Why hello and welcome. Welcome to Episode 20 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
How are you today? I hope you are going well, achieving this week’s goals and having a laugh as you go along.
Today I’m touching on a subject I haven’t spoken about on the Podcast and yet find myself using everyday and quite successfully too, I might add! That’s LinkedIn.
Are you on it? Do you even know what it is? Or how you can use it to drive leads and connections in your business? Well today we are covering all that and more with my 16 tips for using LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is an obvious choice for professional services businesses and is a great way for these businesses to produce content to establish themselves as an authority in their field. It is also great for building a database of contacts.
With more than 575 million users worldwide, and 9 million Australians, the network provides an opportunity to develop strong business connections with a large number of people.
But before we go down the LinkedIn rabbit hole, let’s do this week’s discovery of the week!
THIS WEEK’S DISCOVERY!
Ok this week’s discovery is something I’ve known about for a while – but haven’t used to its full potential in my business – until now!
And now I’m totally hooked.
Have you heard of Creative Market? Creative Market is an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. And what do I mean by design assets – I mean things like Instagram templates, eBook templates, PDF downloadable guide templates, fonts, oh my gosh – so so much.
Now as a big, huge, massive fan of Canva – which I’ve talked about lots on this podcast – I failed to see, to my detriment, for years the advantage of Creative Market.
But it’s amazing. It sits somewhere between Canva – do it yourself and hiring a designer.
Ok, to help you understand it better – for instance, I’ve recently purchased a template for doing my latest eBook – 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Instagram. All the design work was done for me. I purchased it, I think it was around $35 (uhm it would take me hours to do this and I work for more than $35 an hour), I uploaded it to Canva (some of them you can do this) and basically loaded my photos and copy into it and hey presto, it was done. Formatted, styled and on brand! YAY!
For a better understanding, head to www.creativemarket.com. And remember, yes things do cost money to purchase, they’re not free, but what’s your hourly rate again?!?!?
Oh, but just another little tip – if you sign up for the newsletter you can get loads of awesome freebies!
As always, just a little disclaimer, my discoveries are just that and I am in no way affiliated with any of them but promise to tell you if I ever am. I just love them and from the response of my listeners, you guys, you are loving them too!
Hey and if you have a little discovery, or something you use in your business that you’d like to share, please do so. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me @smallbusinessmadesimple. I really love to know what tools you use to help make your life simpler!
Hey, also, if you want my 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Instagram – head to www.socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/instagram
16 TIPS FOR USING LINKEDIN IN YOUR MARKETING MIX
The best way to describe LinkedIn is a professional Facebook.
And I can’t tell you how true this is. Last year one of my LinkedIn connections and acquaintances posted a blog post to both Facebook and LinkedIn.
The picture that went with the blog, so like the header picture, was of women in bathing suits – which I have to admit I thought was a bit odd considering this person was a LinkedIn expert – not really talking about bathing suits in the blog post – so a photo put there for “stopping the scroll” eye catching purposes rather than related to the blog post.
To see the different reactions on the different platforms almost blew my mind. Seriously, the people on Facebook were like hungry pack of dogs. Ripping into this person with statements about women’s rights and sexism and using sex to sell – an absolute shamble and so detrimental to a brand.
However, same article, same picture on LinkedIn was dealt with by a single person requesting that the picture be changed because it really wasn’t appropriate for the article written – to which the author responded with a “sure, deepest apologies”. That was it.
The professionalism of LinkedIn was evident. We’re all professionals – the article wasn’t so professional but like professionals and rational people, we simply said “hey, I think you should take it down”.
On Facebook, it was like a war declared on a small country. Disgraceful really.
Have you seen any examples like this?
So that’s why calling LinkedIn a professional Facebook rings true to me.
So, is LinkedIn for you?
If you want to grow your network, do online networking, set yourself in your industry as the expert, go to person, create opportunities including employment and/or business ventures, then I think it’s for you. Or if you’re sick of the trolls on Facebook – maybe it’s for you too!
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the Google ranking of LinkedIn. Google anyone’s name and if they have a LinkedIn profile – chances are it will come up in the first couple of search results. We can spend $1000’s on keywords to get a ranking like that or we can have a LinkedIn profile! Money for jam, I’d say!
Despite the social nature of LinkedIn, it is very different than other social media networks like Facebook or Twitter so that’s why I thought I’d give you some tips for using it or using it better here today.
- Must Do: Keep Your Profile Basics Updated!
Many people forget to keep their LinkedIn profiles updated. Whether you’re a total newbie, just starting a new job, or starting to explore new opportunities, there’s no excuse to have outdated information on LinkedIn. It will reflect badly on you.
Here are two quick and easy areas you must check are up to date:
Professional Headline: The job of any headline is to entice people to click. At minimum, you can use your headline to highlight your current position and company (e.g., “Director of Inbound Marketing at ABCXYZ Corporation”), but you can and should go further. Highlight your expertise (e.g., “Content Marketing Strategist and Copywriter”) or awards or showcase skills you want to turn up in searches (e.g., “Speaker, Trainer, Author, Consultant, Evangelist”). Tell everyone on LinkedIn who you are, what you do, and why you’re someone they need to connect with.
Location and Industry: Are your location and industry still accurate? If not, fix them now!
Doing these two simple things will help more people find you and help you find more relevant potential contacts.
- Only Use Professional Photos
LinkedIn profiles that have a picture are 11 times more likely to be viewed. So, if you’re still showing a silhouette, it’s time to make a change and reveal yourself.
However, some friendly advice:
Your LinkedIn photo shouldn’t be from 20 years ago. It shouldn’t look like it belongs on a dating site, stock photo site, or social network (e.g., Facebook or Instagram). And don’t feature your pet or significant other. Just. No.
LinkedIn is for professionals. Be one.
- Brand Your Profile With a Background Photo
If your LinkedIn profile still has the blue LinkedIn background, then it’s time to change that.
Give your profile page a bit more personality, or branding, with a visually appealing background image. If the image can let your audience know what you do, then even better. For example, if you’re a speaker, maybe your photo is of you on stage speaking.
LinkedIn advises users to use an image (PNG, JPG, or GIF) with a resolution of 1400×425.
Canva.com has templates already set up for you to do your LinkedIn banner – it’s easy!
- Write a Ridiculously Good Summary
This is where you really sell yourself to potential connections. Your summary should expand on what appears in your headline, highlighting your specialties, career experience, noteworthy accolades, and thought leadership.
There has been much discussion about whether it’s best to write in first-person versus third-person narrative here. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter either way — just stay consistent with whichever you choose. Don’t go back and forth between first person and third person as it’s confusing and signals a lack of attention to detail.
In summary of LinkedIn summaries: keep your ego in check, focus on the most relevant details about your career, avoid meaningless jargon, and ensure it’s easy to read.
Oh, and make sure there’s no typos!
- Use Keywords With Intent
Words are so incredibly important, especially when search is a big part of the equation. Using the right keywords in your profile is the difference between being found and being invisible.
Identify the words you want to be found for when people use LinkedIn search and use those keywords in your headline, summary, and profile. Using the right keywords will expose you to more potential connections and opportunities.
- Neat Trick: Pick the “Other” Website Option
Under your Contact Info, LinkedIn gives you the option to link to a website or blog. But by default, the text that shows in your profile is the extremely dull “Blog” or “Website.” Anyone visiting your profile has no clue where they’ll end up if they click on that.
Want to use your actual brand or business name? You can! Here’s a simple little trick.
When editing the Websites area of your profile, select the “Other” option. Now you can add your own website title and URL.
- Personalize Your LinkedIn Profile URL
When you created your LinkedIn profile, it had some ugly combination of letters, numbers, and backslashes that had no value for your personal branding. You don’t still have this, right?
If you do, it’s time to customize your public profile URL. For example, my customized URL is https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenndonovan. LinkedIn makes it simple to keep your profile consistent with your other social profiles.
- Add Shiny New Sections to Your Profile
LinkedIn lets you add several sections to give your profile more visual appeal and depth. You can add sections for posts, volunteering, languages, honours and awards, patents, causes you care about, and many more.
All these sections open you up to more opportunities to make new connections.
- Tidy Up Your Endorsements
People are going to endorse you for all sorts of skills — sometimes even skills you don’t actually have. But just because you’ve been endorsed for Fire Eating, Chewing Gum, or Showers (yes, these are all real “areas of expertise,” according to LinkedIn) doesn’t mean you have to show other LinkedIn users — unless, of course, fire eating plays a critical role in your professional life.
LinkedIn lets you remove any irrelevant skills and endorsements. You should avoid “lying” about your skill set, even if it is by omission.
- Connect With People You Don’t Yet Know
One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is failing to reach out to connect with people you want to know but don’t yet. That’s the whole point of networking — getting to know new people, not just established connections.
Building out your LinkedIn network has many benefits. You get in front of influencers. You get more endorsements. More people see your best content, share that content, and visit your website. And it’s great for personal branding.
Have you considered using LinkedIn more like Twitter? You should!
- Personalize Invitations to Connect
“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
The default message LinkedIn provides is so dreadfully boring and impersonal.
When you invite someone to connect, make it more personal — mention where you met or a topic you discussed in a LinkedIn group, over email, or during a phone interview. This personal touch will increase the odds they’ll accept your request.
And when someone accepts your request to connect, don’t start pitching your service or product. This is a relationship killer.
Start slow. Comment on, share, or Like their posts.
LinkedIn even makes it super simple to stay in touch, telling you when contacts are celebrating work anniversaries or starting new jobs. Again, these are opportunities to Like or comment.
Build the relationship and trust before you start asking for favours!
- Publish Amazing Posts
LinkedIn posts offer another way to grow your influence, gain more visibility, and acquire new followers.
Your existing connections are notified whenever you publish. New people can discover your posts via search.
Always think about the audience you want to reach. Highlight your expertise and interests by posting awesome content. Just make sure your posts are appropriate for the 400 million business professionals who use LinkedIn.
- Find and Join Groups
One way to start connecting with people you want to know is to join LinkedIn groups. Whether it’s a group run by a major publication, a group for people with certain job titles, or a group dedicated to a niche topic, there are millions of groups to choose from, so start searching to find groups that are right for you and join them.
Join discussions. Start interesting discussions. Don’t sell your product or service or promote yourself — sell your expertise! That will help build your personal brand.
- Remember Where and When You Met What’s-His-Name
Once you’ve grown your network to thousands, it can be a bit daunting to remember every single person, or to stay in touch with a few important connections.
Luckily, LinkedIn makes this easy. In the Relationship section, in addition to telling you the date when you connected, LinkedIn allows you to write notes about your contact, including how you met, or set reminders to “check in” at intervals from a day to every year.
Don’t worry, these notes and reminders are only visible to you!
- Use (but Don’t Abuse) Status Updates
LinkedIn status updates are your chance to highlight some of your recent work, share an article or book you’ve read, promote your presence at a conference or event, or offer inspiration through a quote or saying.
Because LinkedIn is a business network, it’s best to use it during business hours. Keep active, but don’t go overboard.
Try to post an update at least once a day at minimum; aim for a maximum of three or four updates per day, as long as you’re sharing useful, relevant content. Every update is another opportunity to strengthen or forge a connection.
- Ask for Recommendations
So, you haven’t received as many LinkedIn recommendations as you’d like? After all, it takes a bit of time and thought for someone to write a recommendation.
What can you do? Ask for them! LinkedIn makes is super easy, providing an “Ask to be recommended” link, where you can specify what you want to be recommended for, who you want to recommend you, and write a personal message.
Pick specific people. Don’t just randomly ask all your contacts if they can recommend you. Be selective.
Share details in your message to your connection. If there are specific skills you want your contacts to highlight in his or her recommendation, don’t be shy, tell them.
Another way to increase the likelihood that you’ll get a great recommendation: Give a great recommendation to someone you’ve worked with. This increases the odds that your contact will feel obligated to return the favour.
Bonus Tip: Export Your LinkedIn Connections
One last helpful tip: Remember to occasionally download your connections. After you’ve gone to all the trouble of building an amazing network, you don’t want to risk losing their contact info!
- Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Select Settings & Privacy from the dropdown.
- Click the Privacy tab at the top of the page.
- Under the How LinkedIn uses your data section, click Change next to Download your data.
- Note: You may be prompted to sign in.
- You’ll be redirected to the Download your data page where you can select Connections.
- You will receive an email to your Primary Email address which will include a link where you can download your list of connections.
Now you have a file containing your contacts’ first and last names, email addresses, job titles, and companies. Which you could then upload into Facebook and serve them an ad for something you think they would be interested in.
Now you know everything you need to do to refresh your LinkedIn profile. Make yourself look amazing, wow future connections, and grow your influence. It all starts with a killer profile.
What are you waiting for? Get updating now!
Be a Unicorn in a Sea of Donkeys
Now – go get social and continue this conversation in my Facebook Group – Like Minded Business Owners. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
But that’s all for Episode 20 of the Small Business Made Simple Podcast.
I’ll be back next Thursday with some more marketing know-how and another discovery of course.
If you’re liking the podcast – please head over to where you listen and leave a rating and even a review – those things are GOLD for podcasters like me! I’ll be eternally grateful, and it helps others find this podcast and enjoy the free training, tips and tricks too. It could be the best gift you give them!
Feel free to leave me a DM on Instagram with any comments or ideas (including fab discoveries)! The DMs seriously make my day!
Catch you next week,
…….. and remember small business peeps, as my opening song says, there’s no point in dreaming small!