If you’re a B2B organisation, such as a professional services or training company marketing to business professionals, it’s highly likely that LinkedIn will be an integral part of your social media marketing strategy.
Because that’s where a good proportion of your customers and/or business referrers will be and they need to be able to easily find you in their world, not stumble across you (if at all) in your world.
Fact*: 4 in 5 UK professionals are on LinkedIn. 533,641 UK business owners and 406,850 UK Directors are on LinkedIn.
What does having a presence on LinkedIn actually mean?
First and foremost, it means having a complete profile as an individual and a separate one that represents your company and brand.
If we take ‘brand you’, the person behind the company, setting up your individual profile certainly isn’t difficult but it does need thought and time.
Here’s your first 5 pointer check list of must do’s:
1. Add a photo
That’s not a photo of you on holiday or your company logo either! It needs to be a professional photo that visually portrays your brand values, personality and style.
It still amazes me how many people don’t have a LinkedIn profile photo yet it’s one of the quickest and easiest things to add to show there is a real human being behind your online presence.
2. Write in the first person
When you talk to someone face-to-face, you don’t refer to yourself in the third person do you? The same applies to your LinkedIn profile.
First impressions do count so what you write needs to represent who you are as a person, as well as your experience and credibility.
Don’t just replicate what’s on your CV either – you’re not applying for a job, you’re representing ‘brand you’ at a business gathering (albeit an enormous, online business gathering!).
3. Join relevant groups
Not random groups but groups that a) your customers are likely to be members of too and b) you yourself are interested in.
A word of warning, if you join too many groups you open yourself up to information overload and, in fact, end up spending most of your time trying to keep up with the various discussions!
You can, of course, ignore the discussions but then, if you’re going to do that, what’s the point in being part of the group in the first place.
4. Personally connect
Build your network of contacts on LinkedIn by sending them an invitation to connect. Think of it as giving someone a business card in person. You don’t just hand them your card without at least a brief explanation. The same applies here.
Personalise your message to that particular individual instead of using the standard default message. Show you as a person and write your message as if you were talking to them in person or on the phone. This is never more important than when you’re introducing yourself to someone new.
I often receive an invitation to connect from someone I either don’t know or only vaguely know of through other people. If they haven’t spent the time to write an individual message specifically to me, 95% of the time I won’t click the Agree button.
I do believe in first impressions and my first impression of that person looking to connect with me is likely to be this:
They don’t really want to get to know me, who I am, what I do, how they can help me or how we can work together. They haven’t even explained why I should connect with them. So why should I other than, by doing so, I know I’ll be adding to their number of connections? Surface level stuff really, not value added.
5. Create your public profile link
By default, your public profile link will include a series of random numbers. By simply changing your public profile link (it’s very easy to do), you’ll be reinforcing brand you, not only on LinkedIn but whenever you direct people to your LinkedIn profile using your public profile link address.
It also means your profile will be easier to find, hence SEO friendly.
Which of these 5 tips did you find the most useful? There are of course many other tips which I’ll cover in later posts, as well as tips on creating an effective company page on LinkedIn.
* LinkedIn Statistics available from LinkedIn September 2012