Getting Started with LinkedIn – part 1

With 260 million monthly active users* and a strong focus on professional networking, plus a host of new features, LinkedIn is experiencing somewhat of a renaissance right now.

Are you using the platform for marketing currently? Maybe you should be…

Let’s start with the basics. Here’s what you need to know to get the very most out of LinkedIn if you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur or SME owner:

1. Upload a professional photo

First and foremost, your LinkedIn picture is the first thing people will see when they visit your profile, so it pays to get it right.
Don’t forget that LinkedIn has a very professional nature, so your profile picture should reflect that. While it doesn’t have to be passport photo serious, you should try and steer clear of photos of you that are super informal.

2. Write a captivating headline

In addition to your profile picture, your profile headline is also your chance to shine. Come up with a headline that reflects who you are and what you do.

For example, my own LinkedIn headline: “Award winning Social Media Consultant helping small businesses to grow by using social media the right way” straight away tells visitors who I am and what I’m about. They know immediately that I am the Lenka Koppová they want to connect with.

Have a play around and write several different headlines until you’re happy with one in particular. Ask your business colleagues and friends which they prefer and which really sums up who you are.

3. Add your location & industry

While people will discover you in searches based on your LinkedIn headline, your location and industry also play crucial roles too.

People may want to look for people with your skills in their local area, which is why location is important and then there are the people who want to look for profiles within a particular industry.

In fact, when someone does a keyword search on LinkedIn, the platform uses information in five different fields to come up with results: Name, headline, location, summary and experience.

4. Write a relevant summary

As I’ve just mentioned, the information in your profile summary is used when people conduct keyword searched on LinkedIn. That’s why yours should contain relevant details about who you are, what you do and include some of your areas of expertise/experience. Think of your summary as an extension of your headline and use it to really make your profile shine.
Professionals nowadays have very little time to trawl through profiles, which is why a concise, yet informative, summary is a must. Think of it a bit like the summary section at the top of your CV. If people like what they read, there’s a chance they’ll explore your profile further.

5. Update your work experience

Okay, so while you want to list where you’ve worked and detail all the valuable experience you’ve obtained, stick to what’s relevant and current.

For example, while your first ever job doing a paper round felt life-changing at the time, it’s not something potential customers are really going to care about now. Let it go and leave it off your LinkedIn profile.

You want to highlight all of the relevant work experience and roles you’ve held in recent times, especially the ones that relate to your current line of work. List the responsibilities you had and also the professional qualifications you attained while in the role.

6. Showcase your skills

One of the coolest things about LinkedIn is the skills section on your profile. It lets you showcase the areas you are proficient in and allows your connections to endorse you for said skills too. This second aspect (the endorsement part) is particularly effective as it’s not just you blowing your own trumpet, but other people doing it for you – which always holds more weight when viewed by potential customers/clients.

Your skills should be ordered by importance, so if you’re a social media marketing expert, ‘social media marketing’ will want to be at the very top.

7. Start connecting with people & networking

LinkedIn is all about networking, which is why, once your profile is complete, you’ll want to start connecting with the people who matter to you and your business. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean potential customers, but rather other people in your industry or individuals/businesses you collaborate with.

You’ll want to build your profile up and start getting involved in some of the conversations that are happening on LinkedIn.

In the second part of this two-part guide, I’ll be going into more detail about how you can really start leveraging LinkedIn as a marketing tool and make it work hard for you and your business.