5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn

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A pretty common question these days is “which social network is the best?” – And to that I usually say – “the one that helps you meet your marketing objectives” – and in that regard, many are great, but for different reasons.

LinkedInI really like some things about LinkedIn. It has always tended towards the service oriented professional, in my opinion, but it has plenty to like in the brand asset optimization world that all businesses live in as well. My advice for most business owners is to find a social network or platform that seems most suited to your business objectives and dive in pretty deep, focusing more casual attention on the others, at least initially. Going hard and deep into one network, like LinkedIn, is the only way to gain the momentum delivered by consistent work and engagement.

So, when it comes to LinkedIn – here are 5 tips to get more

1) Your Profile

This is a great brand asset so don’t waste it. Make it informative and optimized for search.

  • Add a photo – nothing says nobody’s home faster than the default icon
  • Get the branded URL – something like this is what you want http://www.linkedin.com/in/ducttapemarketing – it’s something you pick during editing
  • Links with Anchor text – link to your blog, products, workshops, etc. through the “other” tab and you can add anchor text for the link
  • Be descriptive – use the “Summary” to tell your story in a compelling way and add lots of keywords in the “specialty” section
  • Keep it active – LinkedIn has a status update feature, much like Facebook and twitter, that you should update routinely
  • Link to it – put links to your profile in your email signature and other online pages. Optimization is a two way street.

The image above shows the links on my profile with carefully selected anchor text that links to pages on my site. LinkedIn is one of the few social profiles sites that allows this.

2) Give to Get

When people view profiles one of the top features is something called recommendations. While these may feel a little fluffy when you read them, lack of them can be a competitive issue. You should acquire some recommendations and I find the best way to get them is to give them. Choose people in your network that you’ve worked with and write an honest statement of recommendation. Don’t be surprised if you receive some in return.

3) Show What You’ve Got

An overlooked feature on LinkedIn, in my opinion, is the Question and Answer function. By jumping in and answering questions thoughtfully you can demonstrate a given expertise while potentially engaging contacts that are drawn to your knowledge. The key phrase is thoughtfully answering. LinkedIn even has a rating system to reward people who give the best answers with some added exposure.

The flip side of this tip is to ask thoughtful questions. This can be a great way to get useful information, but it’s equally powerful as a tool to create conversations, discussion and engagement with like minded connections.

4) Lead a Group

Anyone can launch a group on LinkedIn and lead discussions and networking on a specific topic of interest. If you take this tip to heart and put some effort into a niche group you can gain added influence with your network, but groups are also open to the LinkedIn universe as a whole and some folks find that this is one of the strongest ways to build their network. Building a group around an established brand is also a great way to bring users or customers together.

5) Repurpose Content

Since members of your network, and those of the larger LinkedIn community, may only experience your brand on the LinkedIn platform, it’s a great idea to enhance your profile with educational information. This is best done using some of the 3rd party applications that LinkedIn has collected for this purpose.

  • BlogLink – displays your latest blog posts on your profile
  • Box.net – allows you to create links to files such as resumes and marketing kits
  • Slideshare – embeds slideshow presentations and demos
  • Company Buzz – scrapes twitter for mentions of your brand or other topics you assign

Bonus Tip

Some organizations, particularly those searching for employees, might really benefit from the new Customer Company Profile offerings. Using Custom Company Profiles, a company can provide a rich, multimedia overview of careers offered, through a variety of modules including recruitment messaging, employee/recruiter spotlights, jobs, polls and videos.

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