Are you getting the most out of LinkedIn?
It’s all about optimising, personalising and socialising, LinkedIn expert Lucy Bingle said at a recent Ai Group masterclass.
With 1billion professionals including more than 14million people in Australia using this social media platform, an effective LinkedIn presence has become vital for business success.
Companies and individuals that maximise LinkedIn’s potential can build and strengthen brand awareness, thought leadership and professional relationships.
“LinkedIn is the perfect platform for businesses to position themselves, connect with their target audience and build brand trust and integrity,” Ms Bingle said.
“It has no competition, which means you really do need to be there.
“Nothing else comes close.”
Some small tweaks can help you and your people shine on this platform.
“Your profile page is a critical first digital touchpoint, not only for you and your personal brand, but also for the brand of the organisation you represent,” Ms Bingle said.
“Think of it as an online capability statement that is vibrant and dynamic and reflects what you do and how you help.”
Bring it to life so it stands out with:
Check how your page looks across different devices.
The About section is important because it is visible — along with your headshot, background banner image and headline description — when people first look at your profile page, especially on iPhones and iPads. They don’t need to scroll down to see it.
Include short, succinct paragraphs that describe what you do and how you help solve problems. Write it in the first person and include a clear call to action at the end so people know how to get in touch with you and how to find out more.
Use the Featured section to add links to articles and videos that showcase your skills and achievements.
The Recommendations section is a prime opportunity to enhance your personal brand.
Include three to five recommendations — they must be from people from your LinkedIn network so consider previous or current employers, industry colleagues or clients.
In your note asking for a recommendation, send draft wording for their consideration —not only will it save them time, but it also ensures the skillsets you want to shine a light on are highlighted.
Once you've optimised your profile page, work on building a valuable network with people you want to be talking to and getting in front of.
Start by sending a request to connect with those with whom you have a personal connection: past and current colleagues, clients, professional peers and alumni.
After 10 days or so, take the time to send your new connections a longer message to let them know what you’re doing, remembering that LinkedIn is not the platform for hard sells.
Of LinkedIn’s 1billion members, only one per cent creates and shares posts.
“By joining that one per cent, you will be seen as a subject-matter expert — a trusted adviser,” Ms Bingle said.
Aim to spend 30-40 minutes on effective and efficient LinkedIn activity, three to four times a week.
Find the courage to create at least one post a week to share with your network: either your own original post or share content from your company page or a high-quality, third-party piece of content.
Wrap it in smart commentary, tag relevant people and add three to five hashtags.
“This is how you build trust and integrity on LinkedIn; more than 50 per cent of members are more likely to engage the services of those that they're following and hearing from,” Ms Bingle said.
“You’ll start to elevate your positioning within the industry and amplify your own personal brand and that of the organisation you represent."
Remember to follow your company page and engage with it regularly and don’t neglect your connections.
“You need to give love back to all those people decent enough to accept your connection request,” Ms Bingle said.
“You can’t just sit on the sidelines on LinkedIn, scrolling through your feed.
“Engage with the content that resonates with you, hitting those emojis and writing some comments. Get strategic.”
Building a following on a company page is a slow process, but you still need to invest time and energy into doing it.
If you manage your company page, be strategic to drive engagement.
Consider posts that:
“If you position your people and brand well and start getting active on the platform, you will start to build and educate a following, which goes on to build trust and integrity so those people will want to engage with you,” Ms Bingle said.
“Ultimately, they will reach out and enquire further about your products or services.”
Picking up new prospects, winning new leads and attracting top talent to your organisation are all benefits of an engaging company page.
“It’s worth making sure your people are empowered to use LinkedIn in the right way and to engage with brand and industry content,” Ms Bingle said.
“Your people can be your biggest brand advocates. They can really champion the business and celebrate the good work being done and the culture, EVP and leadership.
“This starts to bring other good people into your orbit who want to be part of the action and want to come and work with you.”
Not only that, but a personal profile post gets much more exposure than a company page post.
Encourage everyone in the organisation to follow the company page and engage with it regularly.
Proofread posts carefully to ensure they are free from spelling and grammar mistakes, and check your tone and message to avoid reputational damage to you and your organisation.
“If, in your gut, you think you're off-message or that you're being a bit controversial or inflammatory, you probably are,” Ms Bingle said.
“LinkedIn is not the place to get on your soapbox, and it's not the place for controversy.
“Be professional and cordial. Use the platform to really shine a light on yourself as a genuine, authentic and expert human being.”
Using the other emojis (celebrate, support, love, insightful and funny) is far more effective, says Ms Bingle.
“When you do this, it sends a message to the LinkedIn algorithm that you're an insightful, purposeful user of LinkedIn who thinks about how you engage on this platform.
“As a ‘reward’, they will feed more of your content to other users.
“Ultimately, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more you are rewarded.”
Owing to popular demand, this LinkedIn masterclass will be held again on February 15, 2024. Register here.
Wendy Larter is Communications Manager at the Australian Industry Group. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, the News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.