Using LinkedIn: A Few Practical & Helpful Tips You Can Use Today

If you’re looking for some easy and basic ways to get more out of using LinkedIn for your business, this post should help.

I get a lot of questions about social media from businesses. And for the most part, when someone asks me about using ‘social media for their business’, what they really mean is ‘How do I use Facebook’.

But over the last year or so, that question has changed. LinkedIn specifically has become the subject of more and more questions.  Ever since Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016, the platform has grown in popularity. Couple that with the hot mess we see on Facebook. It’s easy to see why businesses are looking to invest their time and energy into a business-minded social media platform.

LinkedIn more than any other social media tool is where you can control the message and positively impact potential customers.  Here’s how.

An Important Overarching Theme

LinkedIn is the business ‘social creeping’ tool of choice these days.

I have found LinkedIn to be the place folks go when they want to know more about a person for business reasons. While Twitter tends to be the “right now” tool and Facebook is the “thoughts of today” tool, LinkedIn is used quite often as the “what can I find out about xxx” tool. Think of LinkedIn as your place to make an impression when you’re not in the room. More importantly, think of LinkedIn as the place to supplement and enhance communication with your prospects at their convenience.

In other words, set up and use your LinkedIn profile so that regardless of when folks look at it, they’ll see the things you want them to see.

People Over Companies

Keep in mind that people interact with people and not logos. On Twitter it’s ok to have a brand speaking like a person. But on LinkedIn that won’t really work. There are always exceptions, but for the most part, LinkedIn is about people connecting with people. So yes set up that company profile in LinkedIn and make it as complete as possible. Create a personal profile and associate it with your company page so that they are connected. But when it comes to posting articles, commenting on posts, and interactive behaviors on LinkedIn, use your personal profile.

Start With Your Photo

Make sure your photo is clear, simple, and shows just you. You don’t have a large area so make the most of the space. use a head/shoulders shot that is well lit and makes it easy for folks to see your features. Don’t use a photo of you standing up or a photo with multiple people. Make it just you. The photo doesn’t have to be a professional portrait. But you shouldn’t be in a sweatshirt and ballcap either (unless that’s relevant to your business – again, always exceptions). Your face will help you be relatable and help to humanize your posts.

Craft A Headline That Shows Value

Your headline has a few roles in your LinkedIn efforts. First, it will be a quick way for folks to understand what you do and if it’s of interest to them. Second, it plays a role in LinkedIn’s search feature, so using words that matter to your business and your customers will pay dividends. Out of the gate, LinkedIn will put your latest job title in the headline for you. While that is factually accurate, it’s not that interesting in terms of helping you stand out.

Hubspot has an excellent article on creating effective headlines. The basis of their direction is quite simple:  [Job Title]: Helping X do Y.    The ‘helping X do Y’ approach is a way to show your potential customers the value you bring to them. Another excellent point from that article is to be sure to use words familiar to your customers. Stay away from industry speak if you can.

Turn Your Summary Into A Story

To be effective, your profile needs to be more than just a resume. It should become a place where your experience and expertise are carefully laid out in ways that help potential customers choose you. Use this area to bring your work experience to life. Be specific and share what kind of businesses you work with, what specific value you bring to those businesses, and include any proof that can help paint your story. This area should include both sentences as well as bullets and headlines for easy skimming. This format makes it easy for folks to find what they need quickly and easily.

And don’t be all business here – be sure to add a little personal detail in your summary to help make you relatable to others. This will be where people can get to know you a little and help earn trust and confidence in your services and you as a person.  Your summary should be an area you revisit often. In fact, I put an event in my calendar each quarter to revisit and revise if necessary.  Why? New conversations and experiences often provide new perspectives or ideas on what folks should see and will be looking for.

Be Comfortable With The Silence

Yes, the purpose of LinkedIn is to make social connections. You should start doing that right away. Finding companies you work with and want to work with is a powerful tool within the LinkedIn search feature. However, know that unlike Facebook, the reaction and interaction to the posts you share will be less than perhaps you’re used to.

To increase your reach and interaction, be sure to comment on others’ posts often, share content from others that your customers would find interesting, and tag folks in your post using the ‘@’ feature.

But know that if your LinkedIn activity is not getting you as many engagements as you’d like, that’s perfectly ok.  If you have followed the steps in this article, your profile will be well-positioned when a potential customer uses LinkedIn to check you out.  Over 95% of website traffic to a typical business page will never let you know they were there.

The same is true for LinkedIn. It’s normal to have less activity than you think you should have on LinkedIn.  Much of the activity I’ve found is passive.

Closing Thoughts

LinkedIn is a powerful and opportunity-rich platform for finding prospects and engaging with referral sources and potential customers. If you do get active on LinkedIn and start reaching out to find prospects, it’s a great place to do it, and many have found it a solid lead generation platform.

But if you don’t work LinkedIn to the max from a sales point of view, it can still play an effective role in your business development efforts.

The key is to look the part and be ready to impress so that when prospects are in the mindset to do business, they like what they see when they do come looking.

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