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Is LinkedIn on Your To-Do List? Do These Five Things to Jump-Start Your Profile Strategy
I bet updating your LinkedIn profile or posting content is on your TO-DO list. But if you are like many busy professionals, it’s perpetually at the bottom – overtaken by more pressing needs and activities. As we move into the start of a new year, it’s a great time to make LinkedIn a priority, or at least move it a few lines up on your list.
Here are five things you can do to jump-start your LinkedIn strategy. It’s very achievable if you approach it as a roadmap:
Start with the Foundation of a Strong Profile
Your profile is your “digital first impression” – it is one of the top search results when you google your name. When it is incomplete or outdated, it can impact others’ perception of you and the value you offer. Taking the time to update and complete your profile is a huge step in building a strong LinkedIn strategy.
When thinking about your profile, the following items are essential:
✔️ A welcoming, professional headshot for your profile picture
✔️ A banner image or “cover photo” that is either branded to your company or showcases something about you
✔️ A headline that clearly conveys WHO you are, WHAT you do, WHY you do it and WHO you do it for
✔️ An engaging “About” section written in the first person that expands on your headline and shows your personality. Naturally including keywords relevant to your job experience can help improve your chances of showing up in searches by your target audience.
✔️ A completed “Experience” section linking to the company LinkedIn pages of your current and past employers
✔️ A Skills section that is relevant to your current role, especially when it comes to your top three skills
Beyond this, you can add your education, volunteer roles, certifications, awards and featured content to round out your profile – the more complete, the better!
If you are unsure of what makes a great LinkedIn profile, here’s a CHECKLIST you can use.
Do You Know Who’s in Your Network?
Do you really know who you’re connected to? Since LinkedIn only shows us a small subset of our overall network, there is no way you can keep up with everyone. But, you can (and should) download your network and review it in a spreadsheet a few times a year.
Here’s why it’s important to do this:
- You forgot who’s in your network: Depending on when you joined LinkedIn, you have been collecting connections for a while. You are only seeing a handful of your network when you scroll the newsfeed based on the algorithm, so of course there are people in your network that you’ve forgotten about. This is a great way to jog your memory – there are likely some people you should re-connect with as potential business contacts/ targets.
- Your connections have changed jobs: Piggy-backing on the point above, you may not realize that people in your network have new positions, new companies or changed careers. Perhaps that is valuable to you and your business
- Your network is full of “hidden gems”: You may have potential customers, partners, employees and other valuable contacts (virtually) sitting right in front of you. Now that you realize that, sending personal and valuable outreach can help you reconnect and engage these connections.
- Your targets are NOT in your network: This is something very common, especially when you have been collecting network connections for many years. You may be surprised to see that you actually have a very small % of your overall network that you would consider to be a target. In this case, you can make a strategic and deliberate plan to add new people to your network who are more in line with your business targets.
I recommend that you download your connections on a quarterly basis. It’s a great habit to get into and can help you stay more engaged with your LinkedIn network. At the end of the day, the value of LinkedIn goes as far as the relationships you develop. This is one tool to help foster and manage those in a simple way.
Remove Your Content Blinders
Content can feel like a huge hill to climb, but I promise that you have a wealth of content at your fingertips – you just need to remove your “content blinders.”
Start by taking an inventory of what you already have created:
- Blog Posts
- White Papers
- Images/ infographics
- Case Studies
- Past LinkedIn/ Social Media posts
Make lists of topics you know well and enjoy talking about. When you are drawing a blank on what to post, look to these sources as inspiration.
Bottom line…get out of your own way and just start posting!
Develop an Engagement Strategy
A strong engagement strategy will help you develop your voice, build relationships and find your audience.
An engagement strategy includes:
Posting valuable content consistently – If that means one great post per week, fantastic! It’s better to post quality posts consistently, vs posting for the sake of it because you heard you need to post every day. Focus on the value you can offer and engage with people when they comment on your content.
Following Thought-leaders in your industry:
If there are big names in your industry you want to build relationships with, a great way to do this is by engaging with their content on LinkedIn. You will get noticed and over time, likely be able to connect with them directly. This also works well for business targets
Commenting on relevant posts several times a week:
I can not overstate the value of commenting. It has a huge impact on your overall LinkedIn strategy. When you can identify the people you need to be commenting on, you start to build your community on LinkedIn and get yourself known for your area of expertise. The deepest relationships I’ve made on LinkedIn are a direct result of a strategic commenting strategy.
Starting (non-salesy) conversations in the DMs:
DMs can be a great tool to get to know your connections and build rapport. But too often messages are sent that are self-promotional and direct sales pitches. Focus on the recipient – ask a question to get to know them as a person. There is a time and a place for a message about what you sell. DMs open the doors to conversations, new connections and deeper relationships with your network.
Finally, don’t be afraid to HAVE FUN! If you dread the time you spend on LinkedIn, it’s time to switch things up. By connecting with people, you can build real relationships while meeting your business goals – enjoy the time you invest on LinkedIn and you will see the benefit!