Guest Post: The LinkedIn Approach for You or Your Business

Hands up? Who knows what to do with LinkedIn? I don't. I have a profile and all and I can see who looks at it but so what? I like to keep track of people I have worked with in the past, and it's good for that. I also post my blog updates on LinkedIn and have joined some groups that, well....they are kinda boring. Sometimes I read articles that other's have shared but after that I have no idea of how to get the best of out it. I feel that LinkedIn could be really powerful if only I knew some of the secrets.
Luckily last month I attended the Problogger conference on the Gold Coast and luckily I met Merril DeFiddes who runs The Social Media Training School. Merril and her team specialise in helping businesses small and large with training and managing their social media needs.

I was talking to her about LinkedIn and that while I am ok at using other forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, I really don't know what to do with LinkedIn and I suspect that many others don't either. I asked would she be interested in writing a post on my blog about it. Luckily she was!

So meet Merril. Whether you are just trying to improve your personal profile or if you are using LinkedIn to improve your business profile this is a great post to get you started on LinkedIn.

Merril DeFiddes from The Social Media Training School
Why should anyone be on LinkedIn? I hear people say often, “It is just another platform that I have to manage, and I don’t have time” - The value you and your business will achieve from LinkedIn is worth the time and the small amount of effort you apply to it. However, LinkedIn needs a good solid foundation, just like any other social media platform and once it is well formulated, and you have put all the elements together, you and your business can be catapulted in the right direction of your hottest prospects.

Yes, you do need a LinkedIn Profile, no question about it, whether you are a small business or a CEO of a large corporation, if you have recently left a job or are looking for a particular position. LinkedIn will help you , when you have the groundwork and a strategy in place.
It all begins with a great LinkedIn profile.

We all have heard that 1st impressions count. When people find you on LinkedIn you need to be that someone that the audience of LinkedIn notices.
How is Your Head Shot?
The first thing people see when they are looking and researching a prospect or connection is our image. Not everyone has a “corporate “shot in the top draw. However, with our iPhone’s and android phones, all with some amazing camera capabilities, that given the right situation, lighting and dress code, they will produce a great shot for you.

·         Make sure that your photo fills the image space

·         Don’t stretch the image

·         Don’t use a small image

·         Make sure the lighting is good in the picture

·         A nice smile will go a long way

·         Make sure it is a current photo of you , not one taken 15 years ago or so.

Is your professional Headline current?
Create a winning headline that tells others what it is you do. Depending on your reason for being on LinkedIn your may want to state what benefit your connections will get if they want to work with you.  

·         Ensure your headline epitomizes your core principles

·         Detail your expertise within the headline. Showing that you are the “owner of XYZ etc” is not letting your connections know what it is your can do for them

·         Depending on your profile you may use you job title

·         You have a 120-character limit within your headline – utilise this valuable space.

·         Treat your headline with respect  and don’t be too “salesy” – this has the capability to turn people away from you.

 What does your Summary look like?

This is a valuable piece of “LinkedIn Real Estate” that I see so underutilised and has so much power.  You have the opportunity to use 2000 characters to send a message to the people connecting with you. Use every character to help you build that important connection or next big lead.

·         Do not leave it blank!

·         Write your summary in a conversational tone

·         Share accomplishments and your story, but make it catchy.

·         Seek a copywriter who can help you if you get stuck

·         Your summary is a first chance opportunity – develop it well

·         Use headers or icons to draw attention to specific areas of expertise

·         Use a call to action in the last sentence, a  further way to connect  with you.

·         Write in the first person

·         Use of keywords wisely to shape your summary

·         Make sure your keywords are relevant and kept within the conversational tone of your summary  - this will help will propel your profile  with easy SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

·         Revision is always possible, so tweak your summary until you are happy with.

·         Have it critiqued by a colleague

·         Don’t try to be too “fluffy” and “gushy”. Your summary needs to depict a personality within it.

·         Add extra content by adding links to a video, image, document, or presentation.

By establishing a well-crafted LinkedIn profile you will develop your unique presence. Many people fail to take full advantage of their LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is advantages for generating rewarding leads, and to market your business’ brand.

LinkedIn is  the premier social networking site for businesses and business professionals, however, it is fabulous for the job seeker as well. 

By focusing on these 3 tips to begin with, they will help you to develop your LinkedIn presence further.   

LinkedIn is a very powerful social media tool and has been a great avenue for my business. With a solid structure , a strategy and social media marketing plan in place, then your LinkedIn presence will certainly get you in front of the people you need to be connecting with.