Social Media and using it for your business can feel like a minefield. With hundreds and thousands of different advisors, blogs, and resources, sometimes just knowing where to start can feel unsettling. When it comes to running a business, it’s safe to say that most of us have the basic understanding that LinkedIn is the professional hangout online. It can be used to network, form new connections, and start the basis of client relationships. But let’s face it, there are so many myths, hacks, and pieces of advice on how to use the platform sometimes it feels easier to just ignore it.
Here’s to the end of that feeling! Throughout this blog, we are going to make it simple by giving you a breakdown of what the platform is, how it works and how to use it effectively. Pair these nuggets of information with the use of our app (newly launched to LinkedIn) and you’ll be feeling more confident in generating those leads and forming those relationships.
So, what exactly is LinkedIn all about?
According to the platform itself:
‘LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet. You can use LinkedIn to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.’
LinkedIn is 18 years old this year, and has formed an audience of over 722 million members in that time, meaning that while it’s not the biggest social networking site out there (Facebook reaches 2.74 billion users) due to it’s focus on business relationships the potential within the site is huge.
The platform consists of six key elements:
- Your profile – this is your own home on LinkedIn. Treat this like your personal shop window. You can talk about your role, link to your website and case studies, and gather recommendations from other businesspeople here.
- Your feed – this is where you will see the content you post, along with being able to engage with the content of others in your network.
- Event Listings – you can organise and attend events linked through LinkedIn here. People can invite you to theirs and vice versa, and this can then sync with your online calendar so it’s all booked in.
- Company Pages – similar to a Facebook page, this is your company’s shop window. Anything you post here will be branded as your organisation. A page can build followers, place job ads, and share employee content.
- Groups – A group is almost like a mass gathering. You can request to join a group or set up your own, and they work best when it’s a group of people with something in common – i.e. social media marketers, or a networking community.
- Messenger – this is where the true magic happens. Aside from engaging with other people’s posts, this is the only place within LinkedIn where you can have a good old chat.
Each of these elements provides an opportunity for conversation, as the main focus here is about interaction between different key players in formats which best suit their needs. For example, you may find that a person with their own profile – Joe Bloggs – hosts a company page from which they showcase their work. That company page then lists an event which Joe puts on for his clients every quarter. That event listing links to a messaging group where attendees can ask any FAQs, for directions to the event, etc.
LINK TO HOOTSUITE STATS: https://blog.hootsuite.com/linkedin-statistics-business/
How should I be using LinkedIn?
As previously alluded to, there are so many tips out there on how to use LinkedIn. However, it shouldn’t be as complicated as it may feel. So, we’ve gone directly to the source to see what their own tips are on how to effectively master the LinkedIn game.
First thing’s first: Let’s get set up properly
When thinking about setting up your business there are certain things which run through your mind that you should tick off: insurance, registering, finding an accountant. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile, and while you might be sat there thinking – well, where do I begin – the answer is simple.
Work your way from top to bottom.
Our advice would be to open your LinkedIn profile on your desktop and work from the top of it to the bottom, filling in these main gaps as you go:
- Imagery – make sure you have a professional image in your profile picture slot, and a branded header image with your contact details displayed
- Headline – In your headline slot tell people exactly what you do for them. Here, focus on talking directly to your target audience rather than everyone and anyone. What do they need to hear you say in order to know you’re the right person to fill their needs?
- About Section – This is where you need to tell the story of your audience. In basic terms, here you want to be acknowledging the problem/want that they are feeling, how you guide them through that problem, and the result of this with a Call to Action
- Featured – Have you got any case studies or videos which really highlight how good you are at what you do? Do you have any resources for people to download? Pin them to your featured section so that they are one of the first things which people see
- Experience – This is the part of your profile in which you need to tell people exactly what you do. Break down your company, your role in that company and again, how you help your target audience.
- Recommendations – People trust the opinions of users more than they do your own, about your product or service. This is why it’s so important to gather reviews and recommendations on your profile. If nothing else, these are great character references.
Top Tip: Be mindful in the experience section of your profile to use keywords. The more relevant words and phrases you use in this section, the easier your profile will be to find through search by your target audience.
Now it’s time to build your network
In order to really feel the benefits of LinkedIn, you need to sit within a strong network. Think about who is going to make the biggest difference to your business; who you have great relationships with already; who you would like to build relationship with moving forward. These are the people you want to surround yourself with on LinkedIn and engaging with.
Similarly, are there any thought leaders in your industry who you could follow? Are there any news outlets, associations, or publications who you could follow to keep up with industry news?
Once you have built your ideal network of connections, then start thinking about how you maintain relationships with these people. There is no point having thousands of connections if they’re sat there not really doing much. It’s the old saying ‘quality over quantity is what truly matters’.
Time to talk
So you have your profile set up and optimised, you have a strong network. What’s next? Now it’s time to get talking. This is the more ongoing task associated with LinkedIn, you need to be posting consistently and engaging with the posts of others.
When it comes to posting your own content, first think about what your target audience needs or wants to hear. This should be the bulk of what you’d class as your sales message. The second thing to consider is then how you get your personality and tone of voice across. Are you known for your quality information? Are you known for your entertaining personality? This is your time to really shine and show people the real reason you’re the best person to fulfil their needs – your value.
If you’re worried about how you are going to become consistent with this posting because of how busy you are, we are here to help. socialsendr is now connected to LinkedIn. Using the app, you can select and edit ready-written posts which are relevant to your audience and schedule them in. These will then go out on your profile, without you needing to pay a marketing agency to do this for you.
To find out more about how the app works, check out the demo page, or sign up for a Free 14 Day Trial. Alternatively, for more tips download our Social Media Made Simple Guide.
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