If your customers are other businesses or have specific industry interests, you might want to give LinkedIn a second look. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members, and we are growing rapidly. Our mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Setting Up your LinkedIn account is the first part step. Follow these simple and easy Steps to Get Started on LinkedIn:
To join LinkedIn and create your profile:
- Navigate to the LinkedIn sign up page.
- Type your first and last name, email address, and a password you'll use.
- Click Join now.
- Complete any additional steps as prompted.
Learn more about:
- What to do if you get a message that states that your email address is already registered
Creating Your Profile
STEP #1 - Add a photo
The picture should be of your face. Not your dog. Or a waterfall. Chose a simple headshot where you are looking straight ahead. No selfies. It's well worth the money to have a professional picture taken. Remember, it doesn't have to be boring or artificial. You don't have to wear business attire if that's not your style. But you need to look professional and pleasant. Smile. You are going for "dependable" and "trustworthy." Avoid "sexy" or "quirky."
The old adage is true. People remember faces more than names. This is also why one needs to see your face and not some other part of you. For example, a yoga instructor should still use a headshot and not a photo of her/himself in a yoga pose. Pictures that attest to skill or talent can be uploaded elsewhere on your profile, along with training videos and presentation materials.
STEP #2 - Craft a strategic headline
You have 120 characters at the top of your profile to describe to the world what you do. Many people just put their official job title. Which is one way to go… or you can really use the system to your advantage here. Choose descriptive and compelling keywords that a) make you as marketable as possible, and b) help you get found by the right people. Remember, LinkedIn is a search engine.
Examples of effective headlines are "Recruiter, HR, Talent Management Expert" or "Brand Marketing, PR, Communications Professional." Comes in handy especially if you are currently looking for work.
- 1st impression of you
- Be specific who you are and do
- Eg. marketing rep vs “marketing exec / growth strategy / channel development”
- Use relevant keywords (Check jobs you would want or similar and use similar terms “talk the lingo”)
- Don't put unemployed (use skills to fill employment gaps)
STEP #3 - Write Your summary
LinkedIn's Summary section is the best part of its 2012 revamp. You can include high-resolution photos, an infographic of your experience, or a video of a talk you gave. It is well worth it to put in the effort to write a unique and captivating summary section.
You can think of it as your "60-second commercial" or your "elevator speech." These are the first sentences people read, and you have a very short time to grab the reader's attention and make them want to read more.
There are several ways to write a good Summary. It could be a copy/paste of your resume's summary section. Or it could read more like your bio. You could take a core competencies approach and list the three or four key skills you bring to the table. You could take an accomplishments approach and list the three or four big results you have achieved on behalf of your past employers or clients.
Or you could get quite creative and pair an interesting story with a section called "what you won't find on my resume." How far you can go in terms of creativity depends to some extent on your industry, as some are more traditional than others.
In any event, at the end of this section, the reader must have a strong idea of who you are and how you help people. End with a Call to Action (CTA) — for example, "Please reach out to discuss opportunities in X, Y, and Z."
- Manage you featured skills and endorsements
- Endorsements capture eyeballs
- Rearrange so strongest skills are on top
STEP #4 - Incorporate photo and video
- Post your skills in a clip don’t just speak them (“I am a speaker)
STEP #5 - Share your skills
Your experience is the body of your profile — just like on a traditional resume — where you really showcase your experience, expertise, and skills. You add where you have worked, for how long, and in what roles and functions. Include your current position and at least two other positions.
There are two basic ways to handle this section:
- Adapt it from your resume; you can copy/paste the relevant job descriptions and accomplishments for each position.
- If you are uncomfortable listing too much information under specific employers, you can simply add the name of employer, your position, dates, keep the rest blank, and include in the Summary a more general "skills-based" experience piece.
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- Your summary / bio description
- Add your Experience
After You've Set Up Your Account
Highlight Your Content
Your cover photo is the first thing people will see, so be sure to have one! While you're at it, you can now upload photos and files to share with your followers.
Next, fill out your company profile as completely as possible, especially the "Products & Services" section. This section also is a great place to promote any presentations, webinars or guides you've produced. Include a call-to-action, like "view now" or "download for free" and have a link to the page on your website where the content lives.
Start Sharing Updates
Post relevant business articles that you come across and share all your corporate blog posts. You want people who are visiting your page to see lots of activity! Your updates also will show up in the activity feeds of your connections = more exposure for your business and more chances they will get liked, commented on, or shared = even more exposure! You'll also be able to get analytics on which posts get the most engagement.
Invite Your Personal Connections
This is a no brainer! Ask everyone on your personal Facebook, Twitter, and other networks to check out your company on LinkedIn and connect. Don't forget to send an email campaign to your company's email subscriber list, too.
Use LinkedIn Social Plugins
These plugins are simply buttons that tell people you're active on LinkedIn. There are "follow" buttons (clicking it prompts a visitor to follow your LinkedIn page) and "share" buttons (clicking it prompts a visitor to share that piece of content with their LinkedIn connections). Add these plugins to your website, blog posts, and in your email newsletter campaigns to get people following you and sharing your content.
Join a LinkedIn Group
There are LinkedIn groups for almost every industry profession and skillset. Why join a group? It's an opportunity to make new connections, flaunt your expertise (e.g., if you answer a question posed to the group), keep your finger on the pulse of what's going on in your industry, and share your content!
Tip: You might find an overwhelming number of groups out there, so you might need to spend a little bit of time researching which ones are active and have a large membership base.
Like any social network, people aren't going to flock to you on LinkedIn overnight. But give it a few months, and track your engagement levels so you know whether or not it's accomplishing what you want. You just might be surprised at the activity--and exposure--you get!
Ensure you have a "Fully Completed Profile". LinkedIn says your profile will appear 40 times more in search results if it is "complete." In other words, you will be open to 40 times more opportunities if you do this. So please do. Here is LinkedIn's definition of a 100% Complete Profile:
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of 3)
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections