As a business owner you should have accounts with all of the social media channels, and especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows business owners to increase their reach beyond who they know, to who their friends know. Remember the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Well if you don’t this was a game that purports that everyone on the planet is connected by six degrees of separation. You could find a path to the actor Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less, and technology today it is more likely to be five degrees of separation.
Well, it’s exactly the same for you, our typical business owner. You are connected to everyone in some manner and LinkedIn helps you discover that connection within three degrees. However to be found, and to make LinkedIn work for you, you have to focus your profile as well as your actions to ensure the best results.
Use a Professional Looking Headshot
LinkedIn is not Facebook, this is not the time to post a clever or funny photograph of yourself. Linkedin headshots should be as professional as possible and focused on your face. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but make the picture so that it has a solid background that is not distracting to your face. It’s also worth pointing out, that those clever poses of you holding your chin or other self-important posture should be avoided, make the photograph real and about you.
Create an Awesome Headline
Your headline appears below your name and beside your photograph. Many people want to put their current job in that space but this is a big mistake, your current job is only really of interest to you. Think of what you do, not who you do it for, as the relevant information to put here. This is an example of the one currently on my own LinkedIn profile:
“For over twenty years I have helped businesses identify realistic online goals & then I make it all happen”
Pay Special Attention to Your Summary
The summary area is a very special place where you can use keywords to highlight what it is that you have experience doing, which you want to do again and again. If you have no intention of doing it again, don’t put it here. Also don’t write a paragraph, instead use a bulleted list to make your point as people will scan your summary and a list works much better than a paragraph.
Incorporate a Video
Why not put up a video introduction that gives your 2 minute elevator speech. Ensure that the video looks professional without a distracting back ground, and that you look and sound your part. Video adds a compelling element and will make people feel like they know you even more.
Create Concrete Connections
When you first start on LinkedIn.com it’s tempting to just add everyone you know. But, instead of doing that, add everyone you know that is a business connection or has business connections. Be choosey with your connections, there is no rush to get lots of connections over concrete connections. Ask yourself what is your purpose of connecting with that person before continuing.
Ask For Recommendations
Once you’re done with your profile be sure to ask for recommendations. The more recommendations you can get for each position you’ve had the better. These recommendations profile social proof that you are who you say you are. Nothing is better than recommendations. When you ask, don’t send the generic letter offered, fill it out and personalise it reminding the person what you accomplished. Usually they’ll use your own words in their recommendation when you do that. I’ve even written out recommendations so that people only need to cut and paste them in.
Emphasise Sections That Matter
You can toggle each section up or down, so just like a resume where you focus attention first on the things that are most important for the reader to know you can accomplish the same thing with the toggle up or down function on LinkedIn, just click the arrows and drag sections to where you want them.
Remember Your Keywords
Every part of your profile where you can enter words is an opportunity to use keywords that will help people find your profile in a search. It might help to do a little keyword research first to ensure that you’re leaving no stone unturned in regards to search engine optimisation.
Create & Participate in Groups
Groups are an excellent way to communicate with others on LinkedIn and help establish you as an expert in your niche. Join a few relevant groups a week but don’t join more than you can realistically participate in and remember the groups you should join are the ones where your target customers hang out. Creating your own group will also help establish your expertise. But again, be sure to keep the group active and invite relevant members, this actually is my failing, I have a small group however I don’t often have the time it needs devoted to it, to make it work for me.
Update Your Email Signature
Now that you have a LinkedIn profile add the information to your email signature. This will give business associates an opportunity to connect with you via LinkedIn when they receive an email from you. Almost no one does this, so by doing so you stand out and many people will connect with you.
Once you have your profile complete, it’s important to participate on LinkedIn by updating your status daily, as well as conversing with others who are updating their status. You can comment, like, and share just like with other types of social media. It’s important that you do this regularly on LinkedIn in a professional way, no one wants to know what you had for dinner the night before or when you last went to the gym, LinkedIn is for business, keep it that way.