LinkedIn was created in 2003 as a way to do business differently. It was founded as a business-related social network and has kept that reputation as the go-to place for business connections over these last 15 years. Not only can job seekers find hiring managers or decision-makers in their dream companies but business owners and sales executives can find prospects via LinkedIn as well.
Gone are the days when job seekers answer classified ads or send resumes blindly to large companies. Likewise, cold calling prospects usually don’t yield very good results in this technology age where the buzzword of the day is “relationship marketing.” Whether you want to get noticed on LinkedIn by hiring recruiters or by business prospects, LinkedIn is THE place to be seen.
But how exactly do you get “seen” in a sea of 260 million monthly active users? Let’s explore some simple ways:
1. Use keyword phrases wisely on your profile. Start by thinking about how your target audience would search for you. What are they looking for exactly? How do you want to be known? Use those keyword phrases throughout your profile where the LinkedIn search bots look, such as the Headline and Summary as well as the Experience and Skills sections.
2. Use a professional, friendly-looking headshot. No blurry selfies or brooding, artistic headshots. If you do make it to the top of a search, you’ll want to catch your prospect’s eye very quickly and a professional, happy headshot is the quickest way to do that.
3. Inject some creativity into your Headline and Summary. Still address your top skill or benefit your prospect will receive but add some flare to it. “Business Coach” certainly describes what you do but in a very general way. “Business Coach to the Fastest Growing Multi-million Dollar Companies” adds some more flare and immediately identifies who you want to work with.
4. Edit the details in your Summary. Like it or not, prospects will skim your profile instead of taking their time reading, so edit the important details into powerful sentences. No need for subtlety here; be straightforward and place the most important details first.
5. Be consistent with searching for connections. Business networking is never complete; it’s an ongoing process you should learn to love if you want your business to grow consistently. LinkedIn will only display your connections up to 500 but you can certainly connect with more people than that. You’ll find two different schools of thought when it comes to making connections. One side believes it’s vitally important to increase those numbers quickly because prospects want to see you – their coach – well-connected. The other side believes the smart way to connect is only with people you have met previously, thus creating a higher quality network of known names.
6. Be active and consistent. Don’t think of LinkedIn or networking as a one-time task or a “set it and forget it” process. Being active on LinkedIn means: creating content to share, joining relevant groups, and making comments on other people’s content. When you share content it displays to all your connections, thus informing them of your expertise and inviting them to make comments. Being active in groups means starting a conversation, asking a question, giving advice to others, and sharing content. If you are active and then disappear, it leaves a bad impression and your connections will start to question your dedication to your business.
LinkedIn is the premier source to connect with business owners and decision makers. Creating an optimized profile that looks professional is important but don’t just leave your networking to chance. Be active and show your expertise in your shared content and group interactions.