For the last four years, I've been teaching people how to use LinkedIn with the main focus on high visibility. Using the platform to get you and your business noticed.
Many of my attendees thought they knew how to use LinkedIn. They had set up their account ages before.
But they all came away with tips and tricks on how to use LinkedIn better.
For those that do not yet have an account, go to www.LinkedIn.com. Enter your first and last name, an email address and a password. You've taken the first step to using LinkedIn.
How to use LinkedIn for Business
There are three ways to achieve LinkedIn success:
- Get Found - in organic search and via LinkedIn's own search function
- Find/Attract Clients - you need to know who your ideal client is so that you can make it easy for them to find you and want to know more about you.
- Stand Out - let those prospects see your expertise.
How to use LinkedIn for marketing - leverage your headline and the rest of your profile
To achieve any of these, your headline is crucial. It's the first thing that any potential customer will see in both organic search and on LinkedIn.
You go out to a networking meeting. Lots of cards are exchanged. One of your new contacts goes home and looks up your name on the internet. In most cases, the first thing they will see is your LinkedIn profile. If you have not completed it fully, giving them all the information they might need and a reason to click through to read the rest of your profile, they will move on to another card they received that morning.
Knowing how to use the 120 characters of your LinkedIn headline to their best effect is vital. It needs to contain some keywords and phrases that describe what you do. But also a compelling marketing message to make them want to find out more. One of the gurus called it making it 'clickworthy'. Make them want to click on your headline to access all the good stuff about you and your business in your Summary. Make it hit THEIR pain points.
So what are the words and phrases that a potential customer might use? Well, imagine that someone is using LinkedIn's search function. They don't actually know you yet. Or your business. Think about your ideal client. What would he or she type into that search bar to find the supplier of your product or service? These will become the keywords and phrases of your business.
How to Use LinkedIn profile edit
Now you know that these need to be in your headline. But they also need to be in the work experience sections of your profile. And the Skills section. Add multimedia like videos, pdfs or slideshare presentations that also have those keywords and phrases in their titles.
Complete every section of your LinkedIn profile.
This will all help you to get found AND stand out.
A professional profile picture is a must. Something that makes you look approachable but serious enough to reflect that you are an expert in your field.
How to use LinkedIn for business - create a Company page
It's easy to do, providing you have an email that comes from the company domain as one of your confirmed addresses on your LinkedIn profile.
On the navigation bar, click Interests
Then select Companies from the drop down menu
Hit the Add a Company option and fill out the information required. Or just hit this link. You must be logged into your personal profile.
Find out more about how to create LinkedIn company page
Follow the Lollipop Local Company Page on LinkedIn to see regular updates on how to use LinkedIn for business marketing.
How to use LinkedIn for social proof
Skills and endorsements
Make sure you understand how to use LinkedIn's Skills and Endorsements section of your profile. It helps to promote engagement on the platform and LinkedIn encourages this. They ask you if you would like to endorse people for certain skills and if you agree, they email the people concerned. Then they ask them if they would like to reciprocate. People keep going back to LinkedIn.
It's important to ensure that you do have the skills you are being endorsed for. Make sure that you edit this section regularly. Delete anything that does not apply. Add in any new keywords that describe what you do. Each time someone endorses you, their profile picture is added to the list beside that skill. A full endorsement list always looks good for social proof.
You should also use LinkedIn to ask for Recommendations from your customers who are on the platform. Again, the more written recommendations you can get from business owners, the better. Especially if they have a good reputation. It's all good social proof for you.
How to use LinkedIn effectively for making connections
Never use the CONNECT button on LinkedIn - unless you are actually on the profile of a person. LinkedIn often makes suggestions that you might want to connect with someone. It also gives that option when you are searching. The problem with this button is that it will automatically send out a default connection message. You cannot control it.
These days, people are much less likely to connect with someone who does not make the effort to personalise their invitation. And, if you receive such a message, you too should think twice about accepting it. Is this really someone who is going to put effort into a business relationship?
Go to their profile and use the Connect button there. You will then be given the chance to say how you know that person.
- Have you done business with them?
- Are you a past or current colleague?
- Are you a friend? Never say that you are a friend if you are not.
- There is also an Other box. Here, you can enter the email address of the person you want to connect with if you know it. It will need to be the email address they have used to sign up to use LinkedIn. Be aware that if your request is ignored or refused too many times, this may be the only option that you see. It's the equivalent of the naughty corner for LinkedIn invitations.
Now personalise your message. Say how you know them or where you met. Explain why you want to connect - what's in it for them? You have 300 characters. Make them count! Never say 'I saw that you viewed my profile...' even if you did. It looks and sounds creepy and is very unimaginative.
If you don't know the person but you have a premium account, you can send them an InMail. Again, personalise your message so that they understand the benefits of becoming a connection.
If you don't know the person and don't have a premium account, they may have joined OpenMail. This will show by a label with a circle of dots. Click on that and you will still be able to contact them.
If you don't know the person and don't have a premium account, you may still be able to contact them if you are part of the same Group.
If you don't know the person and don't have a premium account and are not in the same group, check to see if there is someone you know who is connected to them. Use the Get Introduced function.
Using LinkedIn for Business - Groups
There are over 2 million groups on LinkedIn and each member is allowed to join 50 of them. Join as many as you can. This is a great way to be able to see and contact business people who are not in your network.
Choose a few main groups in your industry but focus your attentions on groups that contain your target customers.
Having said that, don't go into a group and start posting self-serving sales messages. This is the quickest way to have people avoid you!
Being contentious is also not the best way to build relationships and start to influence people.
Using LinkedIn for sales
Social selling is about:
- Finding Prospects
- Being introduced to those prospects
- Building relationships that turn those prospects into leads
- Taking the relationship offline - to a telephone call, Skype or face to face meeting
So you want to know how to use LinkedIn to find potential clients.
Beside the search bar at the top centre of the page is the Advanced button.
Click on that and it will take you through to a rather complicated page.
In the left hand sidebar, you will see various options for searching. This includes keywords, position, name and business. You can even add in a location with a radius. This search function will go through all your 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections. Make sure you check the box for 3rd level connections. It is unchecked by default. It will also search the membership of any groups that you have joined.
Once you get the results, you need to check out the connections that you have in common to make an introduction. This is so much better than sending them an email (or inmail if you are using LinkedIn's premium options). That's just like cold calling - even when you are good at wording your messages. Can't see anyone on LinkedIn who could introduce you? Don't forget to check your friends or followers on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter too.
Once you're introduced, you then have to find a way to engage with these people. It might be through a shared personal interest. Or perhaps by proving that you are an expert in your niche by something you post as activity or in a group. You might suggest a one-to-one so you can find out more about each other, ways that you can work together or help each other.
Always check out their Recommendations.
Remember, for most people who are using LinkedIn, it's about selling business to business rather than business to consumer. If you can show the benefits to them, your overtures are much more likely to be well received. What's In It For Me?
Having said that, knowing how to use LinkedIn effectively is key. Finding prospects does not mean that you have to connect with everyone that invites you. If you do not know that person and do not know anyone else who knows that person, you are right to be cautious. If their profile does not tell you what is in it for you then you can find out more or just ignore the request. Here's some help on dealing with invitations to connect from strangers.
Can I disconnect from someone on LinkedIn? And will they know?
These are the questions I get asked most often on my workshops. And the answers are Yes and No. Find out more here.
Learn how to use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, etc., to build a social media strategy for your business.
Need someone to help you develop a LinkedIn strategy or complete your profile or Company page? Give us a call on 01702 476517 today.