Everyone thinks they’re an expert on LinkedIn

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Everyone uses LinkedIn.

With over 225 million users and 178 million of those visiting every month, it has become the de facto website for networking.

LinkedIn is built to be easy to use, so everyone believes that they are using it effectively. But are you really? Is there more you can get out of the site? (this post is not meant to be a promotion/paean for LinkedIn, more of a B2B marketing/sales guide)

There are manymanymany articles on tips for using LinkedIn effectively. And even more videos. Its worth looking at one or two, but soon you realise many tips are very similar and self evident. Having said that, I’m sure there’ll be something you can learn and apply – I know I did!

If your purpose in using LinkedIn is “to build a network that is useful and efficient in supporting any professional goal I might have”, then it seems to come down to three key use cases; jobs, companies, and groups. With this in mind, I thought I’d share six of the gems I uncovered whilst digging for some top tips:

JOBS: showing off your professional profile for recruitment/promotional purposes and possibly finding/listing a job

  • Add a profile photo to improve views: Some people can feel self conscious about uploading a photo but apparently LinkedIn profiles with photos are viewed seven times more often than profiles with a blank box, meaning the decision to add a photo should be a no-brainer. I’d recommend using an identifiable ‘work friendly’ image, but one of our sales team swears his ewok pic fosters a lot of feedback.
  • Optimise your key words for Google: Think about SEO for your public profile, as it will then feature in Google searches. Don’t stuff it with ‘innovative’ and ‘marketer’ every other word – but do think about what specific terms you would want people to google you for.

COMPANIES: learning interesting/useful business information

  • Follow companies that you’d like to work for: You may then get an insight into who’s leaving this company, and be informed and ready to get your CV in.
  • For marketers – update your company status: It seems that everyone ‘follows’ their company – my own is credited with more employees than I believe we have, and four times as many followers! But how often does the company actually use this communication channel? I think there’s a lack of understanding of how linked in to LinkedIn everyone is – that said, you should not abuse this channel but rather provide interesting insights into the corporate culture.

GROUPS: networking with potential business partners

  • Join groups to network: People only seem to join groups if they are particularly interested in a topic. However, many then just lurk, worried that they might say something against company policy or look stupid. However, if you are also a member of that group, it’s a good way to request a connection.
  • The power of Advanced Search, and the 2nd connection: I think Advanced Search is the most under-utilised tool within LinkedIn. I have a premium account which allows me more filters than the basic level, but still there’s so much you can do, including looking at the list of contacts that each of your 1st degree contacts have – you might be surprised who they know that you would like to be introduced to! This is the power of the 2nd degree, interesting contacts that your own trusted contacts can introduce you to. When using Advanced Search, this is the filter you should default to.

Hopefully some of you will have learned something there – so that I can smugly assume that I’m now the expert. For at least perhaps a minute. Feel free to comment and burst my bubble – always keen to learn more!

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