With 414 million members and 100 million monthly active visitors, LinkedIn is a powerhouse in the business networking sphere. And yet, it remains largely untapped by SMBs.
As much as I love Twitter, I cannot deny the role LinkedIn has played in my success online. If you ask any of my peers, they will say the same thing. So, if we’ve been able to leverage the platform that way, so can you!
I am here to share a few tips with you today. Implement them to increase awareness of your brand.
1) Optimize Your Profile
Do you know users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn? So, let's briefly review the basics of a winning profile.
Think of yours as an online résumé. Tell us exactly what you do and how you deliver the goods:
- Upload a nice, professional picture of you.
- In the Summary section, stay away from bombastic titles and promises.
- Fill all the sections with relevant information.
- Display samples of your work in the Summary, Education and Experience sections. You can share links, upload files or take advantage of the partnership with SlideShare.
- Include an optimized tagline and relevant keywords in your descriptions.
- Don't forget the Contact Info section. Add the link to your company's website, your phone number, email address, and Twitter handle.
- Make sure your name is in your LinkedIn URL. For example: ca.linkedin.com/in/cendrinemarrouat
2) Quality Before Quantity, Please
I know it sounds cliché, but your LinkedIn network should reflect who you are as a business owner and professional. And, even though LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers or members accepting every connection) are a dime a dozen, very few people really care about how many connections you have.
First impressions count! When sending a stranger an invitation to connect, craft an introduction. The generic default message ("I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn") is just annoying. It feels very impersonal and makes us feel as though we were just numbers in your to-do list.
Taking the time to write a short but professional message to a LinkedIn member will always go a long way.
3) Join Relevant Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a great tool to find valuable connections, potential customers and interesting topics of discussion.
Many experts recommend joining as many as 50 groups. Honestly, though, who has the time to belong to so many? I sure don't.
Create your own Group and / or join five or six that are relevant to what you do. Focus on building relationships with members. Be helpful, interact and avoid being pushy about your services / products. People are open to overt self-promotion, but only if they already know and trust you.
4) Write LinkedIn Long-Form Posts
Did you know that LinkedIn has a blogging platform? Well, now you do.
Publishing posts there allows you to tap into a very targeted audience of business professionals. But it is not the only benefit. Here are more:
- Your posts are indexed highly in search engines
- They are all displayed in the Posts section of your profile
- LinkedIn shares them automatically with your connections and followers
- Every LinkedIn member can read and subscribe to your posts
Every time I publish a new piece, I get new followers and connection requests from people in my industry. My favorite part, though, is the great job / partnership offers that come attached to them. All that with my content rarely reaching more than 300 views! Nice ROI, right?
To start writing, click the "Publish a post" button on your homepage. You will then land on the publishing page:
As you can see, your dashboard looks similar to what you would have on any other blogging platform. Scroll down the page to add up to three tags (keywords).
Now, remember that LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals. It is very important to craft content accordingly:
- Only focus on your areas of expertise. Case studies usually work wonders.
- Include visual content in your posts.
- Great titles are not enough. Make your content easy to read with short paragraphs, sub-heads and bullet points.
- Unlike what some experts would have you believe, the perfect length for a post does not exist. A 500-words piece with the right message can be very effective.
- Keep your language professional and follow the Publishing Platform Guidelines.
- Only post if you have something valuable to share.
- Check your analytics section to understand your readership.
Right now, long-form publishing is available in most countries, including Canada and the U.S. However, note that only individual profiles can blog.
The Writing on LinkedIn Group is a great place to get some additional guidance.
5) Leverage LinkedIn Pulse
Located in the drop-down menu of your Interests section, Pulse is the official name of the LinkedIn blogging platform. All your and other members' long-form posts appear there.
However, with 1 million bloggers writing 150,000 articles weekly, the competition for eyeballs is fierce. Unless the Pulse team features your content. This is your ticket to massive exposure.
Case in point. Last year, one of my posts got featured in the Social Media category and raked 3,500 views, 114 likes and 39 comments in a few days.
For more information, you can read our article titled What Score Do The Top Posts on LinkedIn Pulse Achieve?. It has some great insights into the art of writing winning content. I would also recommend Brian Lang's 5 Actionable Tips To Use LinkedIn Publishing To Get More Blog Traffic. He shares five tips that work like a charm. My favorite is sending a tweet to the Pulse team to nudge them towards my stuff.
Pulse can also be used to keep an eye on what other small business owners publish and understand what resonates the most with readers. Leaving thoughtful comments under articles is also a great way to increase awareness. I always receive notifications that people have checked out my profile after interacting in comment sections.
Do you have other tips to share? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
About the author:
Cendrine Marrouat is a content writer & curator, social media trainer, author, and photographer living in Winnipeg, Canada. She is the founder of Social Media Slant, an award-winning blog helping small business owners and solo-entrepreneurs to figure out the basics of social media. Cendrine has authored several photography books and social media ebooks, one of which received a 2015 Small Business Book Award in the Social Media Category.
Twitter handle: @cendrinemedia