Debbie Wemyss After a 20-year nonprofit career in marketing, PR and fundraising, Debbie founded DW Consulting Solutions LLC to offer expert 1:1 and corporate coaching to utilize LinkedIn as a powerful branding and marketing tool. Contact her at 561-444-2265, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.linkedin.com/in/debbiewemyss or www.dwconsultingsolutions.com. Not with, affiliated or endorsed by the LinkedIn© Corporation
The start of a new year typically prompts a multitude of commitments and promises to one’s self and business. Ever notice how some people manage to set themselves up for failure? Allow me to assist you in a sure-fire resolution that will put you on the fast track to improve your networking and your business. Now is the time to embrace LinkedIn as the powerful branding and marketing tool that it is. Many professionals have established a LinkedIn profile, but they don’t know what to do next. Every member can benefit by doing a little bit more on the site.
Here are a few stats from the LinkedIn Corporation Quarterly Reports, LinkedIn News and LinkedIn Blog:
For a long time, the site was known as “the job seekers network.” LinkedIn does earn more than 60 percent of their annual revenue from their Talent Solutions and the HR industry. But with all statistics aside, here is the real message: Every business needs to network. Every business needs contacts. Every business needs to continue to grow. Linked-In enables all members to grow an incredibly valuable network of connections that will either lead you to business or become your business later.
Initially, establish a LinkedIn profile that has the most professional presence possible. This is, after all, the world’s largest professional network. Your goal should be: I want to be found on LinkedIn. People go to Google to find people, products, services, talent and everything else. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it might appear at the top of searches if you have what is known as a keyword optimized profile. The person searching will be taken right to your profile if they are a member of LinkedIn. Otherwise, they will be prompted to start a free basic membership to view your profile in its entirety.
1. Do you have a professional looking headshot? Using anything other than your likeness in this field (graphic, logo, cartoon) will eventually cause your profile to be shut down! Doing so is against the LinkedIn User Agreement. Make your first impression a good one. Note: Selfies do not belong on LinkedIn — period.
2. Do you have a Summary? Yes, this requires writing, but it’s a golden opportunity to share your story: what you do, why you’re passionate about it and how you can help the viewer. Please remember to include a CTA (call to action) to make it easy for the viewer to reach you by phone, email or website.
3. The Experience section should include your current work plus at least two previous positions. Let the viewer know how you progressed to your current role/position — even if what you do now is totally different from the past work you have done.
4. Skills. Be sure to max out the 50 allowed. This becomes a glossary of keywords that can bring up your profile. It is appropriate to be a bit redundant with your list as you are guessing at how these keywords might be typed into the search field. Example: Nonprofit also can be listed as NPO, non-profit or not-for-profit. V.P. also can be included as vice president, etc.
5. Include images and videos whenever possible. These can be added to the Summary, Experience and/or Education sections and will help to increase the number of views on your profile. Videos are extremely effective in attracting attention. Keep them brief!
6. Education. The relevant year of your educational accomplishments is not a required field. Without the year entry, multiple school/college entries will be listed alphabetically.
It is always advisable to revise your Summary occasionally to keep it fresh. Be mindful of new advancements in your work, business or industry. Your Summary should tell the viewer just enough to pique their curiosity so that they want to know more.
The best strategy you can embrace, once your profile is established, is to focus on consistently building your network with connections of value. Do this by striving to connect with people you know, like and trust. But also connect with members you do not know who can add value by their industry, connections or business. When someone you do not know invites you to connect, do not hit “ignore” without first spending a minute on their profile to seek value. Do you have mutual connections and are they trusted professionals? That is a plus. Does the person work in an industry within your target market? Might they know people that you need to know? Do they have lots of connections? I choose to ignore invitations on two occasions:
TIP: When you choose to ignore an invitation it simply goes away and the initiator is not notified.
Your activity on LinkedIn also will help to determine your success on the site. Scan your home-page feed and look for posts that resonate with you. Like, comment or share them to help you and the originator be more visible to your network. When you post your own content, be sure you are educating and informing…not pitching! LinkedIn holds a world of prospective clients, but do yourself a favor and show restraint. As with in-person networking, you must engage with your connections, develop a relationship and earn their trust before you can offer solutions to their pain points.
LinkedIn groups, I believe, are the most underutilized feature of the site. The lead-gen aspect of groups is almost limitless. With more than 3 million groups, you surely will find several that cater to your target market. They offer an excellent opportunity to directly engage with a large audience. The amount of activity you do within groups will directly affect the number of views to your profile.
LinkedIn is a tool. And, like any other tool, it must be used to realize a return. With a focused strategy and about 20 minutes a day, you will not be left behind! C&IT