We wanted to include an update to this article. A young women who recently graduated from college attempted to connect with a business professional in the Cleveland area via LinkedIn. The business professional denied her request to connect, but in her denial, took the time to write a strongly worded email response to the recent college graduate. The story went viral with outrage and the business professional offered multiple apologies. Click here to read more about this story.
We thought this was an excellent opening to the article below about 10 LinkedIn best practices. Enjoy.
As a business-focused social media site, LinkedIn is one of the best tools for creating, cultivating, and sustaining business relationships. With over 200 million members, it is a crucial resource for businesses, and it is developing into a personal marketing resource at the same time. It appears that almost every business professional you meet has a LinkedIn profile and “uses” LinkedIn in some capacity. It has morphed into an online resume, and a means to connect with peers, prospects and clients.
More and more, LinkedIn, like Twitter and Facebook, is being used in integrated marketing plans. It is also included in social media strategies being developed by many companies.
So how can you get the most out of LinkedIn, for yourself and your company?
Here are 10 best practices to follow:
1.) Update your profile
This should be your top priority. As your online PMR (Personal Marketing Resume), you want to include relevant information and your past experience that will help you stand out above your competitors. Include details that will make a prospective client want to work with you. Include a professional headshot and your current contact information.
2.) Always include a headshot
This may appear to be obvious, but you often see pages without a picture. Unlike your Facebook page, this picture should be a little more “professional.” Obviously professional is defined differently based on you and your company, but use good judgment. Creativity can work, but can also backfire.
3.) Connect to all of your current contacts
Build your own LinkedIn community by connecting with anyone and everyone you know. Use your Outlook database to help. The more connections you have, the more secondary connections you will have, which will allow you to view more profiles, and expand your personal and corporate network.
4.) Look at who is viewing your customers’ page
This can provide insight into who your potential competition is and help with your approach. It can also help you prepare for objections based on other companies who may be calling (or trying to call) on your target.
5.) Follow and connect with companies of interest to you
Don’t just connect with the individuals on your “prospect” list, follow the company pages of the businesses you want to build a relationship with. This will help you stay up to date with what they are doing, what they are interested in, and will give you lots of other relevant information that can help you. It can be powerful when someone you have been trying to meet with sees you are following their company. It might just help you get the appointment!
6.) Join groups
Join groups that are applicable to your business and the connections you are trying to establish. Joining groups allows you to stay on top of market trends and important information within your field.
7.) Connect with every prospect or client prior to an appointment
This simple act can “warm up” your meeting or phone call. It can help them get to know a little bit about you and could be a conversation starter if you and the prospect find out you have something in common based on your profiles.
8.) Monitor who is looking at you on LinkedIn
You will be surprised! Make it a habit to look and see who is viewing your LinkedIn profile. It can also be a good way to start a conversation and get the meeting or appointment you’ve been trying to get for weeks, or even months.
9.) Use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool
Use LinkedIn as a “search engine.” Search for companies you are interested in, and then find out who the key personnel are. Once you find the right person, send them an email via LinkedIn. Often a message via LinkedIn comes off as warmer than a regular email. Additionally, your message won’t get mixed in with the 300 other emails that person receives daily.
10.) Get recommended by your customers!
A recommendation on LinkedIn is very powerful, and a great addition to your profile. It demonstrates to prospective clients that you are an expert in your field. Even a short paragraph of 100 words can have a powerful impact on your reputation. Encourage clients to recommend you; keeping in mind that a great way to get someone to recommend you, is to recommend them first. The positive energy they get from you may lead to them writing an even better recommendation for you.
LinkedIn is just one of many marketing resources available that can help you and your company. With so many digital resources, it can be difficult to discern and decipher which of them will help you the most. Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and download this free eBook written by our marketing experts.