The longer we’ve spent using LinkedIn, the more we’ve learned. Over time, LinkedIn and its community have evolved, shedding light on some key strategies.
It’s taken a lot of trial and error, research, and testing to finally figure out the keys to LinkedIn.
If we had a chance to start over, we’d be able to implement these findings to more effectively use the platform.
Whether you are just starting out or seeking to improve your LinkedIn strategy, we have a few key tips that will help.
Here’s what we would do if we were starting over on LinkedIn.
Focus on Profile Basics
You often hear about how important it is to optimize your profile on LinkedIn. This definitely holds true, but most people spend far too long on the wrong profile attributes.
If we got a chance to start over on LinkedIn, we’d start with these three key aspects:
- Profile picture
- Profile banner
Forget about the rest. Well, not forever, but at least at first!
The focus when you first start out should be on your photo, banner, and headline. Why? These are the first things that anyone sees when your profile comes up. Essentially, these three factors encompass your first impression on LinkedIn. You could have the most amazing job experience or “About” section ever, but nobody will see it unless they go to your profile. What gets them to your profile? Your photo, banner, and headline.
Your profile photo should clearly show your face. It should be high-quality, and clean. Keep the background in the photo clear and simple, as the emphasis here is showing who you are. The good news is that you still don’t have to pay a ton for a professional headshot. Most modern smartphones can take great quality photos.
When it comes to the banner and headline, focus on why people should connect with you. How can you help them? Why are you someone interesting to connect with? That’s the message both of those sections need to transmit.
Send Out Targeted Connection Invites
Sending out invites is another common piece of advice for LinkedIn. Sending out invites is great, but only if they are targeted.
You don’t need to connect with anyone and everyone on LinkedIn, you must connect with relevant users. The best way to do this is to send targeted connection invites.
Doing so is not as difficult as you may think. Search for relevant keywords that apply to your target audience and the location you need. You will find many opportunities for relevant prospects. Once you make some connections, you can also explore their connections for new prospects, and so on.
When you send a connection invite, send a message with it. This is an added touch that can go a long way to get people who do not know you personally to accept a connection. The most effective messages should briefly explain why you want to connect. For example, if you’re in the same industry, mention this in your message.
Repeat the process of sending out targeted connection invites. Aim for 100 per day until you reach the connection invite limit. Continue this process daily to grow your audience with relevant connections.
Join Industry Events
Another way to bolster your connections is to attend industry events on LinkedIn. There are several benefits to this, but one of the biggest is access to more targeted connections.
Joining these events is simple. Search for events on LinkedIn in your industry by searching relevant keywords. Filter the results for “events” only. Join any relevant to your industry. When you join the event, you can access the list of attendees. This list is incredibly valuable to you! Send the attendees a connection request. Just like with other connection invites, include a brief personalized message about why to connect.
Ultimately, industry events are a great place to find relevant prospects on LinkedIn. You gain access to the entire attendee list for any event you join, and attending the same event gives you something to include in the message.
Follow-Up Connection Acceptances
To best leverage LinkedIn, you don’t just need connections, you need to build relationships. One simple way to start forming relationships with connections is to send a brief follow-up. Let’s say you followed the tips above to send a connection request with a message. The person accepts the connection request. Awesome! Now, follow up with a quick message
The follow-up message should be simple and targeted. Simply thank the person for connecting and mention something you found interesting about their profile. If you aren’t sure, then ask a question about your industry. Essentially, you want to include a basic message that can jump off a conversation. This is NOT a sales message. Don’t try to sell or pitch. The purpose is to foster long-term relationships, not pitch and burn.
Trying to sell before you’ve developed a relationship is a common mistake that turns your connections off, tuning them out to future content. A simple welcome message, on the other hand, is an excellent way to start a relationship and get your new connection to tune in to your profile.
Another change we’d make if starting over on LinkedIn is to start posting consistently and frequently right away. If you have nothing on your profile, your new connections won’t be very interested. Creating valuable content is not just a strategy for your website blog, it should also be a core component of your LinkedIn strategy as well.
Start posting three times per week, or more if you can. Try to post as often as possible, so that you make a habit of consistency. Furthermore, it will help you learn how to quickly create useful content.
Of course, content should be valuable and relevant to your niche and audience. Create articles, like those on your website blog, but post them directly on LinkedIn. These articles should be a variety of different resources, including checklists, how-tos, industry announcements, and more. But this is not the only type of content you should post. Consider infographics, quotes (with your own insight added), statistics, videos, and more.
Consistently creating content helps teach your new connections more about who you are. Content is like your online “business card.” People look at it to get a sense of who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart. You must become great at sharing helpful content on LinkedIn for this reason.
Implement These Strategies
Those are the steps we would take if we were starting over on LinkedIn. If you’re just starting out, then you can use these strategies right now to create an effective LinkedIn presence. Already have your LinkedIn account? Then audit it for the above. It’s not too late to revise your page and strategy with these helpful methods!
If you want any help with implementing this strategy and not having to spend so much time on it, check out our new service called LinCredible. We do the heavy lifting on LinkedIn for you, so you can focus on actually running your business.