Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn – there are so many different social networks out there that it can be difficult to settle on one, particularly if you are a busy entrepreneur looking to build your business. While all of these are great in their own right, only LinkedIn was designed specifically to be a business networking site, so that is where we are going to keep our focus today.
I’ve heard it before, and you may have said it before: What is the point of putting my name and profile out there, and do I stand a chance of this having any benefit for me or my bottom line? The short answer is yes, as long as you know where to go with it.
Keep reading – I’m going to give you six specific things that you can do on LinkedIn to make it worth your while, building your connections, reputation, and consumer base all at the same time.
Succes Step #1: Master The Basics of LinkedIn
I learned a long time ago that it was a bad idea to assume anything about anybody, so we will begin our discussion at the ground level basics of LinkedIn. In basic terms, LinkedIn is a professional database.
Each person’s profile on LinkedIn consists of a few concrete and easily defined sections, including your name, where you work, your professional affiliations, and so on and so forth. If you join LinkedIn and do the bare minimum to create a profile, you are basically posting a brief resume online.
You could leave it there, and many do, but then they wonder why they wasted the few minutes it took to post this information in the first place. This is not the point of LinkedIn. The next step is to put the social in social media and actually start using it to create success.
Success Step #2: Make Good Connections
Twitter is short and sweet, and Facebook can be all over the place, but LinkedIn is where the professionals come to mingle. To find and make the connections you want and need, you need to start by making your profile pop.
This means taking the time to link your company’s website and blog and upload a professional photo of yourself (not a cropped number that has your dog or child in it). Think carefully about the people that you want to connect with, and don’t be afraid to dream big.
Look at the profiles of your industry heroes and develop meaningful lines of questioning in your head that you would use if that person happened to answer you back. You should then contact these people and see if they will answer back. You may be surprised at the contacts you make and just how far they can take you in the business world.
Success Step #3: Make Two Pages
Yes, we all have LinkedIn pages for ourselves, but you shouldn’t stop there. Create a LinkedIn page for your business, as well, by using the “Company Page” feature. This enables your customers and other businesses in the industry to follow your business and get updated information telling you what is going on with your company.
The personal page is better suited for making one-on-one connections with your business peers and building professional relationships, but a company page is all about your business. This is particularly helpful if you are not a one-man show, because people may not know to search for you by name, but they are likely to know the name of your business.
Success Step #4: Stay Updated
As we’ve all learned from our adventures in SEO, Google and other search engines “like” pages that have updated information. Even more importantly, your customers and colleagues will be much more likely to return to a page that is frequently updated. These are both really good reasons to write often, keeping your company relevant to both customers and search engines.
Additionally, focus your efforts on creating unique, meaningful content that your customers can use. If they get a taste of your work and like what they are reading, they will keep coming back for more. This builds your page ranking in Google and will subsequently drive more traffic your way.
Remember that everyone who reads your page is a person just like you who likes to find things easily and gets bored with a stale, outdated page.
Success Step #5: Give an Inside Look
If you run a blog on your website, you should link these articles and posts to your company’s LinkedIn page. This really gives readers a good inside look at the inner workings of your company, and it adds flavor and personality to your page.
Anything to help personalize you and your company for your readers is a good thing; people are more apt to do business with companies that they perceive to be real and friendly. Don’t be afraid to discuss both struggles and triumphs, because this type of information is really helpful to other business owners who may be dealing with the same issues that you are.
If your business runs any promotions or has a campaign to raise money for a charity, post it on your company LinkedIn page. This will help to build relationships and garner respect from the community.
Success Step #6: Don’t Forget SEO
Just like with your website, you need to remember the rules of SEO on your LinkedIn page. Why? Because it makes it much easier for your customers and colleagues to find you. Think about the keyword or keywords that are most important to you and incorporate those into your LinkedIn page.
If you were in your customers’ shoes, what keywords would you enter into Google to find someone who does what you do? For instance, if you are a landscape architect, you want the words “landscape architect” to appear a few times on your page. This makes it easier for Google to identify you and communicate who you are to search engine users.
While this kind of thing may seem obvious, think about television advertising for a moment. Have you ever seen a commercial and wondered, “What on Earth is this all about, and what does that company actually do?” It happens quite frequently, and it can be a huge mistake. Be obvious for Google’s sake.
Like it or not, social media is here to stay, and in the case of LinkedIn, it can be a very powerful resource for your company and for your professional relationships. Take the time to make your page stand out, and do the work so that the search engines can find you and what you do easily.
Post frequent, high quality content that your target audience can use. Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with other professionals and companies, no matter how out of your league you perceive them to be.
Everyone had to start somewhere, and many of the so-called big wigs are happy to connect with other likeminded business people. Get out there, make your page, and go for it. The sky’s the limit, and with a little effort, you too can profit immensely by being an active member of LinkedIn.