+ years of digital marketing expertise under his belt and The Online Marketing Institute recently added him to their “Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014” list.