For many, LinkedIn is the corporate social media mainly used to network or get a job. But that’s not all there is about it.
Here’s a fact; LinkedIn has over 660 million users in more than 200 countries across the world. About 57 percent of LinkedIn users are male and 43 percent are female. 37 percent of adults, in the United States, who use LinkedIn are between 30 and 49 years old. Over 30 million companies use LinkedIn for business which makes it more than a social network for recruiting and hiring top talent. In fact, more and more brands are using LinkedIn marketing to network, connect, and sell.
It becomes somewhat sad when people sign up on the platform and after a long time of idleness reveal that they have no idea what to use it for. That’s a huge loss in the making.
The confusion is basically because there is no clarity on the goal for using the platform. So, to attend to the two basic categories in question here, let’s cater specifically to the career professionals and the businesses.
LinkedIn for the Career professional
- Create a findable and visually appealing profile:
A professional headline with your picture and your name is what people see most often on LinkedIn, so it’s worth it to take two to three minutes to craft something appealing. Upload a headshot as professional-looking as possible (even if you have to use pictures from a smart phone). Write a clear, straight to the point and compelling headline, which runs right under your name. Make your 120-character space like a mini elevator speech. It should be as creative, readable and easy to find- you can do this by using keywords for your industry. Don’t make the mistake of just stating your current job. If you have multiple careers or positions, focus on skill sets.
- Use your LinkedIn profile to showcase everything that does not fit into your resume:
People most times just list their job titles. Don’t fall into that trap because that is how people used to be able to find you. Fill out the 1,000-character description areas under each job title and in your overall summary – the work and the results you got, also considering the duration of the assignment/project. Upload or link to examples of your work, such as YouTube videos, images, PDFs, Microsoft Word documents; fill out the Projects and Publications sections of your profile. Don’t leave out the courses you’ve taken, Certifications, Patents or Volunteering as they allow you to feature other relevant skills.
- Take recommendations seriously:
LinkedIn recommendations are valuable. It matters because those who recommend you can be great references! You can also refer others, who may refer you back.
Using LinkedIn to build connections and turn them into references could result in you making the acquaintance of an employer for whom you’d really like to work with. You can solicit recommendations from people you trust and who know your work. You can also offer recommendations for people you can vouch for.
- Highlight your wins:
LinkedIn is not a place to be humble. It is a place to show your accomplishments. You should definitely share any accolades, awards or third-party recognition that you’ve received for your skill. It increases your value on the platform.
It is very okay to toot your own horn on your LinkedIn profile! It’s yours after all.
- Join LinkedIn groups:
Joining LinkedIn groups is a way of letting others know what you’re interested in and what your competencies are. You’ll also have the benefit of receiving first hand career-development information and making those all-important connections with other people in your field or desired industry.
- Stay active on the site:
LinkedIn is not like Ice-cream – you take it when you feel like it. It is like other social media platforms where the more you use it, the better your visibility. In general, it’s good to remain active even when you’re not actively looking for a job. Dropping timely sector related information can make you a thought leader. Remind your contacts that you’re doing good work by regularly sharing links relevant to others in your industry, keeping your profile current, and updating your profile when you are hired for a new position or have another accomplishment to tout.
With an active and impressive profile, you can land the job of your dreams.
LinkedIn for Businesses
- Create a Page:
To create a profile for your business, visit the Create a LinkedIn Page page while logged into your personal account. These are the things you need to do;
- Business name – That will be the first thing users see.
- LinkedIn public URL — Keep this as simple as possible. It’s advisable that you use your brand name.
- Website — Include your primary website URL.
- Company details — Add your industry, company size and company type.
- Logo — Keep in mind that your business name is usually written next to the logo so the image can simply be the icon version of your logo.
- Locations — Add one or more locations for your business.
- Specialties — Select the industries that are closely related to your products and services.
- Tagline — Introduce your business in up to 120 characters by quickly addressing how you help your customers and clients.
- Description — Tell your company’s story much like you did in the About Us section of your website. Make sure you include what you do, why you do it, who you serve, and how customers can work with you.
Note that when writing both the tagline and description for your page, be mindful of the terms you use. Use keywords that are related to your industry to help potential customers and clients find your Company Page through search.
- Add buttons to your Company Page:
While setting up your Company Page, you will have options for adding buttons to your profile. A Follow Button will automatically appear on your profile. This allows interested audiences to stay connected with your brand on LinkedIn. When users hit the button, they will begin to receive updates and notifications from your brand in their newsfeed.
Next to the Follow Button, you can add a custom button. You can use this button to drive users to a specific off-site webpage. Add a URL and choose from the following button texts:
- Visit website
- Contact us
- Learn more
- Sign up
- Create Showcase Pages:
If you have a large or multi-faceted business with a variety of audiences, you can break down your LinkedIn Business profile into smaller segments using “Showcase Pages”.
Showcase Pages are really unique pages with your profile that highlight an individual brand, department or initiative within your larger brand. Small businesses might not have much of a need for Showcase Pages. But they are useful if your brand has a lot of different audiences. Here’s an example; if you are a website developer who works with agency partners and directly with small businesses, you could create a page for each audience. That way, small businesses don’t receive the same content as your agency audience.
- Encourage your team to connect with your Company Page:
If your business has team members, encourage them to connect their profile to your brand page. Once they have a personal profile, they can add their position at your company to the experience section.
Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to only adding your full-time employees. If you have freelancers or contractors who regularly work with your brand, ask them if they’d like to add their experience to build even more connections for your business page.
- Apply for LinkedIn Profinder:
If your business is a service or consulting-based business, also consider signing up for LinkedIn Profinder which connects freelancers with businesses that need their expertise. Although the free version is only for a limited time, when you apply to be a LinkedIn Pro (and are accepted), LinkedIn will send you proposals from customers who are looking for services you provide.
In addition to your brand page, LinkedIn Pro is another way to leverage LinkedIn for small businesses and connect with more customers and clients. You can apply here.
In this virtual age, it’s best you make the best use of platforms available for your growth. So, take all of this advice and put it to practice. Start using LinkedIn for small business to grow your brand visibility, stay top of mind, attract new customers and engage your existing audience and customer base.