LinkedIn is pretty much essential if you run a small business. Love it or hate it, the social network for professionals is a vital part of your business networking toolkit. There are over 660 million active users on the platform, of whom around 61 million are senior level influencers.
But, as the saying goes, you only get out what you put in. So how do you manage LinkedIn like a pro? Here are 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts to help you get the best out of networking on LinkedIn:
Do… treat your profile like your CV
In other words, use it to show off relevant information and work experience. You don’t need to include every single job you’ve ever had unless there’s some relevance to what you’re doing now (or want to do in the future.)
For example, if your business is sales based, you’ll want to include the years you spent working in sales. But the part-time job behind a bar at University is probably not relevant.
Your LinkedIn profile is like a virtual CV, so treat it accordingly and make sure it reflects the version of you that you want to show off.
Don’t… lie or over-inflate your achievements
We all know by now that lying on a CV is a big no-no, don’t we? Well, the same applies to your LinkedIn profile. If you lie and then get caught out, you’ll lose all credibility with prospective customers and clients. It’s just not worth it.
Do… engage meaningfully
Join groups relevant to your interests and industry. Read the discussions and post meaningful, well-thought-out responses. Doing this serves three main purposes: it allows you to show off your knowledge and expertise in a non-spammy way, it brings your name into your followers’ feeds more often, and it exposes your profile (and therefore your business) to more people.
You don’t have to write hundreds of words or reply to every thread (spending too much time commenting on LinkedIn is definitely a procrastination strategy I see from a lot of business owners!) But a few thoughtful and insightful comments each week will go a long way to growing your presence on the platform and building your network.
Don’t… promo-spam groups
There’s nothing more annoying than people who come into groups and just spam their promotional links. There’s a reason these posts usually have few, if any, likes and engagements. Yes, you’re ultimately on LinkedIn to promote your business, but aggressively spamming groups is not the way to do it. This just makes you look unprofessional and, frankly, a bit desperate, which will turn prospective customers off faster than you can say “buy our stuff!”
Do… let your personality shine through
Pretending to be someone you’re not is a losing strategy. There are probably hundreds or thousands of businesses doing something basically similar to what you do. What’s the one thing none of your competitors have? YOU.
Therefore, be yourself. Cultivate a unique and authentic voice, and let your personality show through. Who are you and how do you bring your wonderful, individual self to your business? Be that person on LinkedIn.
Don’t… let professionalism slip
I can’t tell you exactly what professionalism looks like for you, as it’s different for each business and industry. Something that is completely normal in one line of work wouldn’t fly in another. But whatever you want your professional reputation to be, stay mindful of that and keep it in the front of your mind.
Authenticity is important, but LinkedIn is not the place to be completely unfiltered.
Do… share useful and relevant content
Part of networking on LinkedIn and developing relationships through the platform is sharing useful and relevant content. This should be a mix of your own stuff (blog posts, videos, podcasts, and so on) and other people’s work that you found interesting or valuable.
By offering value to your followers, you give them a reason to stick around. If your feed is just one long advertisement for your business, you’ll see reduced engagement and possibly even people unfollowing you.
Don’t… fill your feed with meaningless buzzwords
Do you ever look at someone’s LinkedIn tagline or job description, and come away from it wondering, “but what do you actually do!?” Stop with the meaningless corporate jargon and buzzwords.
According to The Atlantic, some of the most annoying buzzwords of 2020 include “Big Data,” “disrupt,” and “optics.” Instead of peppering your profile and posts with words that everyone is saying but no-one quite knows what they mean, use straightforward words that explain things in plain English.
Do… give, and request, recommendations
Recommendations are essentially LinkedIn testimonials. They work as a form of social proof, showing prospective customers that you can follow through on what you promise. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation from satisfied clients. Most will be only too happy to give them.
Of course, you need to give as well as get. Have you written a recommendation for the amazing graphic designer who created your logo, the web designer who built your site, or the business coach who helped you through those challenging first few months? If not, go and do so right now!
Don’t… give meaningless endorsements
“Endorsing” someone for a skill on LinkedIn seems like an easy way to help. But it’s actually so easy that it’s become meaningless. Anyone can add a skill to their profile, and anyone can endorse it, whether they’ve ever worked with the individual and seen the skill in action or not.
If you know someone’s work well enough to genuinely vouch for their skills, leave a recommendation. If not, don’t bother.
Making LinkedIn work for you
LinkedIn is a powerful platform for making connections, getting your name out there, and growing your business. But there’s a right and a wrong way to use it! If you’re authentic, professional, and relevant, you’ll reap the rewards.
Do you have any favourite LinkedIn strategies to share?