Using LinkedIn for business

LinkedIn is great for business networking.  It is becoming more and more popular every year – with some 332 million users as of January 2015.

If you are an entrepreneur you should be networking on LinkedIn.  Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Complete your LinkedIn profile
    If you want people to find you (and surely you do) make sure your profile is complete and is public. It is really important as what you have written here will determine how people can search for you on Search Engines and on LinkedIn.  Use keywords to do with your business.  For me that is “website design” or “social media”.
    A complete profile also means that your connections can read about you and what you have achieved – it is an online CV (or resume). How to make your LinkedIn profile public/private.
  2. Make the most of your LinkedIn headline (or tagline)
    Your headline is right at the top of your profile in large(r) writing, and is one of the first things that people will see when visiting your profile. Try to use words that people might put in a search to find a person/company like yours. For example mine is “Website design and social media at Kaydee Web“.
  3. Use a good photograph
    Your photograph should be professional looking, not one of you in the pub because it is the only one you have.
    A decent photograph is worth its salt. A professional photographer is valuable – a good one will capture a great photo of you and give the right impression. You can use the photos on your social media platforms, and can even use them on your website.
    On LinkedIn use a head shot.  When thumbnails are really small (on discussions, for example) no one will see what you are doing in a full length photograph.  You want people to get to know you.
    If you are worried about the whole world seeing your face next to your job description, you can change your settings so only CONNECTIONS can see your photo.  But in business it is good for people to get to know your face.
  4. Customise your URL
    A URL is an address that a user types in to the address bar to visit something – a website, your Facebook page. In this case it will be your LinkedIn profile. This means you can easily give out an address to those that want to visit your LinkedIn profile page. My LinkedIn address is for example.
    How to customise your public LinkedIn profile URL.
  5. Post statuses
    Try to post a status from time to time, relevant to your network. This is the way in which people connect with you and helps to remind people you are there. You will gain a lot more from LinkedIn if you are active.  If you write a blog post linked to it from LinkedIn.  Send people to to links within your website (this is great for SEO too).  Oh, and it is ok to be human sometimes!
  6. Add work samples to your profile
    I use Behance to add samples of my work on to my profile. This means my portfolio is on the Behance network and on LinkedIn once I embed the project.
    If you are more comfortable staying within the platform, LinkedIn now has their own way to enable you to add examples of your work:  when you are on EDIT PROFILE look for a square with a plus sign, next to the little pencil icon that enables you to edit a section. Using this button you can add images or links, but only from certain providers.
  7. Personalise messages
    When you connect with someone make sure you personalise the connection message, and choose your connections carefully. Having a huge number of connections is nothing to having quality connections. Interact with and know each of your connections.
  8. Do not continuously plug your business
    This is a big mistake many people make across all social media platforms.  Instead of constantly going on about how great your business is try, offering tips and helpful information. Create links to blog posts or videos that may help your connections in the future. Try to keep things topical, but let your own personality come through too. Your business is you, after all.
  9. Join LinkedIn groups
    Joining LinkedIn groups is a great way to network and to chat with people within your industry. I find it also encourages me to go on to LinkedIn because I am interested in a thread I have joined, or a conversation about something I like.
    Think about what you are interested in and/or where potential clients might be and join a group related.
    For example I am a member of Small Business Network for Start-ups and Entrepreneurs and I find it really interesting. I often take part in discussions. This is how you get to know people and network.

I hope that helps!

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