Most people neglect their LinkedIn until they need to look for a new job. Not only is that a big mistake and missed opportunity, it’s also potentially damaging to your professional development.
Using LinkedIn effectively can really boost your career, so it’s important to get the most out of it, no matter if you’re job hunting or happy in your role.
LinkedIn is a great marketing tool for every professional, whether you’re targeting new clients, building your personal brand, promoting your company – or all three.
In this article, we lay out our top six tips for successful marketing on LinkedIn, from how to optimise your profile to how to make use of LinkedIn tools (which are often free), so that you can drive professional growth and business success.
Tips to help you use LinkedIn for marketing
Using LinkedIn for job hunting is a reactive measure, and only one of the many ways to champion this enormous platform. To really reap the rewards and bring your career to a new level, you need to take a proactive approach and learn how to market yourself – and there are lots of LinkedIn features to help you do just that.
Potential clients and future employers will expect you to have a well-written, up-to-date and active LinkedIn profile.
Creating a credible and engaging company page on LinkedIn is also important if you run your own business, or are responsible for your company’s online positioning and employer branding.
This will ensure your firm is seen as a highly desirable place to work by talented potential employees, and it will also make you available for unexpected opportunities.
LinkedIn can be a hugely positive networking, marketing and professional development tool. To get you started, follow our six tips for using LinkedIn tools that go beyond job hunting.
1. Ensure all your profiles are complete
Take the time to fill in as many sections on your LinkedIn profile as possible to make sure it really stands out. Incomplete profiles not only look a bit lazy, they are also unlikely to contain all the keywords you need for SEO purposes.
For your personal profile, look at your education, professional training and development, as well as your current and previous roles. Don’t forget to include:
- Voluntary work
- Non-executive directorships
- Professional interests
- Personal hobbies
Combining all these elements will help draw a complete picture of who you are and what you do. It’s equally important to fill in all 45 skill slots on your profile to demonstrate skill diversity. This will both maximise your use of keywords and allow you to cast a wider net.
Make your LinkedIn profile attractive
LinkedIn recommends that you use all 2000 characters in your summary section. This gives you a much better chance of achieving a fully optimised, easily searchable profile that is accessible to potentially interested parties.
Be sure to put the most important details about yourself, or your business, at the beginning of this section, so people won’t miss them. Remember: the first 100 words is all anyone can see before they unlock your profile, so grabbing their attention here is crucial.
Another important thing to remember is that LinkedIn is less formal than a CV. It’s your chance to be authentic and humanise yourself or your business, so choose a style and tone of voice that best suits your audience and showcases your personality.
If you have a company page, explain exactly what your company does, who your clients are, and how you help them. You can then encourage all your employees to link to your company page, as well as optimise their own personal profiles.
2. Position yourself – and your business – as an industry expert
By using in-bound marketing and thought leadership techniques, you can attract recruiters, potential clients, or media enquiries from journalists.
If you post articles you’ve written, or share work samples and white papers, people will start to see you as an expert and come to you for professional advice, insight, and commentary.
You can go one step further by getting visual. Using devices like infographics, videos, and presentations help you stand out amid a sea of information, and will keep your audience engaged for longer.
Many mutually beneficial professional relationships can be developed this way, and these relationships will be key to levelling up your executive career.
For example, we have many clients who have been quoted in the press or offered speaking engagements as a result of their LinkedIn presence – as well as being offered new jobs and contracts, of course.
Joining groups (or setting up your own) will also help you gain credibility and expand your network as you participate in group discussions and add value to the conversation. Don’t forget: once you’re in a group, you can message any group member for free, and InMail has a much higher response rate than email, so make use of it.
The more you engage and connect with people in your industry, the more endorsements and recommendations you’ll receive, and these will boost your LinkedIn ranking and help sharpen your professional development.
3. First impressions count – so make the right one
When a potential client or employer uses LinkedIn search, all they will see at first is your photo, name, headline, location and the first 100 words of your about section.
It’s therefore vital to make sure this is a good representation of how you want to be perceived. Here are some key points to remember:
- Photos are key to increasing your visibility. LinkedIn’s research shows that profiles with a photo can be up to 21 times more likely to be viewed, and updates with photos get five times as many shares.
- A professional headshot of you in business dress and with a plain, non-distracting backdrop is a worthwhile investment. Holiday photos, cute puppies, and your adorable children are great on Facebook or Instagram, but not LinkedIn.
- Your professional headline is your advertising strapline. It should be a brief, keyword rich snapshot of you in 120 characters. Think about your audience here. What are they looking for and what will pique their interest?
You don’t want to miss out on opportunities because your headline and photo are off-putting or bland. Take the time to curate your image in a way that’s professional, but also gives glimpses of your personality.
4. Optimise your profiles for LinkedIn’s search engine
Millions of people search LinkedIn every day. To ensure you stand out in your industry, use keywords to make your profiles more easily found by your target audience.
Think about the words a potential client or employer might type when searching for someone like you, and then use these naturally throughout your profile, whether it’s in your summary, an article, or your skill slots.
Posting regular updates will also help your profile’s SEO, whether it’s a personal or company page. A huge portion of clients can be reached in this way because it shows them you’re an active, approachable, and authoritative figure in your industry.
5. Be social, make connections
The more connections you have, the higher you’ll be ranked by LinkedIn’s algorithms. But it’s not just about numbers. It’s about being visible – for the right reasons. That means being helpful, sharing updates, and commenting constructively.
My philosophy here is: You never know where a contact might lead.
Think about it this way: the more people you connect with, the more tickets you’re putting into the lottery. The average CEO on LinkedIn has 930 connections, so don’t shy away from putting yourself out there.
6. Use free LinkedIn tools to generate more leads
There is an overwhelming amount of content on LinkedIn – but you don’t have to spend all day scrolling through it.
Getting familiar with some of the time-saving tools provided free of charge by LinkedIn will help you stay on top of industry trends, engage with your audience, and ultimately generate more leads.
For example, the ‘trending content’ can help you find the most relevant posts in your industry that you can contribute to, and this automatically puts you in touch with your target audience.
It also gives you an insight into what successful content looks like so that you can create your own more successfully. Meanwhile, the content score tools will help you measure your company’s success.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the best free LinkedIn tools you can use to champion this platform:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator: If one of your goals is to improve sales, then this tool is your best friend. It helps to connect buyers and sellers using a variety of features, such as sales insights, an advanced algorithm that targets prospects for you, and a range of relationship building tools
- LinkedIn’s Small Business Centre: If you’re a small business owner, this tool will boost your success on LinkedIn in three key areas: establishing your brand presence, finding your target audience, and creating valuable content that engages them. There are also tons of features available in LinkedIn’s Small Business Centre, like sponsored content, so take your time getting to know which will best support your current strategy
- LinkedIn Plugins: A commonly overlooked free tool is LinkedIn’s plugin features. From a share or follow button to your company profile, these plugins allow you to integrate your LinkedIn presence on your corporate website. This gives potential clients a chance to learn more about you while also encouraging them to contact you
LinkedIn as a marketing tool
Once you learn the ropes of LinkedIn features for marketing, you’ll be able to leverage its power to grow your client base, establish your authority, make valuable connections and excel your executive career. In this way, it’s one of the best platforms to turn your professional development up a notch and really drive success.
LinkedIn is a hugely useful marketing tool, but it also changes and updates constantly.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the opportunities, then I’d recommend taking it slow. Do lots of preparation before creating your profile or uploading new content, and be vigilant about keeping your personal brand relevant to your audience.
If you’d like more advice, or feel your LinkedIn presence needs an overhaul, then give us a call on 020 7100 6656. We’ll be happy to talk you through the next steps.