LinkedIn is the ultimate asset for the business world. The social media juggernaut is a 24/7 digital networking opportunity with 550 million users globally and growing at approximately 2 new users every second. No wonder Microsoft paid $26.2 billion for it.
With all of that said, many business owners and executives are not making the most of the platform. There are various reasons for this.
Some of the more common are:
- ‘I don’t understand how it works’
- ‘I don’t do all this new age stuff’
- ‘I just don’t have time for it’
- ‘I prefer to do my business in person’
- ‘All the connection requests I ever get are from someone trying to put the hard sell on me’
- ‘I never get any engagement’
The list goes on and while addressing the above points individually would be an article all on it’s own, this particular article focuses on showing people how to get the most value out of LinkedIn.
I was lucky enough to have a 3 hour workshop with Darrel Griffin, The LinkedIn Mentor recently. The value that Darrel imparted on us about the platform was immeasurable.
Darrell attributes LinkedIn success to his 3 P’s. I’ve outlined these for you below and included a little gift at the end for being nice.
In the modern world before anyone will meet you personally, they will check you out digitally. It’s a ‘no-brainer’ to use one of the ultimate tools at hand to do that. That’s why positioning is critical to success on LinkedIn. Communicating your value from the readers’ perspective can be done with the ‘analogy of the surgeon’.
Who’s the patient? What is the pain? What is the prescription?
Good positioning starts with the Summary and Experience sections of our profiles.
The summary section
Darrel recommends using a testimonial (from your client, not you) at the top of the summary to give you credibility. 92% of people go to others for recommendations in the modern age over a formal authority or institution so this is a great way to start your profile. Give people what they need.
Making use of an informal introduction eg. Welcome to my LinkedIn profile, I provide… is also a sound tactic. It makes you more approachable and less intimidating. LinkedIn is a networking platform and it’s all about the people. Your personal brand is the centrepiece of your content on LinkedIn and being ultra serious and formal may drive people away.
The experience section
This section is for showing the roles that you have performed (admirably) during your time as a professional. You can have multiple experience fields, so divide your experience into sections to have a better chance of segmenting your target audiences. It’s essential to have a company LinkedIn page if it’s your own business (Google loves them) so link it where relevant. Link to your past employer’s company pages if they are available.
Be sure to make the most of your title’s 100 characters so it’s clear, from a potential customer’s perspective, the problems and needs you can help solve for them. In addition to the ‘surgeon analogy’ previously mentioned, always frame your experience section with the three modes of persuasion – Ethos, Logos and Pathos. Read more about how to do that here.
Some other key pointers for positioning yourself well on LinkedIn:
- Always try and include media with your profile. Videos, blog posts, case studies, white papers and eBooks all contribute to your credibility and omnipresence on the platform.
- Make sure you make good use of the headline (a shortened and concise version of your summary). This appears with every comment you make on the platform.
- Get a professional photo taken for your head shot. Smile. Make sure you look approachable and inviting. Your photo speaks a million words and it’s essential to make a good visual first impression.
- Make sure you have your own background image. The LinkedIn default does not support your point of difference or your individuality.
So you have decided that LinkedIn will be one of your strategies for growing your business. Make sure you have the tactics.
Sun Tzu says:
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.
Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Before you start posting willy-nilly, it’s always a good idea to create a content plan. A content plan (the strategy) allows you to tell a longer story in engaging, bite sized pieces. Your videos, articles, eBooks, case studies, status updates etc (the tactics) should all contribute to your wider message and value offering. You can line your content up with special dates and holidays, financial dates, industry events, current industry news stories, legislation (be careful now) and more. Fail to plan your content, plan to confuse your audience. Make it relevant and nuanced, the sky is the limit.
What roles should your tactics play? Case studies and testimonials show your credibility through proof of positive outcomes you have delivered for your clients. Infographics are fantastic for visually communicating industry tips in an easily digestible manner and are great for sharing. Videos are the fastest and most effective way to create engagement and position you as a thought leader and authority in your area of expertise. eBooks and articles can leave a lasting impression on the reader if they include valuable steps that provoke thought, action and discussion with your potential customers. Professionally taken images build a polished presence and offer a nice mental break from the daily grind. Quotes from leaders align you with their thinking. Succinct and pithy text-only status updates with advice and insights are quick and easy to read and have the added bonus of not taking you away from the platform (and upsetting the algorithm) – questions are great for creating engagement and conversation on your posts.
It’s also essential to make sure you are engaging with posts and statuses of those in your network. Darrel states that for every post you create, you should be engaging with others on theirs ten times. Conversations, comments and likes all show you as the person you are. Be selective, liking and sharing relevant things to your industry. Make sure your comments are positive and add value at every opportunity. Be helpful and approachable!
Here’s where it is critical to get your communication right. LinkedIn is a social networking platform not a sales platform. The minute you start trying to sell on LinkedIn you’re done. Business owners and workers are savvy and switched on. They do their research and don’t like salespeople telling them what to do or how they are going to make a mistake if they don’t take your special offer. LinkedIn is there for you to meet people and build relationships online before taking the relationship to a level of trust and competence outside of the platform in person. You are there to help people, not to help yourself. Helping yourself comes as a byproduct of helping others. That’s the mindset you need to have on LinkedIn and might I add, in life in general.
Now for that little gift! Download my LinkedIn infographic and put it up in your office for your staff!
Here’s another one. Need a good mentor? Connect with Darrel Griffin and get him in to take you through the finer details of making LinkedIn work for your business.