Am I right to assume that LinkedIn is one of the social networks your are not getting the maximum of? How often do you use it, engage with others and take advantage of its features? If the answer is "not frequently enough", that might be one of the reasons why you aren't seeing much benefits from the platform. But guess what, the problem may start with the very creation of your personal profile. Yes, your personal profile. And although LinkedIn is known to be a B2B social platform, you can still reach individuals that are interested in your products or services using the right approach. Let's get you noticed on LinkedIn in 2018.
Building Your Profile
Most people see LinkedIn profiles as online CVs. They focus on work experience and qualifications more than they do on personal data and a powerful message. That works for career builders, looking for the next employment challenge. You are different. You are an entrepreneur, so what people see on your page, before they have the chance to scroll down, will make or break the deal.
Your Profile Picture
One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs and consultants make is not adding a profile picture. Humans generally don't trust what they can't see. Why do you assume that someone would want to work with you if they can't make an eye contact? This has nothing to do with race, gender or religious bias. Of course, there will be people who will judge based on that, but believe me, you don't want to work with someone like this, even if their money is really good. So don't count it as a loss. Back to the important stuff, what should your profile picture be?
Professional - No party pictures with drinks and skimpy clothing.
Friendly - Don't upload your passport photo. Remember, professional doesn't mean boring. You are allowed to smile. In fact, I strongly recommend it.
Use a clear background - Single-colour background works best. Try to use light colours, so that your face pops out.
No full-length photos - The best profile pictures are either headshots or those featuring about 30% of your body.
You can add a cover photo, but again, make sure that it isn't too distractive from the main focus, which is you.
Your Profile Headline
Your headline is the most important message you want people to take from this page. Therefore, don't just use your job title. What makes a good profile headline?
who are you
what problem are you solving
who are you helping
Check this example:
"Early stage business & marketing consultant | Helping people with ideas create powerful organisations from scratch"
Your Profile Contact Details
Pay some attention to your profile summary too. If you have filled in your employment history already, there is a very good chance that LinkedIn will generate a summary for you. Sometimes these are really well-presented, but don't take it fully as it is. Add some of your own flavour.
Growing Your Network
This seems like a lot of hard work, but it doesn't really have to be. You have several options to multiply the contacts in your network and your followers.
Import Your Email Contacts
You can import all the contacts you have in your professional email and find their LinkedIn profile. Then simply click on "Connect".
Participate in Networking Threads
There are numerous Facebook and other social media groups for entrepreneurs where regular networking threads are posted. Wait for the LinkedIn thread and connect with the individuals you want in your network.
Connect with Your 2nd Degree Connections
Go to "My Network" and then click on "see all" connections (on the left hand side). Then "search with filters" and choose the "2nd" degree from the dropdown menu. Now you see thousands of new people that can potentially become part of your network because you have contacts in common. Pick only the ones you think would be interested in what you do and the content you are putting on LinkedIn.
This is probably the oldest technique for getting new followers, likes and comments. It's used across all social media channels. And yes, it still works if done right. Here's the process in 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Create a valuable freebie - something your target audience is really interested in or really needs.
Step 2: Create a powerful and tempting offer - build some credibility -talk about your experience and notable achievements. Explain why people should care about what you are offering and how would they know if it is any good.
Step 3: Tell them they will receive this incredible piece if they simply like and comment on the post or become your followers.
Not only your followers will grow significantly, but that's also how you create viral posts.
Getting Leads for Your Business
As with Facebook, one of the greatest ways to market your products and services is by joining groups. Why? These are communities and social media algorithms favour content that is put into communities more than content put on business pages. Also, if you join the right groups, basically you have a room full of your ideal clients, waiting for you to sell them the best thing since sliced bread. Why wouldn't you take advantage? One more benefit of LinkedIn groups - you can send private messages to group members even if they are not in your network without having to pay for this service. It's an awesome hack. You are welcome.
Bringing Traffic to Your Blog
LinkedIn has the potential to seriously boost your blog traffic. Furthermore, it provides a valuable, high authority backlink to your website, which is gold for SEO. You just need to know the right strategy to implement.
Create LinkedIn Articles
Take any of your blog posts, already published on your site and put about 25% of it on LinkedIn as an article. Make sure the topic is engaging and people will be interested in reading more. "How to" titles do the trick most of the time. The part that you are going to put on LinkedIn has to hook the reader. At the bottom include the words "read more" and link them to your original blog post. Voilà!
Articles are better than status updates, because first, you have more space to work with. Second, you can add images and videos to gab the attention. Third, when you publish an article, your followers get notified.
What NOT to Do on LinkedIn
As with every social media channel, in LinkedIn there are also some don'ts. Make a note of them.
Rely on a Company Page Alone
Company pages on LinkedIn are good for large organisations with a lot of employees who can check in as part of the company. But even as at that, pages don't get anywhere near the engagement of some really good personal profiles. That's mainly because of the algorithm I mentioned above. Also, people don't really care about what a business organisation has to say. They are more inclined to interact with an individual who seems to know what he or she is talking about.
Post on Sundays
Sundays have the lowest rate for engagement on LinkedIn as it seems to be the case with most social media networks. This isn't really surprising, because professional people tend to stay away from anything related to work during the weekend. From my personal experience, however, Saturday late morning or early afternoon seems to get the most engagement on my published articles. I guess this is because my content is targeted at entrepreneurs, mainly in the early stage of business, so it's common for such people to look for answers and work on their venture 24/7, weekends included.
Use Your Network Emails for Bulk Marketing Campaigns
You may have been advised before to export the emails of your 1st degree connections and add them to your mailing list. Just a few weeks ago, this would have been a brilliant way to grow that list effortlessly. However, after the implementation of GDPR, which came into force on 25th May 2018, that's no longer a good idea.
GDPR aims to protect the personal date on individuals using the Internet, and the way it is managed by various businesses. Although most companies will still have the legal basis for storing your personal information and contacting you via your personal email, they need to obtain your explicit consent if they want to send you any type of marketing communication.
Now put yourself on the business side. You can't just advertise your new service or upcoming event to someone because they accepted to connect with you on LinkedIn. You will need to have their permission to do that first. Some consultants and digital marketing specialists claim that as long as you target these individuals one by one and don't send out a bulk marketing campaign you aren't affected by the GDPR. Honestly, I'd rather play it safe and not contact them at all. Ain't nobody got 4% of the global turnover to pay in fines.
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