by Anna McAfee | Featured Contributor
You read that right, LinkedIn is growing in both users and massive engagement numbers in engagement. Its community content is creating an online platform with a more human approach. The once “forgotten” social media platform is gaining attention among millenials, business owners, and leaders who are online not for recruitment but to grow professionally. A recent announcement confirmed the release of Live Video this year, which will add to the “human touch” created by native video 18 months ago. Here are 5 steps to take to get more out of LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn profile is not your resume, and its not just for recruitment
LinkedIn has long-held a reputation as a recruitment-focussed platform, and its the reason many of its 610 million users join. Whilst LinkedIn is still a place for recruiters and job seekers, it is fast becoming THE marketplace for B2B and a great place to build your personal brand.
Its important to have the right focus on LinkedIn your profile. If its to grow your business, network with potential customers, or build your online reputation, its important to ensure your profile is buyer focussed, and not the standard resume template you set up when you first created your account. It should not focus on the job you were once looking for, but focus on attracting a new connection or lead. A great LinkedIn profile should clearly explain WHAT you help WHO with, your background, your WHY, your values, your key drivers and what unique value you can add. It should a representation of who you are, not just what you do and represent your personal brand. It should be visually appealing with a engaging profile image, background image and rich media, such as image and video.
Expand your connection base to further reach new customers
LinkedIn can open many doors when used effectively and with the right mindset. Its fair to say that there are many potential customers and collaborators out there that you don’t yet know. LinkedIn is one large virtual networking room with opportunities to meet new collaborators, mentors, clients and service providers. In order to gain real opportunities you must be open to new connections, but still remain focussed. For example, if its unlikely that you’re going to do business outside of a specific region then keep your network focussed on people in that area but broaden it to include new connections you have not yet met in person.
Its important to always approach new connections with a personalised connection request, or a friendly note when you accept theirs. Never sell in the first instance when connecting. Build relationships first and get to know your potential buyer and understand their needs. Be more human in the connections you build.
All you need is 15 minutes a day to get started
15 minutes a day is all it takes to start building engagement and find new customers online.
We are all busy and spend an increasing amount of time online but LinkedIn needn’t eat into your day. Engaging for just 15 minutes a day will boost your industry knowledge, help you understand your competitors better, and you’ll meet and build relationships with more connections to help you in your career and life.
Spend 5 minutes in the newsfeed reading content, engaging with content and reach out to people to expand your network. Engagement means commenting as well as liking, comments help boost the algorithm and build better relationships. You can add a lot of value to other posts and your own network through intentional comments. Spend another 5 minutes sending, checking and responding to received connection requests and messages. Spend the remaining 5 minutes checking your notifications, with updates on recent posts and flags for anyone who has started a new job, has a work anniversary or birthday. Reach out to these people to engage with them.
Produce engaging content and participate in hashtag campaigns to expand your reach
Your LinkedIn content should be focussed on engagement as its comments that are most favoured by the algorithm. Ask questions in your content, raise a different opinion on a topic, and be empathetic to your clients problems and viewpoints. In all of the forms of content, both posts and pulse articles, storytelling is significantly engaging users. Telling stories will deepen your audiences’ understanding of what you do, and why. Video is king right now and live video will only enhance this.
The hashtag campaigns by both LinkedIn and its users have encouraged support among others and sharing within the community. Examples include #InItTogether by LinkedIn, and #letsgethonest, in which 26 million people shared their failures, weaknesses, and losses via content, on the basis that what we share as humans aren’t perfections, but universal flaws. Participating in hashtag campaigns will widen your reach, help give you some engaging content ideas, and deepen your relationships. What works on other social media platforms is necessarily what will work on LinkedIn, so its always good to experiment, and spend some time ‘listening’ to others in the newsfeed and see what else is engaging other users on the platform.
You don’t need to pay for LinkedIn, a lot can be achieved with a free account
LinkedIn offers some incredible premium products such as Sales Navigator with a bespoke newsfeed, and access to LinkedIn Learning. Paying for LinkedIn though isn’t necessary to building trust and an engaged following online. Share text-only posts, native video, combined image/text posts, and upload document to posts for greater engagement. External links are ok but won’t be favoured by the algorithm so stick to original engaging content for the best reach.
Traditional Company pages went through a re-brand in 2018 to LinkedIn Pages. 2019 will see more features coming to these pages that will focus on small to medium sized businesses. Additionally live video will enhance pages and we will see the release of a LinkedIn Events area. Add buttons for your website or sign up pages, and create showcase pages under the main company page to showcase events, products or areas of your business, and build a following for these specific areas for greater engagement.
Anna McAfee is a Community Creator, LinkedIn Educator and Storyteller. She is a co-creator of the #LinkedInLocal movement, in initiative to connect offline in real life in 85 countries, and CEO of LocalX, a startup that empowers brands, organizations and charities to create, nurture and scale their own communities.
Based in a regional city in Australia called Coffs Harbour, Anna spends her weeks working to change the world through community projects and using tech for good, and spends her weekends simply wanting to be a wife, mom to 2, to read a lot, and grow vegetables.