What is LinkedIn?
With a reputation for helping you make connections for business development, LinkedIn is the go-to social media platform to have a professional profile. You can:
- Build connections and expand your network
- Join discussion groups and learn from experts
- Follow companies you’re interested in working for
- Get the inside scoop on business opportunities
- With over 347 million users and 2 new potential connections joining every 2 seconds, that’s 360 people you could have met in the last hour. While most people use this business community based social media platform for employment opportunities, small business owners need to use that network to bring exposure to their most important asset: their business.
First things first: let’s build your profile.
Building a LinkedIn Profile
This will appear directly under your name. It is usually generated from your most recent employment but can be edited. It’s crucial that this contain the industry that you work in and your tagline if you have one. Take advantage of the custom LinkedIn URL and contact info that you can add in this section.
Your summary is the next section visitors will see on your profile. This is where you highlight your actions and outcomes that set you apart from other people in your industry. Whether you are happily employed or seeking a new position, it’s crucial that this summary reflect your professionalism, goals, and accomplishments. With it being the first section, it’s vital that it is well written and typo-free. New to LinkedIn is the opportunity to attach video, pdf, images or web links which is a great way to highlight things you’ve created or been a part of.
Skills and Endorsements
LinkedIn allows you to select specific skills that are relevant to your industry. Why is it important to take the time to do this? Because it matches you up with key search words and puts you on the home page automatically of your network who can then provide endorsements. What does that mean? Social proof from industry colleagues / professionals that you can do what you say you can do.
This is a chronology of work experience just like a resume but you can add digital files and provide proof of skills right away. Each section allows you to be descriptive about the actions and outcomes in your industry you achieved at each position and it’s crucial that you include these. It’s not enough to say you’ve done something: prove it! You can also add projects in another section that relate to your experience and add team members. These are then attached to your experience section.
While education is never an indicator of someone’s potential to be successful, if you’ve got degrees or certifications that support your skills, make sure to include them. Are you a serial student who takes advantage of online courses to get better at your profession? This shows dedication to learning and self- improvement and employers love to see that you take doing your job well seriously.
Showing that you are a well-rounded person through volunteer roles, activities and interests demonstrates that you are more likely to fit into a new team and take on challenges.
The right recommendations can help your profile and build more trust with customers and fellow business owners. Have you successfully completed projects with business partners? Were you a part of a team that put on a great event? Did one of your marketing campaigns go viral? Ask satisfied clients for recommendations and provide references right on your profile!
How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Business
Create a Company Page
A company page can be created once you’ve setup your personal profile. It needs to be just as detailed as your personal profile in order to get the attention you’re looking for. Images, videos, company description, staff, taglines, product or service descriptions: as much as possible. Remember that any content you put on your company page (and yes, you need to be adding content on a regular basis) can then be socially shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and your personal LinkedIn profile.
Participate in LinkedIn Groups
Show your expertise and to get involved in popular discussions within your industry. When it’s time to hire employees or grow your business, you’ve already developed an online presence that makes your business more attractive. Showing interest in learning about new products or services in your industry not only creates a feeling of goodwill with competitors but also keeps you up to date on potential opportunities for innovation.
Even if you aren’t active on any other social media channel, it’s important to have fresh content going on to your LinkedIn business page. Press releases, product descriptions, announcements of new staff, events, etc. but remember the 80 / 20 rule. 80% educational or interactive and only 20% marketing. Share articles, blogs posts or other content found on the internet that will helpful to potential clients.
Now that you’ve got these great profiles, add them to your email signature. It’s an easy way to generate interest and get traction on your pages.
I hope that this helps and that you start to explore the world of LinkedIn.