In the past, I’ve been guilty of dismissing LinkedIn as the domain of recruitment consultants and snake oil salesman trying to sell me investments in art, wine or cryptocurrency.
Turns out, I was wrong.
When I took my blinkers off, LinkedIn has actually turned out to be bloody useful. Over the past few months it has:
- Started conversations and generated new business opportunities
- Helped us recruit new members of the team
- Become an increasingly useful source of website traffic
So, I thought I’d share my top 10 tips to help you get the best out of LinkedIn. This isn’t meant to be a definitive guide to everything you should be doing on there, instead, it’s a summary of tactics which have worked for me and you might like to try yourself.
1. Cleanse your connections
I was connected to over 3,500 people. Some were useful, others were just there because more connections is a good thing, right? Wrong.
The sheer number of people I was connected to meant I was frequently on the wrong end of unsolicited sales pitches and my timeline was full of irrelevant posts. So, I cleansed my connections.
I started by deciding on the type of people I wanted to connect with. They were:
Group 1: Existing and potential clients, because I want to engage with them and for them to see our content
Group 2: Fellow marketers who I can learn from and with whom I can exchange ideas
Group 3: Potential recruits (because I don’t like paying recruitment consultants)
I then disconnected with everyone who wasn’t in one of the three groups. There’s no easy way to remove a LinkedIn connection so it took a few hours, but it was worth it. Click here to learn more about the process I followed and the benefits in a blog I wrote for illuminate.
Moving forward, I now only accept connection requests from people if they’re in one of the three groups. Even then, if their first message is trying to sell me something, I immediately disconnect.
The top takeaway here? If you’re going to get serious about LinkedIn decide on the type of people you want to connect with and disconnect from everyone else.
2. Update your bio
If you implement our tips at some point potential clients will visit your individual profile and, potentially, your company profile.
That means both must be up to date and engaging. We could write a whole blog on how to build the perfect LinkedIn profile, that’s one for another week though. Make sure you explain:
- What you do (think about the problems you solve for people)
- Who you do it for
- Why someone should use you
On your personal profile:
- Include a professional photo
- Build an engaging banner, for example, include social proof, contact details etc (so many people forget about their banner but it’s prime online real estate)
- Complete the ‘About’ section
The second two on the list also apply to your company profile.
These are just the basics. There’s plenty more you can do, but we’ll save that for another day.
3. Post daily
The thought of posting each day will fill many people with dread, tip #4 will help. But, for now, hear me out.
My aim is to make The Yardstick Agency (over time) the go-to marketing agency for financial advisers and planners. We’re going to achieve that more quickly by regularly posting useful and actionable content rather than sales messages.
So, I focus on two types of post:
- Promoting our blog content
- Describing our work, because what we recommend to existing clients will help other advisers and planners
The second type of posting is described brilliantly in Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (with thanks to Nick Lincoln for the introduction. Listen to Nick’s podcast by clicking here, it’s fantastic!). We recommended the book in our blog from a few weeks ago and reading it was the kick up the backside I needed to get back into the habit of posting this type of content.
Click here to read our review of Show Your Work. The best advice I can give you today; read the book, learn from it and implement the ideas.
4. Make writing your posts easier
Posting daily is a tall order. I get that. It’s vital though if you’re going to get the best out of LinkedIn. In my experience there are several things you can do though to make life easier:
- Use your experiences with clients to tell stories. You need to protect their privacy, however, the advice you give every day is a rich seam of information for you to mine and share with others
- Create an ‘ideas bank’ by noting down thoughts whenever they strike you. That way, when the time comes to write your post you’ve got plenty of ideas to withdraw
- Find out what works for you and repeat until it becomes a habit. You might prefer to write your daily post at the same time each day. It might be more efficient for you to sit and write several posts at once. Whatever works for you is fine, just get into the habit.
5. Use images
There’s plenty of research to demonstrate that posts with images get more engagement than those without.
The image should highlight a key point from your post. Scroll stopping images are bright, lively and raise a smile work well. Avoid cliched images though; a couple strolling down a beach to illustrate a contented retirement is a big ‘no-no’.
If you’re struggling to find great images, try Unsplash.
6. Turn posts into longer-form content
Maximise the value you get from your ideas by turning the posts which describe your work into longer and more detailed blogs.
These posts are ideal for turning into short videos too, which can also be shared online to engage with an audience who prefer to consume content by watching, rather than reading it.
7. Share other people’s content
After cleansing your connections your timeline will be less cluttered and far more inviting to scroll through.
We recommend scrolling down it daily, commenting on posts and sharing content which your connections will value. There are two key benefits to this:
- You will continue to develop a reputation for sharing useful content
- The person whose content you share will be grateful, which is always useful if they also happen to be a potential client!
8. Cut your recruitment costs
Used correctly LinkedIn is a great way of cutting recruitment costs.
I use the search tool to develop a shortlist of candidates and then make direct approaches. In our experience, if they’re sensitively worded (and because they’re not batch and blast emails from a recruitment consultant) they are always well received.
We’ve recruited several members of our team using this method. It’s saved us countless hours searching through CVs on job boards and thousands of pounds to agencies.
9. Keep an eye on who’s looked at your profile
LinkedIn allows you to see who has looked at your profile. The free membership will show some of the people who’ve looked, the paid plans everyone.
Knowing who has checked you out is only useful if you actually something with the information. I’m not a fan of the “I saw you looked at my profile, what can I help you with” type emails. Although, I guess they might work for some people.
Instead, I’ll review the people who have looked at my profile and, if they’re in one of the three categories I’ve previously identified, send them a connection request. If they accept, then I’ll start a conversation, in much the same way I would if I were at a physical networking event.
This approach has led directly to us retaining several new clients.
10. Add links to your posts
Promoting your blog content on any social media platform means you need to include a link. There are times when it’ll also be sensible to post a link at the end of a storytelling post.
There are two ways to include a link:
- In the post itself
- In the comments section immediately below your post, with a note in your original post (e.g. “Link in the comments”) directing connections to the link.
I’ve seen conflicting research. However, there’s strong evidence to show that adding a link in the comments is more effective than putting it in the original post. For example research from GrowthRocks shows posts with the link in the comments get nearly three times the reach and more clicks.
Be patient and keep going
We all know that to get any benefit from physical networking events we must turn up consistently, add value and build relationships.
LinkedIn is the same. It also happens to cost less than your average networking event and you can use it on your terms during your working day.
I’ve had to be patient, develop good habits, get back on the horse when I’ve fallen off and reminded myself that success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s been worth it though, over the past few months:
- We’ve recruited some great members of the team through making direct approaches on LinkedIn
- The number of people viewing my personal profile has risen 160% over the past few weeks and has resulted in several new enquiries which will lead to sales
- Our website traffic from LinkedIn is up significantly.
Do you need content?
Your LinkedIn reach will be greater if you’re regularly posting relevant, informative and interesting content. That’s exactly what our Yardstick Membership package provides. Click here to learn more about the options.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experiences on LinkedIn; email email@example.com or call 07785 284429 and tell me what’s working (or isn’t) for you.