Does LinkedIn confuse you? Overwhelm you? Make no sense to you?
Let’s change that.
If you’ve been avoiding LinkedIn, there is a good chance you have untapped potential. Whether it’s networking, selling, collaborating, or influencing, LinkedIn has something for just about everyone … and it’s growing at a rapid pace.
As of August 2018, there were more than 26 million companies represented and more than 15 million open jobs on LinkedIn. Add to that the steady increase of engagement – members are taking or sending more than 200 million viral actions and messages every week – and LinkedIn is at least worth a look.
What You Need to Know
Before we dive into how to use LinkedIn, it’s important that you understand these three things:
1. LinkedIn has evolved.
To the dismay of early adopters, LinkedIn is no longer a place to have virtual coffee with the people you already know. Do you remember the slap on the wrist you would get back in the day when you’d try to connect with someone you didn’t know? Those days are gone. Now it’s all about growing your network.
2. The news feed is the place to be.
Forget groups, forget article posts … LinkedIn wants you on the news feed, engaged in conversation. If you don’t believe me, post a link to the news feed with a one-sentence description and watch it die. Today’s LinkedIn is all about posting engaging content (use ALL 1,300 characters!) and generating comments.
3. Hashtags actually have a purpose.
Remember when LinkedIn tried to implement hashtags awhile back and they promptly had no purpose? That’s not what happened this time! Hashtags are like LinkedIn’s filing system. Trust me, you want to use them.
We Know This Isn’t Facebook
… Though you will be reminded of this frequently by annoyed LinkedIn users who are upset by “personal” posts.
While it is a good idea to keep things business-focused, it’s important to incorporate personal thoughts and feelings into posts. If we didn’t, LinkedIn would be pretty dry … the way it was when you stopped using it three years ago, remember?
But content isn’t the only reason LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook. The most exciting reason it isn’t like Facebook is because it has the potential for organic reach.
Yes, that’s right! As opposed to Facebook (where we can’t even get our content in front of the people actually following our business pages), you can post to LinkedIn and your posts have the potential to go viral on the platform.
How exciting is that?
I simplify LinkedIn by breaking it into three primary components:
- Your profile
- Connection requests
Here’s how they work in tandem:
1. Optimize your profile.
What does that mean? LinkedIn is a heavily searched platform. In fact, LinkedIn makes its money by selling the ability to perform detailed searches. Make sure your profile has relevant keywords, is easy to read, and has all of the necessary components filled in. If you want a breakdown of those components, you can download my free LinkedIn checklist.
2. Post quality content and posts.
What you post will depend on you and your audience, but – regardless of what you post – you want to make sure you optimize. Use hashtags, use your 1,300 characters, and don’t put links in your original post (add it to the comments).
3. Send connection requests (with a note).
Reach out to individuals that will improve your bottom line, but do so with an eye towards a relationship. With the potential for organic reach, the connections you make may not be the people who help your business or career, but they might lead to the people who help your business or career!
Did that help?
I hope this provided ample evidence that you should at least explore the possibilities LinkedIn has to offer!
If you have any questions, please comment below!
About Chrissie Wywrot
Chrissie Wywrot is a LinkedIn specialist working with passionate entrepreneurs and professional athletes. To learn more about her services, visit her LinkedIn profile or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.