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.
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.
Image Copyright : Ingvar Bjork/123rf
Do you still find LinkedIn confusing? Are you struggling to understand exactly how to use it to your advantage?
This infographic by Bluewire Media will teach you everything you need to know in 5 minutes flat. Sure perfecting your approach will take time but this information will give you a better understanding on how to get started.
I’m going to put this bluntly, social media marketing can be a very time consuming task and quite difficult. If it were easy everyone would be super successful and an expert. The truth is that not all companies will be able to hire a full time social media employee to handle their online communication efforts and ignoring it is simply not an option. In many cases social media outsourcing will be a key ingredient to at least gaining some important ground in the social space without having to pay for a full time employee to handle it for you.
Keep in mind that outsourcing your social media marketing will require both parties to be on the same page at all times. A proper game plan, strategy and communication need to be in place for the process to occur properly.
Here are some tips to help you outsource your social media marketing.
Social media marketing can be confusing for some organizations which is why they are outsourcing it in the first place. Both parties need to understand all frequencies and actions being performed throughout the month in order for it to be a successful partnership. A properly laid out game plan early on is important so both parties can see the progression of the process. Everything from what communities you are participating in all the way to content topics.
Social media marketing to one group of people can be something very different to another group of people. It is important to understand what social media marketing and engagement consists of. The vendor performing the social media activities should be able to explain exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it.
Depending on the frequency of activities conducted each month it is important for the company conducting the work to record and keep track of what activities are performed. When outsourcing any sort of search engine marketing activity you can easily lose grip on the work being conducted and this activity log will help you understand what is being completed. It will also help you build trust in the company performing the outsourced social media because search engine marketing can be very intangible.
Are you one of those people who still think social media is just not right for your business? I still bump into individuals that claim there is no room for social media for their business because their audience is not using any of the resources — bull s*@#. The entire planet is using social media in one way or another which means that you have to be there too. The caliber of your engagement depends on your goals and audience but the reality is that sites like Twitter & Facebook are simply a must in today’s digital landscape.
Mashable put together this amazing social media infographic piece going over the numbers of how people use the different social media outlets.
Social media is not just something that is planning on sticking around for a little bit with the plans of eventually moving on. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter have completely changed the landscape of digital communication — forever. With LinkedIn going public recently it is even a stronger indicator of just how important it is to use this networking giant to grow as an individual and even a business. Sure, things will take time like anything else but if you don’t want to make the time you might just be shooting yourself in the foot.
Here are some ways you can really increase your online influence in LinkedIn and have it start working for you in a positive light:
Don’t just add your name without anything else because that is useless and a waste of time. Remember that this thing will rank very well for your name in the search engines so you want that profile robust and full of information that can help you grow as a person or a business. If someone searches your name and they bump into a LinkedIn profile that is completely empty that is not going to strengthen their case to want to work with you.
Using a good quality image is extremely important for many obvious reasons. Unfortunately people do judge a book by its cover so it is important to use a quality image that allows you to market yourself. Nobody cares to see a photo of you doing a keg-stand or snuggling with your cats. Save those for your friends on Facebook if you absolutely must showcase them.
For quite some time now I have been sending short quick thank you messages to anyone who wants to make a connection with me. I can’t begin to tell you how many great conversations this tiny little effort has sprung up. It is a great way to break the ice and introduce yourself to someone who wants to have a professional connection with you on LinkedIn.
There is an immense amount of targeted groups anyone can join on LinkedIn. Some of these groups have over 100,000 members and most groups allow you to place a link into their news feed that has the potential to be seen by thousands of qualified eyeballs. A great strategy is to take a blog post your business has written and distribute it through some of the groups on a consistent basis.
Being social is all about trying to communicate along with being a team player when it comes to social media. This means leaving comments on a competitors posts, liking others submissions and generally doing things that leave behind some sort of connection between you and the community. This lets the original owner of the post know that you enjoyed what they have to say and it gets you on their radar screen.
People’s online patterns of behavior are changing. With that said the internet marketing industry tends to have large sweeping changes whenever it really feels like it which is why it is important to embrace the changes rather than fight them. Social media came in like a bat out of hell and really confused folks all across the board. There have been many studies conducted showcasing proof that many of the fortune 500 companies are yet to even adopt SEO and social media into their daily marketing showing us all that there is still plenty of room for growth in this industry. Never mind the smaller local businesses that do not really give it a full attempt.
For any business looking to learn the online space it is important to understand that SEO & social media have a much closer marriage than ever before. This is something that is not going to veer off course anytime soon. Recently Bing & Facebook joined forces even more than they ever have before. Bing search results are displaying more Facebook material than ever before. This is a prime example of how the overlap between SEO & social media marketing is really taking shape. Whether you like it or not SEO & social media are now a marriage.
Twitter has seen growth by almost 1500% since February of 2008. Facebook is almost at 300-400% growth! So why are you not on there yet as a business? Why is every business not on these communication giants yet? I think too many businesses are caught up with the notion that their needs to be an ROI established which stops many projects before they even get started. Accountability is important but you can’t put a number on branding in this space. A prospect might see your tweet one day on Twitter and not think about you for 2 months and all of a sudden bump into one of your web pages in the search results and clearly remember who you are way back to that one specific incident on Twitter. How do you put a calculation on that?
Social media & SEO are not paid advertising. We cannot predict what type of numbers in visitors we might get or how many clicks a campaign might receive. These techniques of communication are vastly different in their own way and they have to be embraced not kicked to the curb. When you have trouble seeing outside of the box that is when it gets difficult to really realize what these efforts are all about. They create inbound marketing streams of traffic and they increase branding all at the same time while helping your website or business become visible online. They are both vastly different from anything any business has ever seen in the last fifty years.
Technology has allowed us to market ourselves in a much different light than what we might have once been used to. The days of focusing on billboards and direct marketing are over. People wake up and the first thing they do is fire up their computer to check out what is going on in the world.
Check out these amazing social media statistics from the eConsultancy blog: (This data is from a few years ago but it is still relevant to the space we are in)
If you are a business owner and manage a website and these numbers don’t make you think again about your online approach than someone just needs to come over and shake you a little bit because social media and SEO are only growing in power as time moves on. These two forces are a team that every business should be part of or run the risk of becoming invisible. Social media is not a fad it is a reality and the process of increasing your visibility online should be a focus now and not at the 11th hour.
The folks over at TechCrunch have a really interesting video set featuring Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media where they discuss the evolution of the web 3.0 era we are all feeling and seeing in todays web space. It is interesting to see the progression between the three stages of the web. Web 1.0 according to Reid was a very raw internet where files are retrieved and some entertainment was being applied. Web 2.0 was this explosion of online community and participation and web 3.0 revolves around immense amounts of data.