As originally seen on Forbes
“I’m better face-to-face.”
“I’m not really an online networking person.”
“LinkedIn is for the people who are looking for a job.”
Professionals are literally stuck inside. Events and conferences have been canceled. Most people are refusing to shake hands. In-person networking is literally dead for the next fortnight at the very least, probably longer. There are no more excuses. It's time to give LinkedIn another look.
Here are three easy ways for LinkedIn resisters to use this crisis as an opportunity to up your game on social media, and gain new highly valuable skills in the process.
Start by building out your LinkedIn profile. Go to LinkedIn.com and just follow the directions. If you have a LinkedIn account you haven’t logged into in years, jump in and update your profile. There are three major areas where refreshing your profile will make the biggest impact.
1. Update the Profile Picture
Remember, it’s more important that the picture looks like you than you look great. Far too many professionals have pictures that are 10-20 years old and make them come across like they are trying to hide something.
2. Update your Professional Headline
In LinkedIn, the headline will default to your current position, so instead, update this to tell people who you help, and how you help them. This simple step alone will help your friends refer business to you, and help strangers immediately see how you can help them.
3. Update your “About” Section
Studies show this is the part your profile that visitors spend the most time reading. Here you have 1000 characters to sell yourself and your services.
A great “About” section will persuade potential clients to hire you. To be persuasive, I recommend you focus on one or two things that you are great at. Start with a topic sentence that explains specifically what you do, then include 3-4 bullet points describing example of you doing what you do best. This is not the time to be generic, this is the time to be bold and strategic. Don’t make the mistake of positioning yourself as a generalist, the market is far too crowded and noisy for a generalist to bring in work. Be a specialist, focus on one or two areas where you are better than our competitors. In the final paragraph, feel free to share more general information including volunteer work, thought leadership, and personal interests.
Once your profile is completed it is time to start giving. Some reading this will wonder, “wait, I’m creating my profile to get more business, not to give.” This is the most important lesson you will ever learn about social media, the people who are the most successful on social media are those who give the most away. If you are a tax expert, share insights through shared updates or blog posts on how people can better leverage opportunities. LinkedIn uses an algorithm to weigh the value of your content which is based around how many people like, share or comment on your posts. Give great information to help you potential customers, and you will be rewarded with an audience. You can use a free network like Twitter to find great content to share, or there are paid services like Buzzsumo that will help you identify trending content to share. I personally love Getpocket.com for targeted content suggestions.
If you are part of a large team, use an employee advocacy tool like Clearview Social, Dynamic Signal, or Smarp to get the entire team sharing and promoting each-other’s posts. Think of this like priming the pump, if your team can re-share all the content, LinkedIn will then help expand the audience for that that content.
You may be stuck inside, but don’t let it get you down. This is an opportunity to flex new muscles, gain new skills, and find new ways to win. Now you finally have time to get around to leveraging LinkedIn.
As originally seen on Forbes