What is LinkedIn? Learn about LinkedIn Marketing and how your business can get started on the professional social media network.
LinkedIn 101: Getting Started
LinkedIn likes to describe itself as “the world’s largest professional network,” and that’s exactly what differentiates LinkedIn from the rest of the social networking pack. You aren’t going to post pictures of food on LinkedIn, nor a statement on how hungover you are from last night’s Halloween party.
Signing up for LinkedIn is easy. Adding in all those mundane details from your resume can be more of a pain the ass. But we’ll get to that. First, be aware of the LinkedIn email overload. This is a warning: It can really get you! But Twitter is probably just as bad once people start paying attention to your Twitter profile.
Complete your profile
Completing your LinkedIn profile is an ongoing process. Seriously. It’s like if you apply “NeverEnding Story” to social media. Every time you log on, LinkedIn wants to help you improve your profile. This can be both good and bad. Good because they make it super easy to complete your profile. It’s almost dummy proof. Just hover and click over any section and add text or media. It can be bad because it’s annoying. Seriously.
Completing your profile will contribute to the ability of your profile to reach All-Star strength. And don’t we all want to be all-stars for once in our lives? To reach an all-star level, your profile should include the following:
- Your industry and location
- An up-to-date current position (with a description)
- Two past positions
- Your education
- Your skills (minimum of 3)
- A profile photo
- At least 50 connections
If you want to optimize your LinkedIn profile (like making it complete but better so it earns you more business connections), use the following tips to get it together:
- Create a unique vanity URL for your profile.
- Add both a professional headshot and a cover photo (the image of you holding a beer sitting on the lake is probably not a good idea).
- Ensure your contact information is up-to-date.
- Create a unique summary— let your personality shine, but still be professional.
- Use keywords through your profile, including your professional headline, your job titles, your summary, your experience descriptions, and your skills.
- Add skills! Lots and lots of skill! So many skills, they are like Skittles! And then you can taste the rainbow with your skills. Yummy skills.
- Shamelessly highlight your accomplishments. This is not the time to get bashful about how awesome you are.
- Break up content with headers, checklists, bulleted points, paragraph breaks, etc.
- Add media below your summary and experience with project examples, documents, etc.
- Re-order your sections to highlight your best stuff first. No one wants your education to be the very first thing they see, even if you did go to Haaarvaaard.
- Ask for endorsements. If you have the guts.
Once you’ve completed your profile, the next step is to get your business on LinkedIn. Do this by simply creating a LinkedIn business page. Similar to Facebook,
People have profiles. Businesses have pages.
Creating a business page (with a company email address) is simple. Getting it verified means your business has to be legit. None of this Facebook crap where you post (almost) any page you want and it will still be published. To create a LinkedIn page for your company, follow these steps:
- From your home page, move the cursor over the Interests tab at the page
- Select Companies from the drop down menu on the Interests tab
- Click the big yellow button on the right- hand side that says “Create.” See below:
To get your new business page published, you must first have a business email address. Once you have this, LinkedIn will want you to fill in a bunch of company information, plus a 250-2000 character company description. Last, to get the page published, you must enter a business website URL.
No URL = No LinkedIn company page. Bummer.
Linkedin 102: Posting Updates and Other Stuff
LinkedIn tried really had to make themselves different, but still kinda the same. This can be seen in the posting platform. When you’re on your homepage, you can see the option to “Share an update,” “Upload a photo,” and “Write an article.” Sharing an update and uploading a photo are basically the same thing, but we’ll just let LinkedIn think they are innovative by separating these two options.
As mentioned above, posting to LinkedIn is different from posting to other social networks. It has an air of sophistication, and even a little haughtiness. The following are examples of the wrong kind of LinkedIn posts (for both profile and business page):
- Images of today’s lunch
- Why you think Donald Trump is a #winner
- Anything with hashtags (LinkedIn don’t give a shit about hashtags, just keywords)
- A video of your child eating ice cream for the first time
- An image of your child going back to school
- A collage of your child’s first year in life
- Basically any post having to do with your child doesn’t belong on LinkedIn
- Bitching about traffic
The following are examples of the right kind of LinkedIn posts (for both profiles and business pages):
- Your latest amazing professional accomplishments
- Business promotions and upcoming events
- The latest news from your industry
- The newest blog on your company website
- Relevant, timely, and positive news/tips/advice
Here’s an example of a good LinkedIn post:
(Notice the subject matter is geared toward small business owners and the link leads to a relevant article. The key here is to focus on business-related content to get the LinkedIn crowd to like your stuff.)
Before we move on from LinkedIn posting, one final note on the section to “Write an article.” If your company website already has a blog attached, don’t repost your articles from that blog webpage on your LinkedIn business page or profile. Why? Because SEO, that’s why.
When you create a blog article, best practices for improving your website’s SEO is to post that article on your website in a blog section. This will improve your website rankings. Posting it to LinkedIn instead of your website is futile, and frankly kinda stupid.
Posting the article to your LinkedIn, in addition to your website, runs the risk of duplicate content— which doesn’t make Google too happy. The only time you should post an article to LinkedIn is if you do not have a blog on your website. And if you don’t have one of those, well, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
LinkedIn 103: Connecting with Other Users
Before we continue, let’s set the groundwork:
LinkedIn profiles get connections. LinkedIn business pages get followers.
Ok, we are ready to proceed:
Now that you know how to post to LinkedIn— both profiles and pages— the next step is to build your connections. When it comes to LinkedIn profiles, creating connections is simple. LinkedIn will show you both pending invitations by others to connect as well as people you may know based on the people you’ve already connected with. When it comes to LinkedIn business pages, building up followers is more challenging.
Follow these tricks to get more LinkedIn business page likes
- Optimize the business page with keywords
How are potential customers/clients/partners going to find you if they type in your industry’s main keyword phrase and you don’t pop up for it? Optimizing pages also includes adding a company page image (logo) and background banner image, so don’t get lazy.
- Create Showcase pages that highlight your company’s services
Showcase pages are found under the Edit tab and drop down menu on your company page. They’re meant to be sub-pages of your company page that represent different aspects of your company. Create each showcase to represent a specific service you offer, load up the description with keywords, and post related updates to that page regularly.
- Post company updates often
Speaking of posting, if you aren’t posting to your company page consistently, you aren’t providing engaging content for your followers, and thus, they have no reason to follow you. How can you expect people to follow your company page if it’s an empty page?
- Promote your LinkedIn company page everywhere you go
Add like and follow buttons on your company website. Create a Facebook post to get Facebook followers to join you on LinkedIn, too. Print out a sign and put it next to your cash register. Scream it from the rooftops. We really don’t care how you do it, you just need to do it shamelessly— or it’s not going to work.
LinkedIn 104: Expert Level
LinkedIn Analytics, like Facebook Insights, are only applicable to your LinkedIn business page. It can be found next to your home tab on the business page, and it gives you insights on your recent posts, reach, visitors, and followers. It’s not as detailed as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics, but it will still provide you with valuable information about which posts are performing best and your recent follower trends.
Afraid of being left behind in the social world, LinkedIn added their own form of LinkedIn advertising just like Facebook and Twitter. Because the platform is geared towards professionals, they’ve set up their advertising options to reflect professionals’ needs— with targeting options. LinkedIn’s targeted ad options make LinkedIn advertising not a bad idea. You can target a specific job title, industry type, keyword, company size, and geographic location just to name a few. See below for LinkedIn’s advertising campaigns:
- Sponsored Content
Ads that drive engagement and attract new followers to a company or showcase page, found on mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers.
- Text Ads
Highly-targeted and easy to create ads pushed out across multiple LinkedIn pages, found on the on the top and the right-hand side of LinkedIn.com pages.
One last tip:
It is okay to recycle, repurpose and reuse your content… sometimes.
Just like Facebook and Twitter and any other social network you may be a part of, it is okay to recycle and repurpose content. LinkedIn obviously is not as fast-paced as Twitter. So don’t go all crazy posting the same thing over and over. But, just like Facebook, it’s okay to use the same image or link to the same article with a different but similar post content. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Just keep it professional.