Reach and exposure are key factors for any entrepreneur looking to scale their business or their brand and social media has become the defacto way to go about it. While Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all viable and acceptable channels for this growth, a lot of people overlook LinkedIn. I meet a lot of entrepreneurs who overlook the value that LinkedIn can bring to their business and their brand.
Not Just for Recruiters
I think a big reason a lot of entrepreneurs tend to ignore LinkedIn is because they view it as a tool headhunters use when searching for candidates to churn through the recruitment meatgrinder. And while that is a significant part of LinkedIn, I personally get contacted by at least five recruiters per week.
Putting the unsolicited messages from recruiters aside there is real value for entrepreneurs within the digital walls of LinkedIn. While it might not have all the selfie laden flash of Instagram or Facebook, if used correctly it can add authority to your personal brand and bolster the visibility of your startup. In this article I am going to run down my top five tips for how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
Don’t have an unattractive profile. Add a profile picture and background image. I know this seems like a social media basic, but I still get several messages per month from people who have no profile picture at all. And just as bad, I see more than half of my connections have the default background image that Linkedin Provides.
Remember your profile pic doesn't need to be stuffy, in fact it should be anything but, however; you shouldn’t be doing shots with your friends in the photo either. Let your profile picture convey something unique about you and let your background image say something about your personal brand or startup philosophy. Get creative and push the boundaries, let this imagery set you apart from everyone else on the network. You’re not some mundane middle management drone so don’t try to look like one.
LinkedIn provides you with a nice big chunk of digital real estate at the top of your profile where you can describe what you do, what your company does, what motivates you, pretty much anything you want. Make use of this space, don’t just let this go to waste.
I see so many profiles that have nothing posted in this description section. Even worse, I see a whole lot of people who fill this space with some generic dribble that no one cares about. Take the time to craft a description that people want to read, that pulls them in. Let it convey your passion and goals as an entrepreneur, your real goals, not some HR approved statement. Take advantage of this space to make it a compelling read, it goes a lot further to make you stand out than you might think.
Just like the rest of the interwebs LinkedIn is searchable so use the same best practices and optimize for keywords you want people to associate with you and your company. Don’t go and cram a bunch of buzzwords into your profile in places where they don't belong, take your time and make sure that you are crafting a legitimate story with your profile. One that just so happens to be SEO friendly and easy to read.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is search friendly so it can help more people find you on the platform. That means more people are going to be exposed to what you do and what your company does. That greater visibility is going to allow you to start conversations and build relationships, which is the whole point of this platform.
Curate an Audience
Seek out other entrepreneurs, possible mentors, thought leaders and business connections. LinkedIn is about networking after all so make the most of it. Find people who not only add value to your network but those who you can also add value to.
Remember, networking and business have to be a two way street (at least they should be). Give just as much, if not more than you get. Do it without expecting anything and allow that goodwill and value add build your reputation.
Over the years LinkedIn has gone through some changes, and most recently it has become a publishing platform for industry leaders, it can be a great way to build valuable content that can reach the audience you have built.
Remember consistent content is the key, if you drop one piece per year people are going to forget who you are before they ever see another piece of content from you. I’m not saying you have to start cranking out pages like Stephen King, but put some work into it and make quality content that helps people and solidifies you as an expert.
Bonus Tip: Find Talent
Use LinkedIn for one of its primary functions, to recruit. Go and stick it to all of those recruiters that are spamming you on the daily and shrink their available talent pool by getting people to come work for you.
All of the other steps you have done up to this point bolster your ability to leverage the platform as a recruiting tool, use it to your advantage. As you scale your business LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool to help you attract quality talent.
Cut Through The Noise
At the end of the day LinkedIn is no different than any other social network, it’s noisy and you have be creating unique content that adds value to people if you want to stand out. LinkedIn can be a great place to build your network, develop an audience and craft your brand. But like anything else you have to put in the work to make it happen.