By Marie Allen
LinkedIn recently celebrated its 10th birthday!
LinkedIn has long been seen as the foundation of our social media presence. It is the first place people will look online to find out more about you .
It has certainly changed a lot since the early days. For a start it now loves images (oh yes!), and it has lots of cool, new Facebook-like features.
In this post I take a look at the very best of LinkedIn for small businesses. Both the old stuff that has always been there, and the new stuff that works for small business owners. Did you know you can now add a video, or a presentation to your profile? Or that you can segment your connections for laser-focussed marketing?
If you want to know more just sign up for my newsletter, Web Clarity Express, and I will send you my: “Get The Basics Right! A Guide to Using LinkedIn Effectively for Small Businesses”
YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE
Your LinkedIn profile is the place people look to find out about you. So make sure that your profile gets across clearly what you do. Your headline is crucial. You have 120 characters to say what you do in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd:
E.g. Accountant providing expert, friendly, affordable tax advice to SME’s
Once you’ve got a great headline look at your Profile Background sections and move them around, using the arrows on the right, so that the most important sections are at the top.
You might want to have recommendations at the top, and education at the bottom. If you have published a book you might want that section near the top. Move the sections around to get them in the best order for you.
Use Case Studies to show what you have done, or tell a (short) interesting story. Keep the information relevant to your current business and relate how the skills and experience you have gained over the years apply to what you are doing now and how you help people in your current role.
NEW LINKEDIN FEATURE – PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO
This whizzy new feature allows you to showcase videos and presentations on your profile.
When you have the Professional Portfolio, a square box with a plus sign in it will appear next to the pencil (edit) icon for the Summary, Experience and Education sections of your profile. Click on this and then select either Add a Link, and type in or paste the link you want to add, or Upload a File and select the file you want to upload from your desktop.
You can tag your connections to separate them into distinct groups. This is really useful if you want to send different messages to different types of connection. (Note: there is a 50 person limit on the number that can be sent a message. But you can get around this by dividing people into two or more tag groups if you need to.)
Click on Connections, then Contacts and you will see a list of all your connections. Click on a name to tag it. Type in your category or “tag” name, e.g. photographers , in the box. Subsequently this tag will appear as an option when you click on other connections’ names.
Other useful tags include networking groups and location.
A Status Update is the way you can share your latest news with your connections. They are not used as widely as Facebook posts and tweets. In fact many LinkedIn users don’t seem to use them at all!
So seize this opportunity to let your connections know what is happening in your business. If you write a blog or send an e-newsletter put this in a status update with a link. Share news or information that may be of value to your connections. You can share interesting articles or blogs. Just add a comment to explain why you think people should read it. But don’t use the status update as an advertising tool. People will soon switch off if you do. See it as a way of sharing your expertise so that you come to be seen as the “go to” person for your specialism.
Add an image to your status update to make it stand out from the standard updates. An image makes your update look more professional and gives it added zing!
(Always make sure that you have the right to use an image. You can purchase images at very reasonable cost from websites such as shutterstock.com and istockphoto.com)
Take the time to look at your LinkedIn news every day and comment on other people’s updates. Or if you haven’t time to comment, just tick the Like box for something you have found of interest. Comments and Likes are fed back to the person who posted the update so doing this will increase your visibility and deepen your engagement with your connections.
There are lots more ideas and tips for using LinkedIn, and step-by-step guides to help you, in:
“Get The Basics Right! A Guide to Using LinkedIn Effectively for Small Businesses”
Get it now by zooming up to the top of this post and signing up for my newsletter Web Clarity Express. You will be sent a copy automatically, along with the most recent edition of Web Clarity Express, packed with ideas for a super-successful website!