Social media is one of the most powerful business tools in the modern age–and yet, many find themselves stumped at how to effectively leverage this tool for their brand and business.
For entrepreneurs, LinkedIn might just be the most powerful social media platform out there, and it’s undeniably the most versatile. With LinkedIn’s wide array of forms and functions and its deep suite of accompanying tools, it’s almost certain you’re missing out on the platform’s value in some way or another. Here are a few ways to leverage the power of LinkedIn and grow your digital presence.
Treat Your Profile Like an Online Resume
LinkedIn is your professional face to the world, your chance to tell your entrepreneurial story the way it deserves to be told. If you’ve already built a sizeable network, you can afford to be brief here–but always be clear. People aren’t going to connect with you if they don’t know what you do.
Your profile needs to be searchable to be successful, and while much of that is influenced by the size and scope of your network, telling a cohesive story with your profile goes a long way. Start with a headline that is direct and descriptive, and finish with descriptions of your experience that lay out the path to where you are today.
The skills you highlight, the way you describe yourself and your past experiences, and even the people you add to your network all cultivate a distinct image in the minds of people who stumble across your profile–whether they’re potential investors, customers, partners, or employees. Be generous and sincere with your praise in your network, and you should see your skills recognized in turn–giving your profile valuable social validation and boosting your results in site-wide searches. Linking up with people within your industry can also do wonders for your visibility.
2. Use LinkedIn’s Search Tools to Find the Right People
LinkedIn’s powerful search tools make connecting with the right people a great deal easier. Using these, you can target alumni networks or search by industry. As you connect with people in overlapping networks, you’ll notice a snowball effect of both invites and acceptances. Sharing connections acts as more social validation that you are someone worth knowing–or at least, not spammy and worth keeping an eye on.
In the search for quality employees, LinkedIn functions as both a search and vetting tool. Searching by skill will source you a quick list of top-tier talent, which you can further refine by location or experience level.
For more exclusive members of LinkedIn, sending a personal message along with your connection request is an excellent idea. Here is your first and best shot at getting someone’s direct attention on this platform, so be clear, polite, and concise. People like to help, love being given something for nothing, and appreciate a personal touch–so ask for help, provide value, and do your research as best fits approaching this potential relationship.
3. Identify the Best Way to Reach Your Audience
There is a method to going viral on LinkedIn, and if you’re already on the platform, it’s more than likely you’ve already come into contact with it quite a few times.
There are two ways of sharing content on LinkedIn–traditional status-like posts and the newer article feature.
Articles typically draw fewer viewers than traditional posts, though this may change as LinkedIn continues to evolve. This format works best if you’re trying to establish credibility and demonstrate proficiency in your field. A catchy title, and informative headline, and a thumb-stopping picture are all key to drawing readers to your pieces, as is persistence. Keep writing, engage with your audience regularly, and continuously experiment to find success here.
Several types of pictures do well on LinkedIn, depending on the type of brand you seek to build. Inspirational themes and eye-catching infographics are two popular and successful formats for LinkedIn content that each cultivate wildly different personal brands, so make sure your content is coherent with your profile overall.
Text-based posts have recently become a great tool to go viral and quickly build a targeted following on LinkedIn. Success comes from being digestible and engaging, with many top posts written in one line paragraphs. Stories do very well, as do good questions and honest confessionals. For maximum engagement, you want to relate to your audience, share a triumph or travail, and ultimately impart a lesson or ask for input.
When a user clicks the thumbs-up button on LinkedIn, they immediately share that post to their entire network (with a relatively high ranking in the feed). So if you’re willing to put in the time and write engaging content for your audience, it’s hard to beat LinkedIn when it comes to going viral and building an audience quickly.
The Big Picture
LinkedIn can do a lot for you given a bit of time and effort. It’s a great collective effort to chart out the interlocking networks that make up our working world, and it’s your job to make sure you’re represented right within them. By connecting on the basis of common goals and interests and bringing people together with engaging and insightful content, you can both assume your place in these networks and start adding value to them.
Taking those three techniques in sum can really ramp your professional network up as you grow your business. With a searchable profile that speaks to what you do and who you are, people can understand you. With a strategic approach to building your network and a personal touch that leaves a great first impression, people start to know you. And when you create content that provides invaluable information for your network, people will start to recognize the true value and unique perspective you bring to the table.