So, you’ve set up a LinkedIn profile. You’ve added some of your most recent jobs, connected with your co-workers and maybe added in where you went to college or university. Now what?
As far as social media platforms go, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful for driving tangible business results. In fact, it’s the world’s largest professional network, boasting an impressive 690+ million users located in over 200 countries around the world. And with over 30 million companies leveraging the platform, LinkedIn presents a golden opportunity for personal brands and businesses to connect with potential customers, clients and even prospective colleagues.
But here’s the thing: LinkedIn is way more than just a digital resume. Since it’s creation back in 2002 LinkedIn has grown to be an impressive social networking site focused on business-to-business (B2B) marketing. Whilst showcasing your skills and experience is still important, LinkedIn has evolved to offer unique marketing and content opportunities that can help you promote your personal brand and business to a tailored professional audience.
Not sure where to start when it comes to using LinkedIn to build your personal and professional brand? Discover the top expert tips and strategies for how to master LinkedIn below!
What is LinkedIn?
Whether you’ve used the platform before or have never clicked onto the site, here’s a refresher as to what LinkedIn is all about. Think of LinkedIn as the Internet’s professional social networking site. In fact, it’s the biggest corporate networking platform around, with over 690 million members as of 2020.
LinkedIn looks pretty similar to your Facebook Feed: you connect with professional contacts (such as coworkers, clients and past colleagues) and share posts such as articles, videos, images and more. It’s free to sign up and create a personal profile on LinkedIn, with the option to upgrade to a paid Premium account. Plus, business owners can also create a dedicated Company Page to promote their brand online (more on that in a minute!).
The biggest difference between LinkedIn and other social networking sites is the purpose of the platform. LinkedIn is dedicated to professional networking and brand building, helping individuals and businesses connect, collaborate and promote their work with others in their industry.
Whether you’re a small business owner, job seeker, employee, entrepreneur or C-suite executive, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to tap into and build a thriving network of like-minded professionals and businesses. From sharing your recent blogs to announcing your professional achievements, LinkedIn is the perfect platform to build your personal and professional brand online.
Why should brands and businesses use LinkedIn?
Before diving into these expert LinkedIn tips, let’s look at why personal brands and businesses should be using LinkedIn in the first place!
Whether you’re looking to use LinkedIn as an individual, as a business or a bit of both, LinkedIn offers a range of benefits, including:
• Providing a powerful resource for job seekers to identify and apply for new opportunities and even connect with recruiters.
• Enabling professionals to showcase their skills, experiences and qualifications in one easily accessible place (a perfect way to compliment your resume or CV!)
• Offering businesses the chance to leverage B2B marketing and connect with valuable customers and clients in their industry
• Facilitating digital networking with other professionals and brands in your industry
• Engaging with LinkedIn Groups to share ideas, opportunities and resources among like-minded businesses and professionals
Alright Plann’rs — now let’s get down to the practical tips and tricks of how to use LinkedIn for personal brands and businesses!
LinkedIn Tip 1: Optimize your personal LinkedIn Profile
Once you’ve created a personal LinkedIn Profile, it’s important to ensure you’re showcasing your expertise in the most effective way. That’s where optimizing the content on your LinkedIn Profile comes in. The best bit? It’s super easy to edit this information and a few simple tweaks can help improve your searchability and discoverability on the platform too!
Here’s your go-to checklist for optimizing your personal LinkedIn Profile:
• Upload a high-quality headshot
• Add a branded background image (a.k.a. cover photo) that represents the organization or brand you work for
• Showcase your experience and skills in your headline (try mentioning keywords such as your industry, job title and areas of specialization in 120 characters or less)
• Craft a convincing and concise ‘About’ section (2,000 characters or less) that gives your network a snapshot of your professional experience, skills and achievements.
• Fill out your experience (both your current role and previous positions) to showcase your breadth of expertise.
• PRO TIP! To really make your LinkedIn profile shine, try adding as much detail as possible to your current and previous experience. Give a snapshot of the specific duties, tasks and responsibilities of the role and provide a couple of powerful case studies or project results that you’re most proud of.
• Fill out your education and certifications to showcase your professional qualifications
• Make sure to note down your key skills to give colleagues an opportunity to endorse you.
LinkedIn Tip 2: Build your professional network
Whether you’re using LinkedIn to showcase your own skills or want to raise the profile of your business, building a large network of connections is a wise move. Think of it like this: the more connections you have, the greater chance you have to reach new high-quality business leads! That means every time you share a post about your brand’s success, you’ll automatically reach more people working in your industry.
There are a few ways to build your professional network on LinkedIn. Start by searching for your current team members, colleagues and clients on LinkedIn and connecting with these close contacts. Next, have a look through the suggested connections and ‘People You Might Know’ feed curated by LinkedIn. The more people you connect with over time, the more relevant this list will become!
The best part of building your professional network on LinkedIn is the opportunities it provides for networking. From commenting on their latest articles to congratulating members when they receive a promotion, these contacts are a valuable pool of prospective clients, customers and even potential team members!
LinkedIn Tip 3: Provide recommendations and endorsements
What’s the first thing you do when you’re buying a new skincare product? Chances are you head to Google or social media to scout out a bunch of honest customer reviews. Why? Because they’ll tell you if the cream or serum actually works (and if it’s worth spending your hard-earned cash on!).
Think of LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations like these product reviews. The more skill endorsements you have from past clients and colleagues, the more valuable these skills become. Rather than you telling the world how great you are at a particular skill, these endorsements let others promote your expertise in their own words. Talk about valuable social proof!
The best way to boost your recommendations and endorsements is to do the same for others! By endorsing the skills of past team members and clients you’ll increase your chances of receiving these helpful testimonials on your own LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Tip 4: Create a Company Page for your business on LinkedIn
Once you’ve set up your personal LinkedIn profile, it’s time to create a dedicated Company Page for your business on LinkedIn. Think of this like setting up a Facebook Page, a place to market and promote your business on LinkedIn. This step is essential if you’re looking to boost your businesses’ reach on LinkedIn, so make sure to complete this important step!
Ready to create your LinkedIn Company Page? Here’s your ultimate step-by-step guide to do just that:
STEP 1: To get started, head to your LinkedIn Feed, select ‘Work’ in the top right-hand corner of your page and hit ‘Create A Company Page’.
STEP 2: Now it’s time to select the category that best describes your business. You can choose from Small Business, Medium To Large Business, Showcase Page or Educational Institution.
STEP 3: Next, it’s time to fill out the company details that will appear on your LinkedIn Company Page. Make sure to take the time to complete these fields in full to maximize your chances of searchability and discoverability on LinkedIn.
TIP! See the section that says Logo and Tagline? Although these fields are optional, don’t skip this step! By uploading your company’s logo and writing an engaging tagline you’ll be setting your page up for success from the get-go.
STEP 4: Once you’re happy with all the details you’ve filled out, click ‘Create Page’.
Congratulations! Now you’ve successfully created your businesses’ Company Page on LinkedIn. Want to make the most of your efforts? It’s a smart idea to head into your Company Page’s settings and add a few extra bits of information to help boost your chances of ranking well in LinkedIn’s search results. Hit the pencil icon beneath your company name to complete these sections:
• Company description: an opportunity to share your businesses’ vision, mission, values as well as your key products or services. Keep this short and inject as many keywords relevant to your business as possible.
• Location: does your business have a physical shopfront? Let LinkedIn users know by adding in your store address.
• Hashtags: select up to 3 hashtags that are commonly searched for and tailored to your business
• Cover photo: upload a branded cover image that showcases your team or your business (resized to the dimensions 1584 x 396 pixels)
• Add a call-to-action button: did you know you can customize the button that appears at the top of your Company Page? Make sure this is aligned to your LinkedIn marketing objectives, such as website clicks or email sign-ups
LinkedIn Tip 5: Take advantage of your different LinkedIn content types
Gone are the days when your options for making a LinkedIn post were limited to a text status update on your personal profile. Now, there are a plethora of different content types you can use on LinkedIn to help grow your personal brand and business.
Now, you can post:
Articles: Different to a Linkedin post, this is ideal for long-form, thought-leadership style content. Just like a blog post, you can add a headline and rich content like images, videos, snippets, links and even slides.
Slideshows: Yep, this feature is packed with so much potential, it deserves its own mention! You can now create slideshows similar to Instagram’s carousel feature on LinkedIn. These are great for creating tip-based content, as they allow you to share multiple ideas and photos in one post. There are a few different ways you can use this feature. When creating an article, you can select slides and import your presentation from a tool like Slideshare or Prezi. Or, when creating a LinkedIn post, you can click on document and upload a PowerPoint presentation of up to 300 pages!
Photos: Pretty straightforward, you can post images and add a caption and relevant hashtags. This can be useful for showcasing products or graphics that promote your service.
Videos: You can upload video content natively to LinkedIn to amplify your reach. For example, if you want to share a video of a workshop or interview on LinkedIn, this would be far more effective than just sharing a link or embedding the video
Stories: Currently only available on mobile, LinkedIn’s newest feature allows you to post Instagram-style temporary content. From photos to short videos, it’s great for sharing more off-the-cuff moments that showcase the person behind the brand. You can learn more about how to use Instagram stories here.
Lives: Another relatively new feature, LinkedIn Live allows you to live broadcast videos on your personal profile or company page. This is said to generate 7 x more engagement and 24 x more comments that static content, and is great for thought leadership and behind-the-scenes content. This feature is currently available by application only and you can apply here.
Polls: You can now post polls on both your personal profile and company page. This allows you to ask your audience a question, and allow them to choose from a couple of different options. It’s an awesome tool for not only generating engagement, but also gaining feedback and gauging sentiment from your audience.
Other post features: LinkedIn also has a handful of other cool new ways you can engage with your network. These include sharing an offer of how you can help in these difficult times, sharing a profile of a colleague or collaborator, finding an expert and celebrating an occasion which is similar to Facebook’s milestone feature.
LinkedIn Tip 6: Scout out new team members (or job opportunities)
Whether you’re a business owner looking to grow your team or are a jobseeker on the hunt for your next gig, LinkedIn is the place to discover and post great job opportunities. In fact, according to LinkedIn someone is hired every 8 seconds thanks to LinkedIn Jobs!
For businesses looking to recruit new candidates, LinkedIn jobs enable you to share, screen and discover qualified candidates through one easy-to-use interface. Simply create a job post, share your selection criteria and even add in screening questions to help you find the best applicants (with screening questions helping 80% of job posters find a qualified candidate within 24 hours).
Plus, you can even use LinkedIn’s targeting features to promote your job listing to applicants with the right skills. And once applications close, you can easily filter through the most qualified candidates to streamline your hiring process.
And if you’re on the hunt for a new role? LinkedIn Jobs is one of the easiest ways to find high-quality roles from verified employers and companies. Simply head your Jobs page to browse by role, organization or key terms, with plenty of useful filters available to simplify your search. Plus, you can ever set up job alerts to save you time and effort and let recruiters know you’re actively searching for a new job too.
LinkedIn Tip 7: Start conversations via LinkedIn Messaging
LinkedIn Messaging is a powerful tool that lets you chat with fellow LinkedIn members and connections. Although you can only message members that you’re already connected to, this is still a useful feature to help you build personal relationships with your network on LinkedIn.
To start a conversation, head to the Messaging page on LinkedIn and search for the user you’d like to message. This is a great way to solidify new connections and start conversations based on mutual interests.
But what about if you want to message someone you’re not connected to on LinkedIn? Say hello to InMail, a simple way to send private messages to other LinkedIn members outside of your network. Unfortunately, this feature is only enabled on Premium accounts, so make sure to upgrade if you’d like to take advantage of this handy feature!
LinkedIn Tip 8: Get creative with sharing content to LinkedIn
This is where the magic happens on LinkedIn! Like all social networking sites, content is what keeps LinkedIn users engaged and interested in what you have to say. Both personal brands and businesses can benefit from sharing engaging content to their LinkedIn networks, helping to boost brand awareness, increase reach and deepen your professional connections and relationships.
But, what are the top ways to optimizing your content for LinkedIn?
• Share rich media (such as engaging images, photo galleries and native LinkedIn video content) for your best chance of ranking success on the LinkedIn Feed (with videos receiving 5x more engagement on the platform than any type of content)
IMAGE: Take this example from TED Conferences. This simple native video attracted over 13k reactions and more than 300,000 views – talk about meaningful engagement!
• Leverage relevant hashtags to boost your reach and increase your brand’s exposure on LinkedIn
• Turn on employee notifications to let your team know when important content is published to your brand’s Company Page. This is a simple way to increase organic reach and engagement on LinkedIn!
• Tag relevant LinkedIn users in the captions and comments of your LinkedIn Company and personal posts. This will immediately notify these users to check out your content and will increase the reach of your posts at the same time!
• Share your Company Page updates to your LinkedIn personal profile to maximize the reach of these pieces of content across both networks
• Reshare your existing blog content via LinkedIn Publishing to natively post this long-form content to your LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn Tip 9: Get involved in LinkedIn Groups
Want to expand your network outside of your existing professional connections? Take advantage of LinkedIn Groups, a powerful networking feature that enables professionals working in the same industry to connect, share content, promote jobs and more.
LinkedIn Groups are engaged spaces to share ideas and build thought leadership in your industry, helping brands and individuals to forge lasting relationships with others in their industry. Plus, these groups are a fantastic place to share your own content and drive high-value prospects to your website as well!
To take advantage of LinkedIn Groups, simply search by name, industry or keyword and select ‘Group’ in the main search bar at the top of your feed. Once you find a relevant group you’d like to join, hit ‘Request to join’. It’s that simple!
And that’s a wrap! As you can see, LinkedIn is valuable marketing tool for personal brands and businesses to help boost brand awareness, broaden your content’s reach and develop meaningful connections with others in your industry. By taking the time to optimize your personal profile and Company Page you’ll be in the best position to discover, connect and network with other high-value professionals. Who knows, LinkedIn could even help you grow your team or score a new job too!