The Big 4: #3 LinkedIn

Number 3 of The Big 4 is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been described as. “Facebook for business” and I believe every business should be represented on it. The best way to describe LinkedIn is it is like a big online networking group. It is just like business networking events that you may attend, where people come together to talk professionally, share information, support each other and possibly offer referrals. LinkedIn is exactly the same as this, except that it’s online, so you can be in contact with people from all around the world.

To be able to do this properly you need to start with building up a 100% complete profile. As you’re building your profile, you need to be honest and also think in terms of your keyphrases again. Your personal profile is going to be the first impression that potential clients get. However, they won’t get that first impression if they don’t find you. So, make sure that when you’re using your keyphrases, just like your SEO that they are the keyphrases that people will use to search for you.

As people search on LinkedIn for providers that can help them, you want to show up for the keyphrases that are relevant to you. I’ve received work as a result of somebody searching “Internet Marketer” on LinkedIn and they’ve never been to my website.

Not everybody will find you just through doing a search, sometimes it’s through the connections that you’ve got. For this reason, the next step is to spend time making connections. Again, having a complete profile will help you for this as LinkedIn will show you people who might be, connected or related to you. So, put in all of those previous jobs that you’ve had and find those people. Connect with them. As you do start to connect with people, you’ll see who they are connected to.

As you’re building up your profile, one of the things that you can do is to insert your website links. On every one of them, don’t choose the pre-set of it being your business website, change that to “other”, and use your own title. Make sure that that title is descriptive of what you do. Again, think in terms of keyphrases. For example, mine would say “Internet Marketer” and it’d be a link off to my website.

LinkedIn thrives on people and recommendations. So make sure, when you’re connecting with people that you’ve worked with before, that you help them out and write a recommendation for them. There can be further benefits as LinkedIn encourages them to reciprocate. At the same time if you know you have done a good job for someone, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. I’m sure there are plenty of people that you connect with who’d be quite happy to give you a personal testimonial.

One of the great ways to really build up your connections is to join or even set up a group that’s specific to your industry. Join existing groups and become involved in the conversations. Reply to comments others have made, offer ideas and solutions to issues people are facing and also use the group to ask questions of your own. Sharing good practice and being helpful will help you to gain new connections.

When you’re inviting people to connect with you, always customise the invitation. By default, you’ll see that LinkedIn has a message saying, “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn”, but change that text to something more personal. It might be something like; “Dear Sarah, we’re in the same group. I’d like to connect with you because I’m sure we can help each other with the issue we’ve been discussing”.

Although you may already have a 100% ready profile, what you can also do is add in applications. Connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile. You could do the same with your slideshows that you’ve uploaded to Slideshare. Again, have them all connected to your Twitter feed. It just makes your profile look a lot more interesting to somebody who you might want to connect with you.

As with all of the Social Networks, you definitely want to grab your Vanity URL. This one will be LinkedIn.com/in/ – and then your name. Of course, your name might well have already been used. I’m quite fortunate with Elton Boocock, but you might be John Smith. If this is the case, you need to think of something that’s memorable for you, but make sure that you do get your LinkedIn Vanity URL.

Now, we’ve already spoken about recommendations and I was referring to you being recommended by others. But, on your business or services page, you can have people recommend a particular service that they’ve had from you. Let’s say on Urban Media that we have Website Design, Search Engine Optimisation and Social Media all as different services. We can then have our clients make recommendations on each individual service that we do. When people are then looking for those services and they find our products and services pages, they also see the recommendations.

While I’m talking about the products and services page, it’s really good to optimise these two. Not just optimising them for your keyphrases (which of course is vital), but also think about having video on there. You can include videos, special offers and images to really make it an interesting page. This way, when people do find you, you stand out and it’s a really good way to give people an incentive to take action.

Another piece of advice is to follow companies that you would consider to be your competitors. You can follow any company you like, including your suppliers and customers, but add your competitors too. It’s a great way to do some competitor research to find out exactly what they’re up to. Don’t worry, you’re not necessarily giving them a vote or helping them out, but you are finding out what it is that they’re doing. It can provide valuable insight.

So, those are just a few things that you could be doing on LinkedIn. As with any social media, it is vital to monitor your time. It can be easy to get sucked in, so make sure that you are not exceeding your allocating time and you are using that time efficiently and effectively. With the right approach you can successfully use LinkedIn to promote your business.