If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you’re the type of person who already knows at least a little bit about LinkedIn.
However, our experience consulting with other businesses has taught us that many of a company’s employees don’t fully grasp the power of LinkedIn as a business development tool.
So why use it? LinkedIn is the No. 1 B2B social networking site in the world with 313 million members. But more impressive in terms of measuring ROI for your business, 77 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.
Those types of statistics convinced us that offering LinkedIn training for clients and their staff
members might be a valuable exercise. As we’ve gone through the process of training companies both small and large, we’ve learned that sticking to the training script in the allotted time period isn’t always feasible, particularly because the knowledge gap between employees in terms of understanding the tool is so vast. Some want to go right into the Advanced Search tool for instance, while others are asking how you can connect with someone or upload their photo.
Therefore, it’s nearly impossible to cover the full spectrum of what you can do on LinkedIn in a single blog. You could write dozens of posts about the intricacies of the tool. But when it comes to covering the basics, we thought highlighting some best practices when it comes to enhancing your LinkedIn profile and building connections would provide a solid foundation for anyone who hasn’t dedicated enough time to maximizing his or her presence on LinkedIn.
Enhancing Your LinkedIn profile
1. First, identify a list of keywords prospects would search for when looking for the services you offer (e.g. human resources, strategy, consultant, compensation, insurance, manufacturing, technology, financial advising, health care, retirement, defined benefit, etc.). Then, include those keywords throughout your entire profile.
2. Write an effective headline. For search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, this is where to describe exactly what you do and include additional relevant keywords. Don’t just restate your job title. For example, instead of “senior manager at XYZ solutions,” try something like “health care consultant,” “strategic communications and marketing planner,” “government relations and policy advisor.”
3. Include a professional photo to let people know you take LinkedIn seriously and are active on the network. This is a big one and easy to do. Many people won’t bother to connect with you if you don’t have a photo, because they assume you never use LinkedIn.
4. Write a detailed summary of who you are. Reiterate what you do, why a client should work with you and clearly differentiate yourself. Again, include keywords throughout.
5. Fill in your job responsibilities at each position you have listed. Yes, this can be time consuming, but most info can be pulled from your resume or CV.
6. Connect, connect, connect. Make it a habit to connect with people who you really know or have actually met by using the search tool or “people you know” area on the right side of the tool. The more connections you have, the easier it will be for you to direct message others and reach out for referrals to business prospects. Remember, connections should represent your “real-world” contacts. When asking to connect to someone you don’t know, be sure to include a note in your request that explains why you’d like to connect with that person. Refrain from using LinkedIn’s generic invite text.
7. Add skills you have in the “skills” section so your connections can go to your profile and endorse you. Endorsements are less time consuming to give and receive than “recommendations” and are a great way to add keywords. Important note: Make sure you give and receive endorsements for skills you and your connections really have.
8. Finally, don’t skip the more time consuming process of getting “recommendations” that help build your reputation. You’ve included great content describing yourself. Recommendations allow a third-party to validate what you’ve said. Look at your connections and determine who would be willing to give you a recommendation. Then ask for one. Give recommendations to get them back. Connections will often reciprocate the favor.
Bottom line: These are some easy first steps to help you get found on search engines and enhance the SEO of your LinkedIn profile.