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Leveraging LinkedIn: Useful Tips for Individuals & Business

By Valerie DiCarlo

Helpful LinkedIn Tips for Individuals & Business

LinkedIn is a powerful resource for connecting and networking with business professionals and niche industry groups. It’s an ideal platform for building your sphere of influence, generating introductions and referrals, discovering valuable business and career opportunities - as well as branding your business.

Whether your business is B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer), LinkedIn continues to be one of the best social networking sites to market your business because you have a greater chance of interacting with influential decision makers and creating strategic alliances – and exposing your business to this demographic of professionals.

UPDATE:  Last Thursday as this post was going live, LinkedIn announced their new look to Company Pages. No new features have been added, just a design change for a fresh look, feel, and the way you navigate is slightly new.

In addition to being a premier social tool for business, LinkedIn can be a powerhouse for marketing yourself! Developing your presence, building your network, becoming influential in your industry, finding a job, connecting with influencers, etc. – the list is endless for individuals wanting to leverage LinkedIn for a professional advantage.

SEO & LinkedIn

I would be remiss if I did not mention that SEO plays a role in a successful LinkedIn presence. Optimizing both your individual and company profiles will offer benefits in not only LinkedIn search, but in the search engines.

LinkedIn has authority in the search engines so consider it another opportunity for increased branding, web exposure, search results domination, site traffic, leads, etc. SEO tips are included for both individuals and businesses below.

11 LinkedIn Tips for Individuals

1. Spend the time uploading a quality professional profile

  • Upload a professional quality profile picture! What kind of professional impression are you making w/no picture or a poor quality image?
  • Optimize your LinkedIn Profile for desired keywords
    • Professional Headline - Create an authority headline that offers clarity of value proposition that defines what you do and who you are
    • Current Job – use keywords in title, description
    • Past Job(s) – use keywords in title, description
    • Summary - Expound in the Summary section to again, restate the value proposition that defines what you do, who you are and what benefits you offer. Be sure to implement best practice web usability for readability when writing the Summary (i.e. use optimized headlines, bullets, break up text into smaller paragraphs)
      • Use an optimized intro headline in your Summary
      • Make your Summary professional with a personal touch (humanize it!)
      • Write in smaller paragraphs and use sub-headers for easy scanning
      • Write about who you are, how you help people, how your product/service benefits others
    • List Specialties
      • Include an optimized Specialties headline
      • Use a list of Specialties rather than text paragraphs
      • Include headings where applicable
      • Use keywords within Specialties list items

2. List business / company websites & blogs - with compelling anchor text that leads to a call-to-action and drives more clicks to the website - instead of simply listing a domain or business name

3. Create an optimized, personal Public Profile link (located under Websites / Blogs / Twitter)

4. Join Groups Within Your Niche and/or Industry

  • Groups are an opportunity to listen in on what people are talking about
  • Groups are an opportunity to interact w/individuals in your industry and increase your visibility
  • Contribute to and join in on conversations (i.e. ask & answer questions)
  • To research Groups, use the LinkedIn search function to find niche / industry groups – or research your LinkedIn colleagues’ Groups

5. Add Apps – View applications and decide which ones will be useful to you

6. Add Skills to your Individual profile. This is another place to add keyword phrases for optimization

7. Add Interests and Hobbies to your profile. Make it more personal. Making the experience more personal for the reader is a key to social media marketing success

8. Recommendations – A word about recommendations… simply start giving/writing recommendations – rather than soliciting them! And believe it or not, many people will reciprocate.

9. Post Status on a Regular Basis… and Interact. Adding the Twitter app will provide automatic status updates – and can be a good source to start conversations. In addition, using recent blog post links w/in your status updates can potentially be another traffic source to your site

10. Add Connections:

  • Use the ‘Advanced Search’ option to research possible connections
  • Use Add Connections to sync w/email platforms
  • Browse the connections of your immediate network to locate people you know or want to connect with
  • Use LinkedIn to make direct contact with key people
  • Make your interactions personal

11. Search Jobs – The LinkedIn offers real-time notifications that can speed up your job hunt. Individuals with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn! A great tip: Use LinkedIn to research (cyber stalk!) your recruiters or interviewers. You can learn more about their background to have an edge over the other candidates.

In Summary:
By using it correctly and “working it”, LinkedIn can be a powerful medium to connect with not only your direct, first degree network, but open up true business opportunities within your second degree network of connections.

Use the tools LinkedIn provides for finding colleagues, classmates, email contacts, etc. to build a foundation of professionals that will grow and help you in your professional world and advance your career.

11 LinkedIn Tips for Business

By setting up your company page correctly, you ensure your company can be found in the LinkedIn Companies directory and can be “followed” by users who want to stay up-to-date with your organization.

In addition, should someone be searching for a company with your company’s expertise, you want to be sure to be found! Otherwise, you are looking at a missed opportunity – on many levels.

1. Add a Company Description – create a company description that clearly states your value proposition, the services and benefits you offer - and is inline with your company website. This is an opportunity to add keywords that may be search within LinkedIn for companies and services that you offer – so optimize the company description with your niche keyword set. Don’t forget to include your branding imagery, such as a logo.

2. Add Specialties – again, add your targeted keyword phrases within your Specialties section to capture search within LinkedIn for your products, services or company niche.

3. Choose Your Industry – while we’re at the mercy of LinkedIn for industry selection, try to choose the most applicable industry for your company as this may also be significant to search on LinkedIn.

4. Add Your Company Location(s) – if you have multiple locations, this is a good opportunity to add your various company locations (up to 5).

5. Link Your Blog RSS – this is a must if you have a company blog so your latest blog posts will be showcased on your LinkedIn company page and potentially drive increased traffic to your blog.

6. Post Status Updates Regularly – this is a great opportunity to gain followers and interact – and also increase traffic to your company website and blog by including those links in your status updates. Also, if you're comfortable with it, you can display your status update for public visibility so that those who visit your profile can see what you are saying for increased exposure.

7. Create a LinkedIn Group – LinkedIn Groups are a means for those with similar interests to come together for discussion and to share news and information on topics that mutually interest them. It’s a powerful opportunity to build a database for communication, discussion and engagement (i.e. emails, news, announcements, articles, blog posts, questions/answers). Be sure to keep LinkedIn Group Policies in mind so your Group doesn’t tarnish the atmosphere and conversation with a lot of irrelevant crap.

8. Use Announcements and Events - to publicize news or special company/group events.

9. Be a Contributor – for articles, comments and questions/answers, your contributions can position you as a thought leader in your industry.

10. Encourage Employees - to create and optimize their LinkedIn profiles and list the company email addresses in their individual profiles so they can be listed in the company employee list on the company pages. Also encourage all employees to “Follow” the company page.

11. Post Jobs – LinkedIn is one of the leading sites for Job Seekers. Posting  your job openings in the LinkedIn Jobs Directory is a great way to find top quality professionals.

NOTE: Currently (and kind of unfortunate), LinkedIn has it set up that a company page must be linked to an individual profile. So the only access to edit the company page (and post status updates) is from an individual profile. You are able to set up additional Administrators if you want to give more than one person the capability of editing and posting status.

UPDATE:  Last Thursday as this post was going live, LinkedIn announced their new look to Company Pages. No new features have been added, just a design change for a fresh look, feel, and the way you navigate is slightly new.

UPDATE: A great article about LinkedIn ENDORSEMENTS

In Summary:
While other social mediums may not be the best fit for some companies, LinkedIn is usually a good fit for most - and a powerhouse for opportunity to grow, market and brand your business. It is also an excellent platform for interactive business reach and communication.

UPDATE: More ahead for LinkedIn Sharing. This is great stuff!

LinkedIn Tips