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The other time, I wrote about how I’m finally coming to terms with personal branding after struggling for so long. I also wrote about how LinkedIn has become my primary social media platform. These days, I spend way more time on LinkedIn than any platform. The only other platform that comes close is Twitter. But this is for good reason. I’m trying to build my personal brand and also get new clients so I really don’t have a choice than to go all out on LinkedIn.
Before now, LinkedIn used to be an online CV/Resume platform which you used when you needed to update your current experience or find a new job. These days, just like every other major platform, LinkedIn has evolved.
To get recruiters to notice your profile as a job seeker or leads as a business owner, there are certain things you need to do. Rather than being a passive user of the platform, you now actually have to be active to get the best results.
Now activity might mean different things for different people. For some, it is being active on the frontend (the feed) or the backend (the DMs). For others like me, it is both. Some people get results by simply sending messages to random or specific people with the hope that they respond. Sometimes it works, other times, not so much. It is more or less a gamble.
But as a social media strategist, I approach every social media platform with some form of strategy no matter how small. While being active in the past month, the first thing I did was to familiarise myself with the platform again just like I’m currently doing with TikTok. I needed to understand how people are using the platform in 2019 as well as the most effective type of content to create and the exact steps to take to generate leads for my business. I spent about a week or two doing this after which I decided to dive in because I knew that I needed to be an active user and not a lurker on the sidelines. Plus if I stalled too long, I might lose the confidence to dive in. Also, there was no way I could possibly learn everything I wanted to without being active. It is an ongoing learning process.
That being said, I have decided to document my process and journey to success on LinkedIn so that I don’t forget and also to help those of you struggling with LinkedIn marketing.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile
This goes without saying really. You need to position yourself for the results you want on LinkedIn. You need to ask yourself, are you a job seeker or a social seller? Or both? Once you have decided what approach you want to go with, then go ahead and optimize your profile for that position. Make sure you have;
- a great headshot (no selfies, seriously!)
- a compelling cover image
- a convincing headline
- a multimedia summary ( i.e with links to your website, portfolio, videos and presentations)
- a cohesive experience section
- a few recommendations.
In short, by the time you’re done with your profile, make sure it is an All-Star profile. LinkedIn will let you know if your profile is well optimized.
Use keywords in your headline recruiters are searching for
If you’re on LinkedIn as a job seeker, you need to position yourself as one. One of the ways you can do so is by optimising your headline with popular keywords recruiters search for. Every single week, LinkedIn tells you the number of times your name has appeared in the search engine. It also shows you keywords that your name appears in. To improve your chances of being found by a recruiter, you need to optimize your headline with those exact keywords.
Publish content in different formats.
Now that your profile is in great shape, how do you tell people what you’re great at? How do you demonstrate your expertise? Simple! By creating and posting content. These days, LinkedIn has given us a few more options to choose from. You really have no excuse. But as a rule of thumb, here’s a weekly and daily checklist you can use.
- Publish a native article. It could be a repurposed one from your website or Medium account. It could also be a fresh article. Whatever it is, ensure you post more native content and fewer links.
- Choose between a video and/or PDF to create and publish. LinkedIn recently gave us more content formats to work with. Right now, my favourite is PDFs because they’re really engaging for me but you can also trying posting videos if that is right up your alley.
- Post random snippets about your professional life and share tips, tricks and generally useful content around your expertise. The more you share content, the more chances you have to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Also, the more people engage with your content, the more your visibility increases and the closer you are to your leads.
Connect with strategic people
One of the first things I did when I got back to LinkedIn was to remove almost 2000 connections and counting. The immediate drastic effect of that was the quality of my feed went all the way up. I could not believe it. So I take time out to remove people from my connections that do not add value to my network. No sentiments whatsoever attached. It is strictly business. Remember on LinkedIn, it is quality over quantity so take your eyes off the numbers. Instead, be strategic about the quality of people you allow into your network. It is absolutely fine to decline connections if after going through a person’s profile, you sense that they might not be valuable to you.
Engage with people in your network.
Now, this is one of the most important things I learnt the hard way. If I was asked to describe LinkedIn in one sentence, it would be ‘it is all about building relationships.’ For someone that is pretty anti-social, this is one of the hardest things for me to do. The other being reaching out to people directly via DMs. But the way LinkedIn is set up, you literally have to engage with people and have conversations to build a relationship with them so that when they have opportunities that are best suited for you, they can easily refer you. LinkedIn also thrives on referrals and recommendations. Recruitment is hard enough but if people could filter the process with high-quality referrals, they always go for that option.
These are some of the things I’ve learnt on LinkedIn in the past month. It is important for me to document them so that I don’t forget. As time goes on and I continue to master the platform, I’ll share more tips and tricks.