LinkedIn can be a goldmine or a huge waste of time.
In the last couple of years, my company has secured tens of thousands of dollars of business and built strong relationships by referring business to others through LinkedIn.
While we’re proud of this achievement, it didn’t happen by accident or using a “set it and forget it” attitude.
On the contrary, we are mindful that, as with any marketing channel, we must be consistent and engaged on LinkedIn in order to continue to reap its benefits.
Now that we’ve spent a few years in the trenches learning firsthand what works, we want to share some of our top tips with you. I hope these tips help you stop stumbling around in the dark and start using LinkedIn as a powerful tool to grow your business.
Here are our top tips for using LinkedIn to grow your business:
1. Build up to at least 500 connections and have a decent photo.
These two go together for a reason! Personally, I will not accept a connection request from someone who does not have a photo or has an unprofessional photo unless I know him/her, in which case I will tell that person to visit a photographer! Many people are potentially willing to connect with you on this platform, but only if you put your best foot forward.
2. Fill out your profile Summary.
We see so many people neglect this valuable space, which is right underneath your name and photo when you’re on your profile page. Think of it as a public cover letter, where you can share a bit about your history, your company’s history, how you help your clients, your specialties, and maybe even your ideas about customer service. It’s a place where you can give people a flavor of who you are and what you do.
3. Post updates on a regular basis.
Most people who create a LinkedIn profile act like they think that having a profile is enough. It’s not. LinkedIn is a lot like Facebook these days in terms of how people see and interact with you. Think strategically about the types of updates you post, however. Unless you are a cat trainer or a cat whisperer, posting photos of your cat a la Facebook is probably not going to get you the attention that will generate business.
The types of updates that are valuable include company news, sharing an article that is related to your industry, customer testimonials, success stories, photos of you and your business, and positive mentions of referral partners or customers/clients. Think twice before posting anything political.
4. Personalize your profile URL.
Did you know that you can set your LinkedIn URL to be something memorable that can also be included on your business cards if you wish? For example, my LinkedIn URL is https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelerempel/. When you’re in your account, look up into the URL field – what does it show? If it has a bunch of numbers, it’s time to personalize. Here’s an article on how to personalize your url.
5. Upload a cover photo.
Don’t leave the big area that’s right above your personal photo in default mode. Get a little bit creative and add your logo or a nice design with your logo. If you don’t have any graphic design skills, ask someone to help. This article will give you the specs on a cover photo.
6. Spend time on your account several times a week interacting with your network.
Read what others are sharing. “Like” posts that connections are sharing and make comments. You may find opportunities to engage with people in your target market that can lead to a referral for someone else or even for yourself. Do a search for key terms and see what people are saying. We have found business opportunities by doing this on a consistent basis.
The above are just some of the tips that we have found that are crucial to making the most of LinkedIn.
Want more great tips for growing your business? Sign up to receive our newsletter.
Need personalized help starting or growing your business? Talk to a SCORE mentor today and get started on the road to a profitable business.
Michele Rempel is the Managing Partner of Westvyne Marketing. She has over 10 years of experience helping businesses large and small reach more customers through online and traditional marketing, website design, and email marketing. She also periodically teaches workshops for SCORE on topics such as LinkedIn and Instagram.