LinkedIn Ireland is one of the most powerful and popular social media sites, particularly for professionals and businesses alike.
However many accountants, solicitors, other professionals, small business owners, and others don’t know how to use LinkedIn effectively.
There are three critical aspects to exploiting LinkedIn to it’s full extent:
1. Ensuring your profile is full and comprehensive
2. Contributing and sharing well in discussions
3. Joining the most appropriate groups for you, depending on the purpose for which you intend using LinkedIn (this may be job seeking, business promotion or whatever purpose you may have in mind).
There are other great uses to which you can put LinkedIn but the three steps above are critical.
The two videos below should be helpful in clearing away some of the confusion surrounding how to use LinkedIn and help you get off to a good start. Once you start using LinkedIn and interacting on a regular basis you will discover how best to use it for your particular purposes.
One word of warning: like all social media sites you will need to be careful that your social media marketing does not become counterproductive by becoming a big time suck but this should not be a problem provided you decide at the outset which are the best social media platforms for you and being disciplined about your time management.
If you have not already read and implemented LinkedIn Marketing-LinkedIn Profile creation part 1 I strongly suggest that you do so.
To maximize LinkedIn to it’s fullest it is essential that you create a great profile and let people know about your expertise, how you help people and who you help.
Assuming you have fully completed your profile you then need to
1) Get connected
To do this use LinkedIn’s built in feature of importing your contacts.
You can easily import all your email contacts from your Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and other accounts (by importing a spreadsheet of your contacts).
Then you need to systematically go through your list of contacts and see who you would want to connect with on LinkedIn by sending them a personalized message.
You really need to go through your list because you will have many contacts in your email accounts who you may not wish or need to contact with on LinkedIn-strictly social contacts or family for example.
2) Seek recommendations
Social proof in the form of recommendations from clients, work colleagues, employers, companies or individuals who you have done business with in the past is a powerful method of demonstrating your expertise.
The best way to get recommendations is to actually give them first but don’t abuse this-don’t give a recommendation for someone to simply receive one if you cannot truly recommend the other person.
3) Join groups
Join groups in your industry or area of interest of both. Contribute to discussions and offer genuinely good, thoughtful responses and you will be amazed at how many requests you receive to connect with people.
This will increase your area of influence exponentially.
Another real benefit of being in groups is the ability to contact people in your group without needing their email address as you can contact fellow group members through LinkedIn internal messaging.
This is a very valuable aspect of LinkedIn but a word of warning-don’t abuse it or spam group members simply because you can.
Starting your own group and being the leader of a group gives you additional benefits such as being able to send messages to group members once a week and raising your profile as an expert and leader in your area of expertise.
In summary LinkedIn can be an incredibly powerful tool to make great contacts who you may never have the opportunity to hook up with otherwise.
But a word of warning-don’t try spamming your way to online or digital riches as you will soon be recognised as a spammer and any shred of credibility you may have to begin with will soon disappear.
This is critical and will be your shop window in marketing yourself and/or your business or service.
2) Your profile headline
Your profile headline is vitally important and will also have a huge impact in how you are found on LinkedIn when somebody uses the “people” search box.
Your profile headline should include keywords or phrases that you would like to be found for such as “seo expert”, “intellectual property lawyer” or whatever.
And your headline also needs to immediately convey the benefit that you can provide to the visitor so you need to convey who you can help and how you do it.
3) Profile summary
Your profile summary is a great opportunity to describe more fully what you do, who you can help, what your expertise is and any other vital information you want to convey.
Make sure also that your profile summary includes your target keyphrases sprinkled through it as you will have a good chance of coming up in the internal LinkedIn search engine or other search engines for your target keywords or phrases.
(Google loves LinkedIn and on many occasions if you do a Google search for a person it is their LinkedIn profile that will appear at the top of the search engine results-so make sure it is a good, complete profile that does you justice)
4) Your website/blog links
Your profile gives you the opportunity to get a great backlink to a number of your web properties.
But just putting in your website url address in the “my website” box is a waste-be sure to edit the “my website” option to include your company name or target keyphrase.
This is easily done be a simple edit but so many people have undescriptive and seo poor titles beside their website address such as “my website” or “company website”.
You can also use one of these link opportunities to insert a call to action. For example if you are doing a special offer on your website or giving something away for free, edit one of the website boxes to create a call to action such as “get your free report” or whatever it is you are offering.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series explaining how to get the most out of LinkedIn to market you and/or your business. Here is part 2 of LinkedIn marketing.