5 Easy Steps Toward Your LinkedIn Strategy

IMG_0974What’s your LinkedIn strategy? By now we all know that having a strong LinkedIn presence is essential. However, many of us are still uncomfortable with so much being shared publicly. Since LinkedIn is a professional network, we’re even more concerned about setting it up correctly and the possibility we might look bad.

I often say that my specialty is social media for the socially reluctant. As a LinkedIn coach, I enjoy giving people the confidence to use LinkedIn and to develop a LinkedIn strategy based on sharing their authentic self.

Along the way I also show my clients how to come up higher in searches and promote their brand,  expertise and company effectively. You may need a little hand-holding along the way but you can also do this on your own.  Here are five key recommendations to get you started:

LinkedIn Strategy Basics

Add a photo to your profile. Before meeting a potential client or after a meeting I always look at their LI profile and photo. I know few of us like having our photos taken but please – would you not answer the door to your guests because you were having a bad hair day?

I want to look at your photo after I’ve met you at a marketing event so that it triggers that great conversation we had.  I want to look at a photo before I go to meet with a potential client or someone I’m thinking of hiring.  More and more these days our work is largely virtual and having a photo to look at personalizes the experience and helps cement the relationship. It makes me feel like I know you on a personal level.

Make the most of your professional headline. Don’t waste that valuable real estate by repeating your job title. You are not your job – you are so much more! Here are some examples of how the headline can contribute to your LinkedIn strategy:

  • Jennifer Berkley-Jackson writes “Providing insights into what customers value most via market research, surveys, interviewing and focus groups” . Notice this includes keywords for her area of expertise and also shows the value of what she does.
  • In what could be a boring profession one of my connections wrote “HR Compliance Uber Enthusiast”. I’m not sure if it’s what I would have recommended but I love that she was willing to put herself out there with her sense of humor. And HR Compliance are the keywords for her.
  • Talking of someone with a sense of humor (though it’s her human side that she shows here), I have to mention Kathy Klotz-Guest’s “Marketing messaging strategist. I improve client results by turning marketing-speak into compelling human stories.”

Optimize your summary section.  This is the place you can really express your personality.  You’re going to add keywords to help in searches for your expertise but this is also the place that you are giving your 30 second elevator speech that makes others want to know more.  Add something personal.

  • I like Karmen Reed’s “I absolutely love working with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them harness the marketing challenges of the new online world.” Doesn’t that give you a perspective on her particular strengths and interests and her target clients? It also differentiates her from other marketing professionals.
  • Joanna Nowak adds a little more personal to the professional “As a fee-only financial planner, I do not accept any commissions or loads and as a result am under no pressure to sell or recommend any particular financial products. I am committed to a variety of non-profit causes, especially ones that focus on financial literacy.”  In a profession like financial planning, Joanna has already begun to show she’s someone you can trust.

Add all your email addresses to your profile.   Who only has one email address these days?  No one I know.   If you have only your work email on your profile and a friend who knows your personal email sends you an invitation to link, you may end up with multiple profiles – confusing and annoying to untangle. The most common reason is not listing all your emails in your settings.   Note: Only your primary email will show to others.

Use the ‘notes and tags’ capabilities of LI. This is an essential, but often overlooked piece of your LinkedIn strategy. You should know who everyone is in your list of connections, even though you have hundreds or thousands. It’s not an impossible task. You just need to take advantage of the tool LI gives you.  On the right hand side of the page of every one of your connections, there’s a box that says “contact information”.   This field is also visible on your connections page. I fill this in every time I add a connection.

You can use the existing tags or create your own.  I have “WIC” and “clients” for example.  I also generally write a note with the date I met or added them and, if possible something about them, e.g. “8/12 met at WIC meeting, talked about being an empty-nester”  Next time I talk to that person I can reference a conversation we had and continue to develop the relationship. Note: These notes are only visible to you. This reminds me how I know people.

You can also send individual groups a targeted email.

There is so much you can do with LinkedIn – research, prospecting for new clients, looking for new jobs, staying up to date, developing expertise, networking, and developing relationships.  Your LinkedIn strategy starts with having an inviting profile that encourages people to connect to you.

Written originally for Women in Consulting.

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