Social Media has been helping the world connect for decades. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter gave birth to a whole new lease of gratifications that older generations couldn’t have possibly imagined.
LinkedIn falls into this category but offers something different and, I think, more valuable.
Instead of getting updates on what your neighbour has had for dinner (Carbonara), or what Kim K has decided to name her most recent child (Chicago), LI can offer market insights, access to prospective clients or even find you a new role. It also gives you the opportunity to build your own personal (or company) brand without any sort of marketing spend, if you do it right.
The first step is basic: make sure your profile is up to date and complete.
You see a lot of people on LinkedIn who are active (big tick), but then have sub-par profiles. That’s the equivalent of delivering a great sales pitch, then a client seeing your offices are in a shed.
From a recruitment standpoint. People are starting to put a link to there LI profiles on their CV a lot more. Be like these guys and take pride in your profile!
Next, make some noise. It’s great to see people engaging in conversation when putting posts up. I love seeing seasoned professionals in my market having discussions online, not always agreeing. That’s what LinkedIn is all about – a platform for professional conversation and debate. Just sharing articles isn’t enough either – LinkedIn is, I think, the most social of all the social networks. It thrives off opinions. That means share content about what you’re interested in, but post your own opinion with it, too. Otherwise you’re just acting as someone else’s mouthpiece. Even better – if you want engagement include a ‘call to action’ in there – pose a question to your network and start a conversation!
Using groups is another method of connecting with like-minded people. There is a group for just about everything. I've seen technology focused groups (Next Generation Sequencing for example), there is even a group for LinkedIn's chocolate lovers! These are a great way of getting industry updates and sharing opinions. From a marketing standpoint, there isn’t a more stratified sample of potential business partners put into one place.
Traditionally, LinkedIn hasn’t been the place you go to look for originality. If your feed isn’t packed with recruiters talking about their ‘innovative’, ‘disruptive’ clients then it’s, well, recruiters talking about ‘fast paced’ and ‘market leading’ clients. My advice would be to avoid business jargon when speaking with people. You don’t need to say ‘hope you’re well’ – if you don’t, there’s a problem. Something else I’d advise is to drop the formality – LinkedIn is professional, but it’s a platform for conversation, not a board room.
If you want to engage with prospective clients or even candidates (I’ve got my recruiters hat on here), you want your posts to jump out at your target market. An easy and eye-catching way to do this is to simply attach a photo or video to what you are talking about. Nobody will scroll past an interesting photo and when they don’t, you have their attention.
Lastly, do a bit of this! Write articles, content and thoughts about what you know and are interested in, then share them! Don’t be uncomfortable with reaching out directly to the markets biggest opinion leaders directly via a message. Send them what you have written and get their thoughts. You have access to literally millions of other professionals who could be interested in your area, leading to conversations which might lead to new connections, friendships, deals or even a new job.
Hopefully this helps: I’d really like to hear any other tips from my network too – have you changed your personal LinkedIn strategy with great results? Let me know in the comments!