LinkedIn is an untapped resource for many entrepreneurs … how do you know if you’re leaving something on the table? It’s a question I’m asked time and time again. Let’s get started by gauging the value the platform has to offer you and your business.
Ask yourself these two questions:
- Are you business-to-business or business-to-consumer? If you are business-to-business, LinkedIn is a must. If you are business-to-consumer, you can still leverage the platform to network, generate media coverage, or – in some cases – generate business.
- Is your industry active on LinkedIn? Individuals in some industries use LinkedIn as a critical business tool. Those in other industries have a profile, but rarely use it. If you are in an industry that regularly uses the platform, you should engage on LinkedIn in some capacity.
Businesses should map out a plan before engaging on any social media platform, especially LinkedIn. I’ve heard too many entrepreneurs say things like,
“I’m on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram because I thought I was supposed to be …”
Many of those same entrepreneurs are so strapped for time, the last thing they think about doing each day is engaging on social media. I’ve learned this is especially true of LinkedIn.
Have you found yourself uttering any of these statements?
“I have a profile, but have no idea what to do with it.”
“I plugged in my resume to LinkedIn … is that right?”
“I get a ton of requests, but don’t do anything with them because I don’t want to get a bunch of solicitations.”
“I want to learn more about LinkedIn, but have no time.”
If any of these are you, today is your lucky day! I am going to spell out the three things you should do if you:
- have no idea what to do on LinkedIn
- have no time to even think about LinkedIn, let alone the time to log in and engage with someone on LinkedIn
Alright, let’s get started!
1. Determine your LinkedIn purpose
Before you do anything, you need to pinpoint what LinkedIn can do for you and your business. If you conclude the benefit of LinkedIn isn’t worth your time, you can move on to something else. On the other hand, you may realize LinkedIn is a huge untapped resource.
Ask yourself these two questions:
1. What is the best thing that can happen as a result of using LinkedIn?
Think pie-in-the-sky. Perhaps you want to …
- be featured on a major news outlet
- get a big-time freelance writing gig
- connect with one of the biggest influencers in your industry and schedule a networking call
- land your dream client
2. How do you achieve that “best thing?”
Let’s say your purpose is to land your dream client. What steps would or could lead up to that? Do you reach out cold? Comment on his or her posts or articles? Offer a free trial for your product or service?
If you’re looking to be featured on a major news outlet, you probably start by writing or producing your own original content and then reaching out to media.
No matter your goal, lay out the exact step-by-step process that will result in achieving your LinkedIn purpose.
2. Optimize your headline and current experience
Once you’ve determined your LinkedIn goal, you can gear your profile toward it. The most important sections of your profile are your headline and current experience. You want both to reflect your purpose or strength and include keywords.
Think about the people you want to notice you. What do you want them to know? Put that in your headline.
If it’s possible someone would search for your services, what would they search? Make sure those words or phrases are included in your current experience section. The tone of what you say will be dependent on your personality and industry, but the overall goal is to sell yourself through your profile.
3. Execute or hire based on the potential benefit
This is where the time factor comes in.
If you go through steps one and two and recognize a benefit to using LinkedIn, you’ll want to make sure you invest some time or hire someone to invest time on your behalf.
What does “investing time” in LinkedIn look like?
Engage in the following steps, starting with the first item and adding subsequent steps as you can:
- Make relevant connections. LinkedIn is a Rolodex of business value — don’t let it fall by the wayside! At the very least, connect with relevant people and build a quality network.
- Like or comment on posts. The more you like or comment on posts, the more users see your headline and, hopefully, click on your profile.
- Share relevant content. One step further than liking or commenting on other people’s posts or content is to post yourself. Share content helpful to your target audience that accurately represents you as a professional.
- Go premium. If there is money to be had through LinkedIn, you probably want to invest in a premium account. There are five different types of premium accounts: Premium Career, Sales Navigator, Recruiter Lite, Premium Business, and LinkedIn Learning. Each provides a unique set of benefits – you can “see who’s viewed your profile,” InMail individuals who aren’t connections, and do some serious prospecting through Sales Navigator.
If you see a significant benefit to using LinkedIn but don’t have time to do it yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Helping clients engage and convert leads on LinkedIn is one of my favorite things to do!
There are plenty of options to get started with me, including a strategy session to learn more about how you can leverage your brand, LinkedIn profile optimization, or a strategy audit to receive specific steps to grow your online presence.
I’m looking forward to your comments below and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org!