Is LinkedIn Important for your Business or Brand?
LinkedIn is the largest social network for professionals, career building and business with over 800 million users around the globe. It is a massive database of people, companies, schools, jobs, groups, courses, services, events and content. Because of the size and available reach and the fact that it is the 25th most viewed website in the world, it gives us a massive opportunity to be seen and discovered as a professional, expert or thought leader within LinkedIn and google search.
The art of using LinkedIn to influence and make an impact through connection and content is what I call Connectfluence. We must connect to each other but first we must connect with ourself and determine;
- who we want to impact and influence
- what difference we aspire to make
- how we will make the impact
If we try to be all things to all people, we won’t be memorable and won’t realise out true purpose.
LinkedIn is a fabulous tool to position yourself as that resource to make the difference.
The Network Effect
The key to LinkedIn success is understanding the power of what I call the network effect, which is 3 degrees deep. Essentially you have access to people up to 3 degrees away from you, and vice-versa. This means that the more people you are connected to, the more people you have access to, and the more people have access to you. But it is about relevance, which gives you reach through relationships. Be discerning about who you connect to but look beyond the surface. It isn’t just about who they are but who they know and influence.
3 Ways to Use LinkedIn
- Be Found
Set up your profile to represent you in business or your career where you are including where you have come from, your expertise and experience, and where you are going. Position yourself as a professional, change maker or expert and sit alongside leaders and peers and take control of your digital footprint.
Find people you know or want to know by learning how to search LinkedIn effectively. Look for people by name, by roles, organisation and industry. Seek out information about businesses, industry trends, jobs, upcoming events, professional development and even college and university alumni.
- Be Known
Find your voice and increase your visibility in line with your value, to position yourself on a path of expertise in your area of interest. Use a combination of contribution to existing conversations and creation of content to start new conversations and reach beyond your connections.
How to Grow your LinkedIn Network
Everyone will have their own unique strategy in how they network on LinkedIn. Focus on quality over quantity or value over volume and aim for to build a relevant network on a regular basis. There are two types of networking activities on LinkedIn; reactive and proactive.
- Reactive is responding to inbound requests with the outcome of accepting or rejecting. But determine your criteria and action steps before making the decision to accept. Being reactive is also responding to relevant notifications and messages. Replying to public conversations gives you exposure to those in the conversation and beyond.
- Proactive networking take times but allows you to build your network strategically. Consider who you want in your network, including the roles within organisations and industries and use advanced search to find them. Then determine what the next steps are in your process of connection and engagement. Being proactive also includes seeking out conversations on topics you are interested in or want to known for, and outreaching to people starting and participating in these discussions.
Who to Connect With
Think beyond prospective clients.
When deciding whether to accept a connection request or reach out to a person you have discovered, consider where the individual fits into your world. Are they a prospective client, current client, supplier, thought leader in your industry you can learn from, an influencer in your network who is connected to people you want to know and be known by, a potential partner, supplier, collaborator or referral resource.
Ask yourself the following questions;
- Can I learn from them?
- Can I help them?
- Is their network useful to me?
Use their profile content and activity to determine if they are a good fit – both content (posts and articles) and engagement (all activity) to get an insight into where they fit in. Look at who engages with them, and look at their connections if you are able to to determine if their network is useful.
People connect with people through conversation, which starts with content.
Authenticity has become an overused buzzword, but we need to be our authentic self, albeit strategically relevant to create our personal brand voice through content on LinkedIn.
When it comes to posting content on LinkedIn I’m often asked where the line is between personal and professional. How can you be authentic but professional? Content must connect. The best way to connect is through adding value, writing in your voice and being aligned to your vision.
- Know WHY you are posting
- WHO you want to engage and reach
- WHAT you want them to do as a result
Be purposefully personal – use personal stories to make a professional point. A story with an image is a great way to anchor key professional messages.
Here are some examples;
- Sporting achievements are great to talk about focus, discipline and drive.
- Office modifications and creative work from home set ups can show creative thinking and innovation.
- Weight loss journey shows change and commitment.
- Weddings can be an anchor for name change discussions.
- Overcoming health challenges can demonstrate personal qualities and mindset.
- A baby, child or pet visit to the office or first day of school can be used to talk about company culture.
There are so many opportunities to share more about your world outside of work and career while talking about your area of expertise, your organisation and aspirations.
With any content, always be clear why you are sharing your personal story before hitting post.
- Is it purpose-driven and relevant?
- Is it in your voice and succinct?
- Does it illustrate the point?
One LinkedIn Action for the Time-Poor Professional
If you want to start getting benefit from LinkedIn the easiest way to build visibility, respect and relationships is to start joining relevant conversations. From doing this a few times a week you will increase your reach beyond your connections. This means it is important to review and optimise your digital footprint, which includes your profile photo and headline which follows you everywhere.
How do you engage?
- Review the Home feed for conversations to join through commenting
- Go to specific profiles, go into Activity- Posts and find something to add value as a comment
- Search for topics and add comments
The highest value activity you can do is comment. But make sure you are adding comments that show your expertise through the value you add and encourage conversation. And be selective about who’s posts you comment on and thereby which conversations you join. As comments show up on your Profile under Activity and are a way people can get an insight into who you are, how you conduct yourself and who you appear to know.
7 LinkedIn Profile Tips
- Always have a profile photo that is
- Up to date
- Cropped to head and shoulders
- Relevant and appropriate to your purpose
- Create a well-positioned headline to sit under your name that shares more than your title and business.
- Add a background image to add context and personality. Size: 1584 x 396 pixels use Canva to create a collage.
- Optimise your Experience
- Meaningful title with context
- A description about what problem you sole, how you solve it and the results or outcomes.
- Connect to the Page for the organisation (set one up for your business if you don’t have one)
- Craft an About section infusing your story, vision and values in up to 2,600 characters to;
- Capture attention
- Create attraction
- Compel action
- Add an audio recording to share your name and who you are in 10 seconds or less via the mobile app.
- Create an intro video in 30 seconds or less. Add via the mobile app. Get creative and have the courage to let people get an insight into who you are. Here are some ideas for types of video;
- Talking head – you speaking to camera
- Talking head with captions
- Slideshow video using photos or short videos with voice over or captions
- Animated video with voice over or captions
- A combination of talking head with b-roll footage and even animation
Refer to my LinkedIn Profile Blueprint to access more of my frameworks to update your own profile.
Don’t ignore this powerful platform. Make the effort to raise your profile and reap the rewards.
If you are unsure how to update your profile or create your strategy get in touch. I have various programs designed to support you and your team.