29 Oct Getting the most out of LinkedIn
When you’re starting a new business, one of your first cyber pit-stops might involve setting up your LinkedIn profile and business page. Among the many (MANY) social media platforms, this professional networking site is going to be a staple for showcasing your work and presenting your corporate brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re one person or part of a growing team, LinkedIn is going to become the public face of your business.
Hang on to that thought, because it’s connected to the old adage that appearances matter. If a prospective client or future employee is going to scour your page for information, you want to make sure it presents you and your business in the best possible light. That means keeping strict and mindful control of the content, and paying attention to some key things.
- Use your 120-characters wisely
The first thing anyone is going to see when they search for your business is a picture and a brief 120-character description of what you do. Make it count! Be creative and fill the space with a description that does more than provide a basic job title or company name. If you’ve got a great catch-line or mission statement, this is where you’ll want to use it.
- Break out of Resume Mode
LinkedIn gives you the freedom to include all of the details that your standard two-page resume or corporate “About Us” web page couldn’t accommodate. Think of the information boxes as a way to tell your backstory, those intriguing details that give you and your business a tangible personality. Your descriptions need to be more than listings of your services and accomplishments. Be bold, be original, and most of all – be interesting. What makes you, you?
- Curb your enthusiasm
That being said, this isn’t Facebook. No photos of the company Christmas party or memes of a cat drinking from the toilet. The same goes for your team. Everyone engaged in your new enterprise should establish their own LinkedIn profile, but remember that they’re representing your business – they need to maintain a professional front. Charity fun-runs maybe, but “team building” night’s out… not so much.
- Keep your purpose front and centre
People use LinkedIn for a variety of different reasons. Many are job seekers or professional recruiters trying to match likely candidates with employment opportunities. Others use it as an informal method to stay in touch with their business contacts, the people they went to university with or met along their career path so far. In response, LinkedIn provides a host of features that allow people to message, join groups, forge new connections, and post articles. That can be a very deep rabbit-hole and very daunting if you’re new to the platform. So remember, you’re using LinkedIn as a way to showcase your new business – think of it as a massive billboard and stick to the basics when you’re getting started.
Yes, it can feel a bit like one of those social gatherings where you don’t know anyone and wish you were at home on the couch with a glass of wine and wearing your pj’s… but you should probably make an effort. Through LinkedIn, you can develop relationships with all kinds of people who will help your business grow. The principle is based on word-of-mouth and the greater your visibility, the more likely you are to find someone who has a problem that your business can solve. Or, more likely, they’ll find you.
- Take a course
At first glance, LinkedIn is a straightforward (um, kinda) networking tool. You post your profile, and then ask to connect with others you either know or can see have the same type of interests or skills. Potential clients can read all about your services and expertise, and you can search for likely suppliers or potential sources of business. That’s all you need to get started, but if you stop there you’ll only be skimming the surface of what LinkedIn can do.
To get the full benefit of the site, you need to understand how search engines work, how to maximize your visibility, and how to be found by clients looking for the services you offer. You may also benefit from becoming an authority for an online business group, or by starting one of your own. Fortunately, we can help you get started and give you a little LinkedIn crash course.
LinkedIn should be an anchor in your social media strategy, a tool that will help you establish your online presence and drum up new business. Build your profile as an expansion of your resume and use all the available space as a billboard to showcase your skills and services. Keep it professional, engaging and informative. Reach out to your contacts and build your network. Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider taking a course that will raise your comfort level and open new avenues for what is, fundamentally, a great marketing opportunity.