How and How Much LinkedIn?
When it comes to LinkedIn tips, let’s start with a given.
If you are actively seeking a new job in a white-collar industry, LinkedIn is a great resource. If you are a recruiter for white-collar jobs, LinkedIn is a powerful forum.
But if you are not in either of these categories, how valuable is LinkedIn and how much of your time does it really warrant?
The answer depends on why you are spending time on LinkedIn, how you are using your time on LinkedIn, who makes up your desired audience and what you are communicating.
For example, if you are someone like me who actively visits and posts on LinkedIn, do you ever feel like you are talking to yourself?
Hint: Much of the time, you are.
That’s not a knock on LinkedIn or on those of us who are active users and posters. It’s just the nature of business and the nature of busy people.
So is LinkedIn worthy of the time you commit to it? Here are some of the best LinkedIn tips and topics.
Why business people spend time on LinkedIn
- Job seeking and recruiting
- Business networking
- B2B businesses targeting other B2B businesses
- Professional credibility and value
- B2B brand awareness
- Social media
Job Seeking and Recruiting
Depending on the ranking source, LinkedIn is generally considered to be among the top 3 sources for white-collar job seekers and recruiters. Even if you are not actively seeking a new job, there is inherent value in having a credible and impressive profile on LinkedIn.
Recruiters don’t just review submitted resumes and applications. They also look for prospective candidates based on profile filters. There may be a more attractive job “out there” that is not even on your radar. But a strong LinkedIn profile may put you on someone else’s radar who could open a door to a better opportunity that you were not seeking.
When you are busy and feeling secure in your career, networking often takes a back seat (sometimes a WAY back seat) in your priorities.
Many learn the hard way that neglecting your efforts to build and maintain business relationships can set you back if or when your career or business is not going so well.
Every business and every businessperson experiences professional and personal setbacks.
If you have an active network of people who can help you recover more quickly, open new doors for you, facilitate introductions and potentially direct business your way – or even become clients themselves – you can rebound from business and/or career challenges more quickly and easily.
Targeting B2B Businesses
LinkedIn wants your ad dollars for targeting B2B prospects, but there are many other ways to connect with and target B2B businesses on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Groups
Join groups that include your targeted businesses and industries.
In addition to writing your own articles to post in these groups, carve out some time to scan articles and posts in these groups for high-priority reads.
Your responses and comments can lead to conversations that can lead to business relationships. Through your own articles, you are also building brand awareness and credibility within the group among those who read the articles that are posted.
The more relevant, timely and useful the content of your posts, the more attention and readership you will attract.
- LinkedIn Posts
Posts that are more interesting and timely, even if not related to your industry, get read more than posts that may be industry-specific but not particularly topical or compelling.
In addition to forging more Level 1 connections, follow more people on LinkedIn who themselves have a lot of followers. When someone in your feed shares a post from someone not in your feed who could be a good connection, follow them, connect with them and contribute relevant comments on their posts. You will get more new followers from some of their followers and possibly directly from the individual you chose to follow.
– LinkedIn Messages
There are different opinions about the most effective use of LinkedIn Messages. Lots of people seem to use them these days to solicit business.
I’m not suggesting this may not work out well in some cases of particularly good timing, but for the most part, an unsolicited business pitch via a LinkedIn Message from someone who just requested and received a connection does not create a great first impression.
How about building a relationship first before you hit someone up for business? Getting a connection request approved is not the same as having a relationship.
– Emails to LinkedIn Connections
There are a number of tools that can extract email addresses from your LinkedIn connections. For example, Hunter is a Chrome plug-in that locates email addresses from anywhere on the web, including LinkedIn.
– LinkedIn Ads (Sponsored InMail)
You can always buy your way into the main feed of targeted prospects on LinkedIn based on profile criteria you can select.
If you are going to invest in this tactic, you should make it part of a multi-dimensional LinkedIn strategy and presence, including valuable posts and participation in groups. If your entire LinkedIn strategy is only direct advertising, you are competing with one hand tied behind your back.
– LinkedIn Automation Tools
There are many good resources for automating and leveraging your LinkedIn contacts and strategy, including:
– Professional Credibility and Value
Let’s face it. If you are in the business world and you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you are declaring yourself to be off the grid.
If someone Googles your name, your LinkedIn profile will almost always be among the top three listings. Many people will check your LinkedIn profile before they look at anything else about you or any business you work for or own.
This goes for recruiters as well. They will check your LinkedIn profile before or in conjunction with reviewing any resume you may submit.
If you have a LinkedIn profile that you haven’t optimized, you are selling yourself short. There are many tips and articles regarding how to optimize your profile. Here is a recent good one published in Inc Magazine: How To Optimize Your Linkedin Profile for Lead Generation.
– Company Brand Awareness
If you work for (or own) a company of almost any size, you probably already have a company profile page on LinkedIn in addition to your personal profile.
Even if you have a website, your company should also have an optimized LinkedIn Company page, particularly for the many thousands of daily searches done on LinkedIn.
– Social media
LinkedIn is clearly a part of your social media strategy and should enhance your other social media. You can link your social media accounts using Hootsuite, Buffer and other similar social media management tools, allowing you to simultaneously share updates on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and your other social media platforms.
LinkedIn can be used to enhance your SEO rankings for preferred keywords, but relatively few businesses optimize their LinkedIn presence for this advantage. All of the tips in the article can benefit your SEO ranking.
Lonnie Hirsch is a premier healthcare marketing, business strategist and profitable growth consultant. For more information visit Forefront Healthcare Consulting or email Lonnie at Lonnie.Hirsch@HirschHealthConsulting.com.