If you’re looking to do professional networking online, there’s one social media platform that far outshines the rest: LinkedIn. In 2018, the site had over half a billion members in more than 200 countries, including executives from all of the Fortune 500 companies.
So if your goal is to increase professional connections or to broaden the ones you already have, there’s no better place to do so than LinkedIn. It’s the best platform available to make key connections and network with customers, mentors, employees and peers.
Sold on using LinkedIn but not sure how to best utilize it? Here are some simple steps you can use to get the most out of it.
- Create an authentic, personal profile. Already employed? Use your company’s branding as your cover photo. If you are looking for a job, use some type of scenery that speaks to your interests, like the mountains or the beach, and tells the reader a little bit about who you are.
- Showcase your expertise. You only get 120 characters in your headline, so make them count! Don’t just use the default entry LinkedIn gives you. Your headline should give the reader a brief snapshot of what it is that you actually do, and it should include any keywords you want to use to attract searches. In the about section, summarize your skills and describe your professional advantage. Make sure to complete your profile by listing any past or current jobs that shed light on your professional development, skills and expertise — just like you would on your resume.
- Ask for Recommendations. LinkedIn recommendations can make a huge difference to your online reputation and have a positive impact on your prospects as a job candidate. Think about how reviews impact your online buying habits; this is the same thing. However, having zero recommendations is better than having a few that are poorly written. At least five recommendations are suggested but the more the merrier!
- Highlight your skills and endorsements. Amplify your credibility by making sure your profile is complete with necessary skills and endorsements. LinkedIn is often used by recruiters, and this bit of information is included when they export your profile as a PDF. To see what your exported profile PDF looks like, click on the “More…” button just below the banner image on your profile.
- Meet peers and join groups. Find people you can learn from, join groups related to your industry, find communities of people who share your interests and goals, and follow organizations and influencers. If you see a post you like, invite the author to connect.
- Boost your company’s brand. Create a company page that tells the unique story of your business. Include your mission statement, history and information about your culture. You’re the face of your business, and you’ve worked hard to make it great. Use your profile to showcase your achievements and to add meaningful relationships with potential clients that keep your company growing.
- Add your team. Ask your team members to update their LinkedIn profiles and to connect with your company page as employees. This allows visitors to see the types of people represented at your company and boosts your company’s credibility.
- Attract customers. Invite existing and potential clients to connect with you. When you click connect, add a personal note as a reminder of how you met or to reinforce the value your business provides. Stay away from pushy sales techniques; LinkedIn users get spammed with these types of attempts every day.
- Find new team members. LinkedIn isn’t just for your current employees; you can also use it to find new hires. LinkedIn Talent Solutions is a great way to find top talent.
- Publish and share content. Post frequent company updates to attract more views. Share company news and discuss industry trends. Write articles and share your expertise to show you’re an authority in your industry.
LinkedIn is unlike any other social platform in existence. It is an important tool for creating memorable first impressions with like-minded professionals. The ability to leverage it as a marketing tool will be well worth the time you spend setting it up and monitoring it on a day-to-day basis.