LinkedIn is the undisputed king of social networks for professionals.
With over 562 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide LinkedIn has a global reach. Plus, the network makes up more than 50% of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs.
While Facebook has more people, LinkedIn is the preferred network for pros — those who connect with the sole goal of doing business not just socialize. It’s the most business-friendly social site.
If you’re a serious brand LinkedIn is the place to be. But being there is not enough. You have to get noticed by keeping tabs on the platform’s best practices and use them to stay ahead of the pack. Plus, you’ve got to find a way to attract the right people to connect with you. That starts with optimizing the first thing people see when they view your profile page: the header area.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes, maybe you’re asking yourself:
Is LinkedIn worth it?
The answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why.
Think LinkedIn is all hype and no substance?
Not at all.
This platform is a marketing goldmine. It’s number one when it comes to a crucial metric all serious brands watch like a hawk: leads. That’s why LinkedIn must be part of your overall marketing strategy.
Clearly, LinkedIn is a lead-gen super-power. It makes all other ways of generating leads through social media seem like child’s play. Ignore it at your own peril. But to get those leads you’ve got to set up your profile wisely especially the header area.
It’s the part of your profile page people see first. Botch it and prospects click away. Nail it and they stay on and give you a chance to engage them further— and woo them into your funnel.
Not only that.
Your header area is above the fold.
People see your header without having to scroll. Through it, you’ve got to convince would-be customers it’s worthwhile for them to scroll down and find out more about you and your brand.
A good header does four things well.
To achieve all this you’ve got to fine-tune and optimize three key elements of your header area.
Let me show you how.
People’s gaze naturally gravitates towards human faces.
So the first thing prospects will look at is your profile photo. And, they’re not just staring. Something deeper is going on.
Here’s the thing.
People make rush judgments about you solely based on how you look. Think that’s not fair? Well, sorry, it’s what it is.
Maybe you think you can make do without one? Bad idea. Not having a profile photo causes people’s minds go into overdrive and make negative assumptions about you like:
Hardly the impression you want to make is it?
What are the advantages of having a photo on your profile?
LinkedIn data shows that having a profile photo can get you:
Exciting stuff, hey?! But it’s not just any photo that’ll get you these results. Here are three golden rules to guide you so you come up with the perfect photo.
First, please smile. Preferably a teeth smile.
Don’t take a smile for granted. It packs a powerful psychological punch. Smiling makes you look welcoming, competent and trustworthy. Science aside, smiling just makes you look cool. J
Second, look straight at the camera.
Look sideways and people may think you’re timid, or worse, a car thief! Research shows people find a direct gaze attractive.
Third, make sure there’s no clutter in your photo.
It may distract people’s attention from you.
In short, look like a pro. Remember, LinkedIn is a platform for professionals (read with an accent!). So that vacation photo of you on the beach won’t do.
Jason Quey, who helps startups meet with contract marketers to grow their businesses faster, does a good job with his photo.
He’s looking straight ahead. Plus, he has a beaming smile. Looks like a nice guy to work with, doesn’t he? Well, that’s the idea.
A research by Princeton psychologists revealed that it takes just a tenth of a second for people to decide whether you are trustworthy and competent, just by looking at your face.
Better get your photo right so you make a great first impression. Mess it up and you might never get a second chance to wow prospects.
Once people have glanced at your (hopefully) nice pro-looking pic, their eyes wander around the rest of the page.
And probably land on the wide space behind your photo.
I’m surprised how many people leave this space empty. By leaving the default blue area untouched you’re not realizing your header’s full marketing potential.
Because it occupies the biggest space of your header, it sets the tone for the whole page. It provides a context for everything else that follows
What can you do to maximize this space?
A couple of things.
You could use it for social proof.
Show prospects you’re the real deal. John Nemo, who happens to be a LinkedIn expert, does a superb job of proving his authority. He plasters his header with the big niche sites his work has been featured on.
Think this works?
People acknowledge his expertise straightaway.
A variation of this tactic would be to show the giant brands you’ve served.
Second, use a gem testimonial that sums up what you do memorably or showcases your brilliance. Brownie points if it’s an influencer testimonial as they’re 3x as powerful.
Finally, you could use a graphic that underlines what your brand does. This way you give a visual emphasis to what you are about. Whatever you do, don’t put a generic graphic. It’d be such a waste.
Both your photo and background graphic are visual.
Not so the last piece of the puzzle, your professional headline.
It’s all about words, 18-20 of them to be precise, and how you weave them to powerfully communicate the value you provide your prospects.
Your title is not really about you. It’s about the unique value you convey to your prospects and customers.
Many people just use their job title. Big mistake. C’mon. You’re bigger than your title. All the great work you do cannot be compressed into one often dry-sounding and stifling title.
Say more. Describe all the awesome benefits of doing business with you.
But keep things simple.
After all Da Vinci said simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Sam Ovens, who teaches ordinary folk how to start and grow a successful consulting business, keeps things basic but punchy enough to communicate his message convincingly.
In just 8 words people can tell what he’s into. Or, more importantly, how they’ll benefit from working with him.
That’s what you want. A simple and clear message people get easily. Don’t make it hard work for people to understand what you do for them. If you load your headline with your high-sounding title and corporate mumbo-jumbo, people will leave.
Your headline should answer these five questions that are burning in your prospects mind as she checks you out.
You may not be able to answer all of them. But the more the merrier. Remember, your headline should be client-facing. View it from the customers’ standpoint instead of being inward looking and focusing on your brand.
Ask yourself what’s in it for them.
That way you’re bound to scratch their itch and make them warm up to you.
A stellar header starts prospects on a slippery slope.
It grabs them and never lets go.
Once they’re struck by your brilliance they can’t help but scroll down to the summary and the rest of the profile.
Before they know it, they’ll be in your funnel’s orbit.
And, once they’re in your funnel, they’ll eventually become paying customers. That’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?
According to his cheeky wife’s baseless claims, Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy, is an irresistibly handsome dude. He helps SMBs rapidly grow their income and impact through actionable long-form content that ranks high, builds authority, and generates tons of leads. He is a contributor to top blogs like Crazy Egg, Search Engine People, Techwyse, AWAI, and more.
Your LinkedIn page isn’t the same as your other social media profiles. Although LinkedIn is a fantastic way to connect with prospective clients, it’s also important to use LinkedIn to maintain professional relationships, boost your business and build authority for your brand. In many ways, your LinkedIn should act as an extension of your website.
When you use your LinkedIn page appropriately, you can create long lasting relationships with clients, business partners, your community and others. Relating your company’s LinkedIn page back to your company website can bring many benefits for your business.
But what are the benefits that a strong LinkedIn page can create? Let’s look at a few great LinkedIn profiles, how they enhance the company’s website and what you can do to improve your own professional online image.
If you’re sharing job openings on your website, this is great for the people who know to look. However, because most job searchers aren’t going to browse company websites looking for an open position, you could be missing out on some highly qualified talent. To attract the best employees, post your job where they’re already looking.
LinkedIn provides excellent tools to both job searchers and companies looking to hire. Target is just one example of a company that posts their job listings on LinkedIn, although there are many.
Target uses their LinkedIn page to attract better quality candidates for their open positions and even provides important insights to those looking, such as the languages people at the company speak and what employees care about.
When you post a new blog, you need to let your target audience know it is available. While other social media profiles allow you to share links back to your website so someone can read a blog, many may not be interested in clicking away from their timeline. This means you may be missing connecting with a potential customer or client.
On LinkedIn, they provide you with an opportunity to share blog posts and articles right in the website, such as Marketo does. As another place to share content, Marketo can attract new potential customers interested in learning about the brand but not committed enough to head to the website. This is great for making a first impression and building brand awareness.
Customers, clients and business partners all want to know who is behind the companies they work with. However, it isn’t always easy to get into the personal and professional details on a website. This can make it difficult to allow customers and partners to get to know your business leaders.
However, LinkedIn provides a terrific opportunity for company presidents and CEOs to establish authority for themselves. If we look at President of Mericle Commercial Real Estate Service Robert Mericle’s LinkedIn page, we see he is about to establish himself as a leader in his industry while supplementing the authority of his company. Through sharing his own expertise, articles and information, customers and clients know more about him and have more trust.
Your website is the perfect place to share information about your company’s achievements and growth. However, there are certain times when creating a new blog post or press release isn’t necessary. Small achievements, company anniversaries or events and other small details may be important, but you may not need a whole new website page.
Your LinkedIn profile will allow you to add recent updates in the form of posts, like Viacom does. These updates alert your community of news without much of a hassle, so you’re able to keep your audience informed quickly and easily. Viacom uses their updates to let their community know of everything from a recent blog post to details about their upcoming projects.
Putting testimonials on your website is a great idea. But for anyone to see those testimonials and reviews, they need to have enough faith in you to come to your website. If they don’t want to click through to a new page, you may not be able to show how highly qualified you are for their business.
This is another problem that LinkedIn can solve. Because LinkedIn allows you to put testimonials on your page, you can show off the great things someone has said about you as a professional or about your business within the social media site, such as Jason Curry, Founder and Head Growth Marketer at Hammersmith, does. As an easy place to collect testimonials, your LinkedIn page can help you build authority with target audience members.
LinkedIn is one of the most important social media profiles for any company or business professional. While it allows you to connect with target audience members, job prospects and even business partners, LinkedIn’s networking tools go above and beyond any other social media platform. However, to get the most benefit, you need to use it to supplement your website.
Your website will still be the place you educate your community, close sales and make lasting connections. But, with so many different competitors going after your audience’s attention, you need to accommodate them and their needs. Placing your content where they already are, such as on LinkedIn, is the way to do this.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Facebook may be the world’s most popular social network, but LinkedIn is quickly surging as the most powerful. When LinkedIn initially went online 14 years ago, it started off mostly as an online version of business networking events. It did not take long for the network to become the most important source for online employment opportunities; years later, LinkedIn became an essential hub for business information and advice.
These days, LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft and has offices in more than 24 cities around the world, and it caters to users in 24 languages. In terms of social media advertising, LinkedIn is only second to Facebook. No other social network offers the sheer breadth of business connections as LinkedIn; when it comes to marketing, LinkedIn is regrettably ignored by business owners and brand managers who incorrectly believe that their companies would not be a good fit for the network.
It is important to note that LinkedIn is the world’s largest business-to-business marketplace. If your company operates in the B2B sector, an active LinkedIn profile is mandatory. Even if your company is a business-to-customer operation, you should make an effort to reach out to the more than 400 million users in this social network.
Marketing analysts believe that LinkedIn is home to the best prospective clients and customers you could ever hope to find. With this in mind, here are four branding and advertising strategies that you should be carrying out on LinkedIn:
Business owners should not forget that LinkedIn members tend to be successful professionals who are more likely to have higher levels of disposable incomes. The more active LinkedIn members tend to be those who earn the most; these premium prospects are easier to reach with native ads and sponsored content. An excellent LinkedIn strategy consists of creating great content that is not only about goods or services but also about the company. Like ASEA’s online portfolio, there must always be a professional angle in every LinkedIn account. By establishing this professional brand, you can then create content. Once the sponsored content has been seen by the targeted audience, the next part of the strategy would be to deliver native ads so that LinkedIn members are reminded of the original content.
LinkedIn power users tend to be very attracted to InMail, the network’s proprietary email system. For advertisers, InMail is an irresistible proposition in the sense that it can deliver marketing messages only when LinkedIn members are logged into the network and actively engaged. Even better, InMail messages can also include call-to-action buttons.
To really get the attention of LinkedIn members, a personalized and dynamic advertising campaign is required. Dynamic ads are highly targeted display units that can be used to reach top decision makers within companies. The structure of LinkedIn’s Dynamic Ads is simple: ad copy plus a call-to-action element; however, the magic is created with images that are borrowed from the profiles of the targeted members. The best action to incite from Dynamic Ads is for members to follow the advertiser so that future marketing efforts are highly targeted and meaningful.
Similar to Google AdWords, LinkedIn Text Ads can be used for general branding purposes, to generate website traffic and to create a book of warm leads. LinkedIn Text Ads have an advantage in the sense that they can be carefully targeted. For example, a law firm that specializes in corporate practice can target companies that have only been in business for a few months; this is typically when executives start looking for permanent legal counsel to advise them.
In the end, the marketing potential of LinkedIn is too great for any business to ignore, particularly now that the network is under Microsoft ownership.
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LinkedIn has increasingly become one of the most powerful social networks for marketers. An Oktopost survey of B2B leads generated through social media found that over 80 percent were generated through LinkedIn, leaving Twitter a distant second. 94 percent of B2B marketers now use LinkedIn for content creation and distribution, and 66 percent say it is their most effective social media platform, according to Content Marketing Institute research. But using LinkedIn effectively requires following some sound strategies. Here are seven essential LinkedIn do’s and don’ts to bear in mind when using LinkedIn to promote your small business.
Customizing your LinkedIn profile is one of the first steps towards optimizing your LinkedIn marketing strategy, says COGO Interactive Training expert Peg McDermott. For starters, your default profile URL includes a string of unnecessary numbers you can remove to make your URL more suitable for branding. You can edit your URL by hovering over the Profile link at the top of your homepage, selecting Edit Profile, hovering over the link beneath your profile photo and clicking the settings icon to access the URL editing field.
You should also customize your photo and the text of your page’s headline, summary and content. For instance, Amway’s LinkedIn page includes the company’s logo as a profile photo along with a description of the company and a tab to learn about Amway careers. Be sure to include relevant keywords in your profile text in order to attract prospects who might be searching for specific terms using LinkedIn’s search engine or Google.
Once you create your LinkedIn profile, it’s easy to forget to update it. If your employment situation changes or there’s an important development in your professional career, make sure to update your profile to reflect your current situation. A good way to make sure you do this is to schedule periodic reviews of all your social media profiles, including your LinkedIn profile. This will also help ensure that your various online profiles stay consistent.
Unlike email, LinkedIn doesn’t use a spam filter. This gives you more flexibility when communicating on LinkedIn, but unfortunately, it is also prone to abuse by spammers. LinkedIn is the social media equivalent of a professional business environment, so spamming prospects is likely to turn them off and hurt your reputation. In fact, LinkedIn recently had to pay a $13 million lawsuit when the company’s Add Connections feature sent annoying automated invitations to contacts of members, which litigants claimed hurt their reputation. Make sure that any messages you send through LinkedIn are personal, customized and relevant to your recipient and the relationship you’re trying to build with them.
By the same token, LinkedIn is not a network for posting selfies, personal content or humor videos, says inbound marketing consultant Ryan Shelley. Instead, use LinkedIn to share your professional knowledge, insights, tips and experiences.
One of the most effective ways to use LinkedIn to position your brand is by publishing content that showcases your expertise and the benefits your knowledge and experience represent to prospects. You can distribute content through LinkedIn’s internal publishing platform and use status updates to alert your followers to new content, suggests Linkfluencer founder Alex Pirouz. You can also build a discussion network within LinkedIn and use it to connect with prospects and promote discussion of your brand. For instance, Citigroup wanted to improve its presence among female professionals, so it built a LinkedIn networking group for professional women. For best results, plan your content in advance and follow a regular, consistent publishing schedule.
LinkedIn should serve as one tool in your online marketing toolkit and should support your other online activity. Use your LinkedIn posts and messages as opportunities to promote your total web presence, including your website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram page and YouTube channel. You can do this by including links on your LinkedIn profile, in your messages and in content you post.
To get the most out of your LinkedIn content marketing and prospecting, be sure to take follow-up steps when you post or connect so that your hard work doesn’t go to waste. After you post, be on the alert for comments, connection requests and direct messages. When you connect with someone or talk to them directly, use a customer relationship management tool to take notes on the date and content of your conversation. Look at the profiles of people who connect with you and take time to learn about their background and interests and what they’re doing on LinkedIn and other social media. Create a follow-up schedule to periodically keep in touch with connections you’ve identified as good prospects.
If you have multiple social media accounts and get lots of email, it’s easy to forget to check your LinkedIn messages or assign them lower priority than other communications. This can undo all the hard work you’ve put into LinkedIn marketing if an important message comes in and you didn’t notice it until its timeliness had passed. To make sure you check your LinkedIn messages regularly, schedule a daily time slot or two to check your messages, just as you would do for email. This will be easier to do if you turn on email notifications so that you don’t have to take the extra step of logging into LinkedIn to see your messages.
Posting on LinkedIn is not an end in itself, but a means to promote your business. To make sure your efforts are achieving this end, you should set goals and track the results of your LinkedIn activity. For instance, how much do you post on LinkedIn per week? How many leads per month is your LinkedIn activity generating? How many business partnerships have resulted from your activity? How many prospective employees have you connected with, interviewed or hired? Tracking these kinds of results can help you make the adjustments you need to make sure your LinkedIn marketing is achieving the goals you intend for your business.
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When you think about the website LinkedIn the words that might come to your mind would be: jobs, employment, recruiting, and networking. LinkedIn is truthfully all of that, but it’s more. It’s a content promotion platform, it’s a brand marketing platform, it ranks really well in Google, drives brand trust and it’s one of the largest websites online. With this in mind it’s true to say that businesses should have a strong and powerful presence on Google. The question is are they? Here’s some interesting stats to show why I’m crazy about this social platform:
If you’re not actively marketing your brand on LinkedIn, you’re missing the boat on some very exciting growth. When it comes to content marketing, companies tend to focus on publishing blogs and promoting them on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Well, LinkedIn is an excellent place to promote content too. In some way or another business’s need to market to adults. It may not be for product purchases, but it could be for employment. If not for employment or services it can be for investment. The main point is adult are an important audience with any campaign and adults are on LinkedIn.
Another social media marketing truth is not everyone is one Facebook. It might seem like it with Facebook’s massive global user-base but some people just aren’t on and they will usually be on LinkedIn.
To promote content on LinkedIn it may seem easy and simple, all you do is post and let the rest do itself. That’s false and not the case that we’re pitching. Simply posting content to the brands page isn’t enough. We’ve selected a few great tips and tricks for marketing content on this powerful social network, so study up to step up your content marketing game.
Even if you have to pay for it. Then jump on board with the LinkedIn Publishing Platform – Companies that learn the LinkedIn Publishing Platform tend to be the most successful with their content marketing efforts. It’s easy and simple enough to use, but LinkedIn offers a wealth of resources and tools for making the most of it. Designate someone at your company to learn the ropes.
Your content marketing efforts will fall on deaf ears if your company profile is bland, generic and stale. First and foremost, make sure it’s branded to be consistent with the rest of your company’s image. Nu Skin does an excellent job in this regard, they post frequently but not to the point where it’s spammy. Make sure the LinkedIn page has the same look and feel as its website and other online profiles, so people instantly know they’re reading content from a trusted source. Also, consistently update your company page, and make sure to engage in plenty of LinkedIn activities so visitors can see that your business is active and ready to go. Nu Skin gives us a great example of this.
The world is filled with boring content. Creating great content for LinkedIn is mostly about providing your audience with informative, compelling, interesting information that they can actually use. Therefore, you’ve really got to understand audience and be willing to provide it with content that dovetails with its needs and expectations. Avoid generic, fluffy content at all costs. Avoid rehashing the same ideas again and again too. Sure, it’s tricky coming up with fresh, interesting content on a regular basis, but doing so will help your star rise on LinkedIn and increase the odds of it being featured prominently by the social media giant.
Targeted content will always outperform content that’s delivered to a much broader audience. IBM does a great job with this. Through LinkedIn Groups, of course, you can target very specific users based on criteria like industry, company size and even job title. If you have specific product lines or other offshoots you’d like to promote, you can’t go wrong with LinkedIn Showcase Pages. They are basically niche pages that serve as extensions for your overall brand, and you can post content directly from them to deliver engaging information to highly targeted audiences.
Whatever you do, kill the promotional, salesy language. It’s annoying and no one likes it. Large companies don’t do this, so you shouldn’t. We don’t sell or promote their services at all with their LinkedIn posts. They’re a great example. People aren’t that passionate about brands where they will share promotional content like that. It’s frowned upon on most social media platforms, but it’s an especially major faux pas on a site like LinkedIn. People are there to make connections that will enhance their careers, so pushing the hard sell onto them will only alienate them and make your company look bad.
Invest time, money and resources into your LinkedIn. It will come in handy. It truly is a powerful content marketing platform, and it takes serious work to start reaping the success that can come from it.
There are plenty of guides out there dedicated to methods of promoting your LinkedIn profile and driving some traffic to it, but the truth is that the number of factors you can manipulate to reach your goal is so great that all of them may not be covered anytime soon. However, we can still chip away at that mystery, article by article, and so here is a look at eight of the many tips you can use in order to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile.
Of course, this may not apply to all LinkedIn users, but is still a useful tip that can end up paying off. While English is indeed the most widely-spoken language out there, there are hundreds of millions, and even billions of people who speak something else. For instance, let us pretend that you have an English profile established while you were in the United States, and recently, you have moved to Mexico. At this point, it would be advisable to open up a new profile in Spanish, directed at the Latin market. Expand your horizons and reach out to different cultures.
Whenever you are communicating with a customer, remember that if you say or write anything that will offend or displease them, chances are their opinion about you will spread throughout the net. When reaching out to a target audience it is of utmost importance that you choose each and every word carefully, keeping in mind the kind of people you are communicating with. If you manage to make your customers feel comfortable, chances are they’ll pursue their dialog with you.
There are plenty of little details to fill out on your LinkedIn profile, such as the heading, your current profession, your achievements, and so on and so forth. It would do you good to update these elements from time to time and make sure that the information used is in accordance with your goals and reflects reality.
People are always alarmed when someone pops out of nowhere, introduces him or herself to them, and starts to discuss business. Instead of appearing from thin air in the lives of the people you want to get in contact with, try to find some kind of mutual or third-degree connection who will be able to introduce you to each other. In other words, make the most out of the “request an introduction” feature.
When you request to be introduced to someone, don’t hold back information or your true intentions. Make your needs, wishes and desires crystal clear from the start; it will make it much easier for you to be introduced, and for the person to actually understand what you are looking for.
Every profile on LinkedIn has a thing called the skills list, and it is basically a self-assessment of one’s talents. Try to populate that list with things that are going to make you stand out from the majority, without going overboard, or else people will think of you as a boastful liar. Putting your profession-related talents is a good start, not to mention that it will help you get noticed by recruiters.
Not too long ago the LinkedIn crew has launched the website’s new profiles. There are some substantial differences when compared to the old profiles, with the new ones placing a much greater focus on your digital involvement, your online presence, as well as the connections different profiles have between each other. In other words, your profile’s worth is determined by who you associate with more than anything else and how much you interact with other users. Additionally, certain smaller changes have been brought to the profile’s layout, making the important elements more visible and the unimportant ones less prominent. At the moment, you need to request the new profile in order to be able to benefit from its features, and it’s recommended you do so seeing as how it brings greater social advantages, and in the end, everyone will end having to make the switch one way or the other.
Finally, the last tip on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn experience revolves around company pages. While in the past they were quite underestimated, company pages are now more useful than they ever were. They are a very good way of seeing what jobs any company registered with the network is announcing, as well as any updates and future plans they may have. If you have your own company, you should definitely create a page in order to announce your job listings and inform people, effectively improving your online visibility.