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LinkedIn is an essential marketing tool for individuals and businesses today. With all the updates, changes and new functionalities people are spending more time on LinkedIn and it is a thriving busy platform.

Why use LinkedIn?

Stats from LinkedIn show us that the platform has over 575+ million users, with more than 260 million active users and growing every day. You want to be able to access the wealth of opportunity that this offers. Your LinkedIn profile can show your credibility, expertise and thought leadership and you can use if for your business to build your brand, showcase your products and services and to connect with potential clients. LinkedIn is your digital profile, so you need to ensure that it represents you well.’

It starts with a strategy

Get the most out of LinkedIn by having a plan and creating a strategy. Questions to ask yourself when creating a LinkedIn strategy;

  • What is your ‘end in mind’ or ’ultimate aim’?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Who do you want to target?
  • What outcomes do you want?

Do you want to sell a product or book, promote your business or services and workshops or trainings, generate leads, network, build relationships, collaborate, job search or brand growth, recognition and awareness?

The answers to these questions will guide your strategy. Then create tactics and an action plan and set goals to measure your success and progress. Write the strategy down, make it actionable and then get to it. Consistency is the key, so stay active in order to be visible.

Then, optimize your professional LinkedIn profile

You don’t want anyone to cross your path on LinkedIn without seeing that your profile is complete and professional looking and that you are an expert in what you do. This includes completing the following on LinkedIn:

  • Profile Banner Image – Make use of this ‘prime real estate’ and customize your banner
  • Profile Photo – Ensure you have a professional picture of yourself, ideally include your head and shoulders looking straight ahead. From LinkedIn, ‘Profiles with professional photos get 14 times more views’
  • Headline – Make this compelling and about what you do and how you help people
  • Summary – Generally written in the first person. Include what you do, your experience, skills ad service offering
  • Experience – Your job history
  • Skills – You can add up to 50 here, ensure they are relevant. According to LinkedIn, adding in your skills increases the chance that your profile will be discovered, and someone will message you by more than 31 times what you would get if you didn’t.
  • Recommendations – Ask for these from current and previous clients, colleagues and service providers. Don’t forget to give some recommendations as well.
  • And then fill in and complete all the other sections available to you; Education, Courses, Organizations, Publications, Projects and Languages.
Create a LinkedIn company page

This is essential if you have a business. A LinkedIn Company Page looks professional, is a landing page for your business on LinkedIn for clients and prospects, it pulls through the logo for you on the Experience section and staff or your team can connect to it. You can use this Company Page to:

  • Market your business
  • Tell your Company story
  • Showcase the team
  • Promote your brand, product and services
  • Share articles or blog posts about your Company or from your Company Blog
    …amongst many other things.
Sharing content on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered to be a credible source of content and the platform states that 98% of content marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing, especially for B2B marketing and lead generation.

Share good quality content consistently. Whether you share a video, a text post or an article on LinkedIn publishing ensure that the content is:

  • Meaningful and valuable
  • Relevant, helpful and useful
  • Well written, well formatted and high quality
  • Encourages engagement and interactions

The more you share, the more people will see your content, and in turn, your profile and what you do. Visibility is what you are looking for! This does take time but as you expand your connections and build relationship and share consistently, you will see more and more engagement on LinkedIn.

Build a powerful network of connections

Connections matter on LinkedIn but ensure that they are valuable to you and not just about building up a large number. Find and connect with previous and current alumni, colleagues, clients, friends and service providers. Search and connect or follow influencers and thought leaders and send strategic and well-planned messages to existing and new connections.

Lead generation

LinkedIn’s definition of Lead Generation, ‘It encompasses all activities relating to the identification and cultivation of potential customers.’

LinkedIn is a valuable platform for discovering the right leads. According to Hootsuite, 79% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as an effective source for generating leads and HubSpot found that LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. There is a lot of information available to make this work for you so research this and discover what will be effective for you and your business.

“Time spent on LinkedIn is an investment in your future, use this platform and what it has to offer to your advantage.” In order for LinkedIn to work for you, use it regularly and strategically.

This article first appeared in the Feb/March issue of Your Business Magazine. Read the rest of the issue here for Inspiration, Advice and Opportunities!

Sharon Atkins is an independant LinkedIn trainer and specialist working with individuals and companies in optimizing their LinkedIn profiles, creating content, lead generation and implementation strategies in personal or group in person or online through training, workshops and coaching. Find her on LinkedIn.

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