Do I really need a LinkedIn profile?
If you are a working professional, the answer is an unequivocal YES! You might be thinking, “LinkedIn only matters if you’re looking to change your job.” WRONG! While many may use LinkedIn as a job searching tool, it is actually the best place to connect with business professionals and do marketing outreach in your field.
Unlike other social media websites, business is the primary focus on LinkedIn. Think of LinkedIn as the perfect blend between the polished professionalism of a company website and the friendly interaction of a social media profile.
With more than 467 million users, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, gaining more than two members every second. As a matter of fact, 57% of companies have a LinkedIn Company Page. This makes it the perfect platform for B2B marketing, finding leads, and making sales.
Here are some tips to consider when creating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile:
■ Profile picture: Use a high quality professional photo (any size between 400 x 400 pixels and 20,000 x 20,000 px)
■ Cover photo: Use an image or a quote that will reflect your field or personality (1584 px wide by 396 px high)
■ Headline: Tailor it to your audience
■ Experience: When sharing your work experience, relevance is key. Only use experience that is pertinent to your field.
■ Recommendations: Recommend others and ask for recommendations from close contacts
■ Endorsements: Endorse others and ask others to endorse you
Profile is set! What now?
Great job— now the real work begins: Just like any other social media platform—BE social! Here are some actions you can take to get your started:
Add connections. LinkedIn helps you search for connections based on who you might know and makes suggestions for you. Think about your top targets and contacts and add them.
Join groups. Join groups in the areas where you can find buyers, clients, influencers, and competitors—you can join up to 50 groups! Follow members in the group and send them a message to connect with them— you can follow up to 5,000 people.
Follow companies. Start following companies that are important to you when considering your customers, prospects, competitors, partners, and vendors.
Share updates. Share content regularly that your followers will find interesting and informative. Just like any other social media platform, keeping an active profile drives engagement!
Want to take it up a notch? Here are some ways you can use LinkedIn to create leads and generate sales:
Search for important prospects, influencers, and referral sources. In the “Advanced” search on the top of the main page, you can look up people you want to connect with people at companies you’d want to connect with. For cold connections, it’s a good idea to follow someone before you connect with them. To do so, join a group they have joined and once you are accepted into the group, you can follow them.
Identify relationship targets. Highlight those people with whom you are not connected, and don’t currently know. Review their profiles for similarities or reasons to connect. If any of your mutual connections are strong relationships of yours, send them a message and ask them to introduce you.
Look at who’s viewed your profile. Look to see who is viewing your profile. If you haven’t connected already, reach out to make the connection.
Send messages. This is the most important step of all! Optimizing your profile means nothing if you aren’t actively reaching out to connect with potential leads. As you add new connections, send messages—say hello, catch up, check in, or set meetings with people who are worth your while. Don’t give up on the process!
This post was written by Angela Sharkey. Angela is BrandStar’s Social Media Manager.