How to Grow Your Business Using LinkedIN - Step 1: Your Profile
Have you heard of HonestSlogans.com? They create more, shall we say, “direct,” catchphrases for well-known companies. For instance, WebMD’s honest slogan is, “Convince yourself you have a terminal illness” – so true! For LinkedIn, they’ve come up with, “Connect with people for no good reason at all.”
A few years ago, I would’ve agreed. I’ve been a LinkedIn member since 2007 and have really only been using LinkedIn as an online resume and a place to connect with other professionals – again, for no real reason other than it might come in handy someday.
Turns out, I was right! Recently, I’ve used it for much more and I have a few tips to share. Because each tip is pretty meaty, I’ll be sharing these in a multi-post series over the next few months.
Using LinkedIn effectively starts with a profile that is set up properly and professionally. This may seem unnecessary, but SO many people get it wrong. There are a million theories out there about what you should put on your LinkedIn profile, but below are my top 5 ideas…
1. Take some time to actually do it.
LinkedIn is getting more popular and it’s used increasingly more to actually conduct business (vs. just store information). This is your chance to put your virtual business card/resume out to the world (literally). If you’re concerned about “how” to do it, don’t be. It’s very intuitive and simple. However, if you’re struggling with the tech, ask someone for help or take a 2 hour free class. There are many experts in your community who can help with using LinkedIn for free or at a very low cost.
2. Do it right.
While you’re taking the time – take the time to really do it right. Don’t quickly throw up (I mean that in all senses of the phrase) a page. This is a page about you, so put in the effort to express that on your page.
- What’s your brand?
- What do you stand for?
- How do you help your clients?
- Why would someone want to do business with (or hire) you?
There are some really cool things you can add to your page to help tell your story – video, presentations, webinars, etc. Click here to discover more tricks for your profile. Click here if you want to get a little more technical!
3. Keep it simple.
For instance, list your previous jobs with 1 or 2 sentence explanations, not a book about every little detail of every job you’ve ever had. Also, use “normal person” speak. Please spare people from having to read sentences like, “Developed and maintained vendor partnerships while executing negotiation strategies relative to product costs, shipping, and return issues while maximizing margin opportunities.” (This is a real cut/paste from LinkedIn!) How about, “Negotiated with over 60 vendors resulting in +10% margin improvement”? It never hurts to actually throw in some factoids about how you were successful in each gig!
4. Mind your profile picture.
First, just have one – I shouldn’t even need to note this, but so many people are missing a photo. Unless I know a person very well, I don’t connect with anyone who doesn’t have a photo. Also, don’t use a selfie or a picture taken in a non-business setting – this is a professional social network. A professional headshot can cost just $100 and it’s worth every dollar. Finally, make sure your picture is updated! Professionals using LinkedIn present a more honest character when they use an updated picture. If you’re meeting someone for coffee and all they have to go by is your LinkedIn picture, they should still be able to spot you at Starbucks. No one wants to see a 2004 picture of “younger you with hair!”
5. Don't be too sales-y.
There’s a fine line between providing useful information about who you are/what you do and incessantly pitching yourself and/or your product. Take care not to cross it!
If you haven’t taken the simple actions above, you’re not ready to connect and invite people to your page, so start there! If you don’t have a plan, the “Connect with people for no good reason at all” slogan is right on. However, if you think through ways you can use this valuable network and come up with an actionable plan, it can be worth added revenue and profit for your business.
Stay tuned! In future articles, I’ll share how I quickly connected with hundreds of people, published articles that opened up my network further, and more.
Now, it’s your turn! How do you use your LinkedIn profile? What tips do you have? Comment below or drop me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org!