Guest post written by Jessica Edmondson
If you had a dollar for every time you were told that your business needs to be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+, well, you’d probably have enough to forget the business completely and live out the rest of your days on a yacht moored in Bora Bora or somewhere of the like.
Unfortunately, those dollars won’t be forthcoming any time soon, so optimizing your business’ social media profiles remains of the utmost importance, and today we’re going to concentrate on LinkedIn.
So, what is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is an incredibly important networking tool, a place for professionals to skip the small talk and get down to business. It’s the perfect platform to highlight your business’ strengths, attract new clients, improve (and lengthen) relationships with existing ones, and maintain all important top of mind awareness within your particular industry.
LinkedIn means business, and professionals on LinkedIn will expect you to present yours in the best light possible. Act on the following tips to make sure your LinkedIn profile is working as hard as you do.
1. Write a Great Headline
The importance of a good headline can’t be understated, it’s one of the first things potential clients or customers will see, and it will help them decide if they want to spend any more of their valuable time reading what you have to tell them. Your headline should be accurate (in fact, grammar and spelling), easily understood, attract attention, and most importantly, set the tone for your profile. Yes, that’s a lot to ask, but it’s worth spending time on this all important element. This great blog piece from LinkedIn influencer Liz Ryan will help you come up with a killer, or check out The Undercover Recruiter for a few fun but effective examples.
2. Exploit the Visuals
As of June 4th this year, LinkedIn have taken inspiration from the likes of Facebook and Twitter and embraced a more visual format. Premium members can now benefit from a larger profile picture and a customizable header image that spans the width of the screen. This is great news, and definitely something you should take advantage of. Visual information is processed sixty thousand times faster by the brain than text, according to HubSpot.
There’s a lot to be said for the old adage ‘seeing is believing.’ As well as capturing the notoriously short attention span of web users in a sea of data and information, using a relevant image also helps to lend your profile credibility, so choose wisely.
3. Pay Attention to Your Summary
Your summary is your chance to be creative and describe your company in a way that will capture people’s attention. Think about your audience, your summary needs to be relevant to them while emphasizing your unique selling point, something that this content creation guide can help you with.
Your summary should emphasize your business’ strengths and values, both of which should be reflected in its tone. It’s also a great place to introduce your brand story.
4. Be Active
The whole point of LinkedIn is building and engaging your professional network in order to access knowledge, insights and opportunities that are relevant to you, so don’t be afraid to connect with people you’ve only met once or twice. As of March 2014, LinkedIn lists your profile as incomplete until you have at least 50 connections, which affects how easy it is for people to find it.
LinkedIn is the perfect place to be opportunistic, so be sure to join groups that will let you connect with your target audience. Having a group in common is the perfect reason to reach out and invite people or businesses to join your network.
As well as joining groups, be sure to post content. Similarly to the ‘if you had a dollar’ situation above, you’d probably be a millionaire by now if it were for every time you were encouraged to try content marketing.
LinkedIn offers you the perfect platform to reach potential business partners with your consistently valuable, relevant content. Share your professional expertise in order to engage with your fellow LinkedIn members and you could see your network grow considerably. Remember to use industry keywords when writing content descriptions to help people find it and give your profile an SEO boost.
5. Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements
LinkedIn’s endorsement feature enables people in your network to endorse the skills that you’ve listed in the skills and experience section of your profile. It’s just like a reference, and gives your business’ profile an instant credibility boost.
Be sure to think carefully and list the skills that you want to be endorsed for, and then don’t be afraid to ask your contacts to vouch for you. It’s incredibly simple for them to do, and goes a long way towards validating the strengths that you want to be known for.
LinkedIn has over 259 million members, and they’re all there to talk business. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your own mini website, the perfect place to showcase what you’re all about. Having a complete profile and actively engaging with the platform can have an impressive impact on your bottom line. Don’t let your business get left behind.
Jessica is a writer and content marketer at Distilled, a creative online marketing company. She particularly fancies small business topics that involve social media and branding. You can circle her on Google+ here or follow her on Twitter here.