Flashback to Friday afternoon, 6th February 2009! As a budding marketer, that’s when I decided to give this Linkedin thing a go! Nearly 10 years later, its widely heralded as the most popular business to business social networking platform on the planet. Linkedin has been a tremendous success both locally here in Ireland and across the globe meaning its practically a marketing must-have for the vast majority of businesses out there. Not that I confess to being a “Linkedin Expert” (they do exist, I got some fantastic training off this guy - Bert Verdonck), but I thought I would share a few tips for any Small-to-Medium business owners looking to get the basics right! The folk at Linkedin make it so easy to use the platform, so it won’t take you long to get your Linkedin presence up to scratch if you feel you are not quite there yet!
Enjoy. John Paul.
Basic #1 – Profile Pic!
I was recently visiting a new prospect in the tech services sector and they remarked how I looked very sharp in person but my Linkedin and website photograph was letting me down! They were right. I normally wear glasses every day and I wear formal business attire, but this didn’t reflect in the picture. Roll in Susan from Susan Jefferies Photography (http://www.sjphotography.ie) to make my virtual self as remarkable as my physical self! The key point – get a proper photographer to take a profile picture for you. It’s important and you need to look like the way you look in the flesh!
Basic #2 – Banner Image
Like being consistent in your own appearance, you should aim for consistency with your brand across all your digital shop windows. Linkedin lets you include a banner image on your profile. You can choose to promote yourself, your company or whatever you want here. As a small, niche sales and marketing consultancy for IT and tech services companies, we believe in using every real estate possible to promote our company. We took an image from our website (www.boostyoursales.ie) and brought it onto our Linkedin as a banner image to help us with that consistency. I know – it sounds very obvious, but most people don’t seem to use it.
Basic #3 – Headline
A ‘headline’ on Linkedin sits under your name and is like a brief descriptor about what you do. My advice is (a) to use it and (b) to keep it simple. If you are active on the platform or people are searching, the headline banner will come into play. Be honest and open with what you put in and where your expertise is focused.
Basic #4 – Summary
Here you have quite a sizable word count to talk about you and your company. Linkedin is technically a personal thing so YOU can take precedence over YOUR company. In addition, your company can be well covered by having a Company Page on Linkedin (that’s a different thing altogether!). Linkedin profiles are well searched by search engines so making it keyword rich for things you want to be famous for is a good idea. However, as it is predominately read by humans be clear and concise.
Basic #5 – Connect & Like & Share & Comment!
If you are going to be on there, you are better being on there with a purpose. There is nothing worse than an abandoned social media profile. Connect in with like-minded individuals, customers and target customers. It’s a great way to create your own subject-matter ecosystem where you can like, share and comment on any relevant content. This all adds up to ensuring that whatever time you spend on the platform will be time well spent and you reach and gain mindshare with like-minded, relevant contacts.
Basic #6 – Experience
Put it all in! Even if you work for multiple companies or are involved in various projects and assignments, the platform is flexible enough for you to get all that across. This is what people are checking you out for so be as open, honest and as descriptive as possible.
Basic #7 – Recommendations
Ask a few who have experienced your work to ‘recommend’ you on Linkedin. Firstly, you will be surprised what they say. Secondly, people buy from people and on social they buy from people who know people and recommendations can be a powerful way to open hundreds (or even thousands) of prospects depending on how many contacts the referrer has on Linkedin.
Basic #8 – The Different Products!
Linkedin out of the box is fantastic. If you want to add some caffeine to your B2B social networking there are various upgrades available across for sales, marketing, recruitment, training and development. A premium account gives you better search capability and more ‘in-mails’ (i.e .the ability to contact those on Linkedin you are not connected to!). Linkedin Sales Navigator is designed to power your sales function and connect your sales and marketing teams though better collaboration, search and account/contact profiling. The Recruiter suite helps you run searches and reach out easier to candidates for roles you are looking to fill or place sponsored advertisements into the feeds and profiles of right-fit candidates. Similarly, the marketing module allows you to target right-fit people on Linkedin in a multitude of ways. Finally, Linkedin Learning is an online learning and development repository with great course content tailored to your career focus and skillset.
John Paul O'Keeffe is Marketing Director with www.boostyoursales.ie, a sales, marketing and business mentoring services company for growth-focused IT and tech services companies in Dublin, Leinster and beyond!