Everything you need to get you started.
If you’re new to LinkedIn, or haven’t ever found the time to harness it properly then don’t panic- you’re not alone, and it’s certainly never too late to start.
Although there are over 500 million professionals with a LinkedIn account, many of its users aren’t particularly active. They are easy to spot; look for profiles with fewer than 100 connections, missing profile photos, absence of work experience and lack of skills endorsements, groups joined and contact details. These are all giveaways that the user isn’t particularly active. But why is this important?
Profiles that look inactive tend to get skipped over pretty quickly, if they are even discovered in the first place. If you’re looking to communicate and engage via LinkedIn then an outdated profile doesn’t bode well towards getting you noticed and giving people confidence that you will engage actively with them.
Does this sound like you? If so, then read on as we’re going to show you some tips and tricks to make LinkedIn work harder for you.
Why use LinkedIn?
Chances are you’re reading this because something has triggered you to explore the opportunities that LinkedIn can offer.
It may be that you’re looking for staff, or you’ve been tasked with communicating company updates with customers. You may be looking to grow your business, or you could simply be trying to get a better understanding of your market.
There are many reasons to use LinkedIn but regardless of what you’re trying to get out of it, there are some important tips that remain the same. We’ll take you through these and help you to get some of the basics right.
Ways to interact on LinkedIn
You can interact on LinkedIn either as an individual or on behalf of a company.
The ability to represent your company when contributing to discussions or posting content means that you can take on a business persona that doesn’t conflict with your personal viewpoints.
Your personal profile should always be your own and, although some companies ask you to add a disclaimer that your viewpoints are solely yours, you have the right to post your personal opinions when interacting on behalf of yourself.
When interacting on behalf of your company however, you should follow the company’s social media policies and uphold the brand’s tone of voice.
With LinkedIn, in addition to posting content to your company and product pages, you can also join groups and contribute to discussions. This helps your brand achieve a wider reach and creates awareness with contacts that may not have heard of you before.
Facebook, in comparison, focusses more towards interacting as an individual. Whilst you can set up a company page, certain groups don’t allow business pages to join, meaning you can only contribute as an individual. This makes it harder to promote your company and increase brand visibility.
When you start out on LinkedIn you may only have a personal profile, but if you’re a business owner or in marketing then we strongly recommending building a company profile also. This can be a daunting thing in itself if you’ve never used LinkedIn, but don’t worry - we’ve got some help for you here.
How to build a great personal profile
Taking time to build a professional personal profile is important. The saying that ‘first impressions count’ still rings true today. If you browsed a range of profiles on LinkedIn it would be hard not to come to conclusions about them; it’s how we’re made, right?
So, it’s important to consider what first impressions you want to make when enhancing your profile. We suggest that you address the following as a minimum before you start any LinkedIn activity in earnest.
1. Make sure you have a professional profile photo (not, for example, taken on holiday eating an ice cream!)
2. Build your connections to over 200 before starting outreach activities
3. Complete your career history so it is up to date without any gaps where possible
4. Ask for recommendations from people you have worked with
5. Write a compelling ‘About’ section which is up to date and describes your passion and skillset
Read our easy article on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for more details. It won’t take long to get it ready for use, but it’s important to do this first.
Creating a business page on LinkedIn
When you’ve got your personal profile ready, you should create your business page, if you don’t already have one. When doing this, you’ll need to follow brand guidelines, making sure that your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your website, brochures and other collateral when it comes to imagery, tone and content.
If your company provides multiple products or services you can also create individual product pages if you want to create targeted content around each one.
Your business page is where you will post content, news and updates to try to build a following. Take a look at How to use LinkedIn to build your brand for further details on how to achieve this.
Where to start with your LinkedIn activity
We recommend that when you start out with LinkedIn, the first thing you do is to build your connections.
The more connections you have, the greater your visibility. This applies to both personal and company profiles.
For instance, when you post an update, it will appear in the feed of your connections and followers. Now for the clever bit; LinkedIn rewards content that is popular by pushing posts with more interactions higher up the feed. So, the more connections you have, the more feeds your content will appear in, making it more likely to gain popularity with likes/comments. This in turn pushes it higher up the feeds.
Building your connections therefore helps you to gain greater visibility. And here’s our first neat growth hacking trick:
You can automate connection requests for free, with high success rates.
How? By using Dux-Soup’s free LinkedIn automation tool. This is a great feature that means you can carry out a LinkedIn search, look up members of a group, or upload a list of contacts from your CRM system and send a personalized connection request to each one without having to manually do it.
Watch our video on how to send automatedLinkedIn Connection requests to find out how easy this is.
And here’s our second neat hack:
You can automate messages asking connections to follow your company page.
Using Dux-Soup, you can send automated personalized messages to all 1st degree connections asking them to follow your company page. Some of our clients have earned an easy 100% uplift in company followers by performing this one simple task. It gets great results from minimal effort.
Joining (and leaving) Groups
Once you’ve started building your connections, you can start to increase your organic (non-paid) reach further by joining groups.
Look for active and relevant groups with like-minded individuals, and conversations that you want to either learn from or contribute to. Some groups can be full of spammers, so don’t just join every group you can, choose ones that are well moderated to reduce spam and have active participants.
We recommend that when you first join a group, monitor the discussions for a couple of weeks and you can subsequently leave any groups that don’t offer relevant discussions. It’s better to be an active member of 3 groups than a non-active member of 10.
Another useful reason to join groups is to have access to a list of the group members. With Dux-Soup, you can download the members list and engage with them - whether this is sharing content, inviting them to connect or messaging them with special offers.
Which leads us onto our third neat growth hacking trick:
You can connect with members of groups even if you’re not a member
Sometimes you can’t get access to a group that you really want to engage with. Well, the good news is that you can, providing you have Sales Navigator. How to connect with group members without being a member yourself.
It’s worth it if you know your target market sits within a group you can’t gain access to.
Basics of LinkedIn Feeds
Once you’ve got your profile, business pages and groups up to speed you can start on some basic activity to gain some momentum.Here we explain some of the things you can do with LinkedIn and what technical terms mean.
When you are on your home page, LinkedIn will populate your feed with content from people you follow, plus add in some sponsored content. There is a science behind which posts appear at the top of your feed, based around how much engagement a post has had, and how well liked it is.
Therefore, when you create your own content the more engagement it gets, the more likely it is to be seen. Posting content to groups as well as on your personal feed and company feed increases the likelihood of it gaining visibility. Posting high quality content is also important to gain traction.
‘Paid for’ LinkedIn ads in your feed will contain the word ‘Promoted’ under the company name as you can see in the example below.There will often be a call to action e.g. ‘Sign Up’ or in this case ‘LearnMore’ for you to click on.
Like /Comment /Share /Send Options
You can like, comment, share and send another person’s content. Whilst you are helping them to promote their content, this can also be a good way for you to start gaining visibility as it draws you to the attention of the company you are interacting with.
Every time you interact with a post, the creator will receive a notification of this. Taking the time to comment, share or send someone else’s content is a huge compliment and can be considered as part of the ‘courting’ process.
It’s worth bearing in mind though, that you will generally only be interacting with the people that manage any business LinkedIn accounts. So, if you want to engage with a specific person then you could be better off following them personally and commenting on their personal post rather than their business posts.
When commenting on a post, this will be displayed underneath, making it visible to everyone that sees the post. This provides a good opportunity to demonstrate thoughts leadership and even share some relevant content about the topic that could point people to your website or blog. Be careful not to appear too ‘salesy’ though, and remember this comment will only appear to the audience of the content curator, which may not be a relevant target market of yours.
When you share a post however, it will add that content to your feed. You can also select only to share it with your connections, or group members by posting it to a group feed. Add a comment to this and it will offer your thoughts and visibility to a wider audience that includes your target market.
When you send a post, you can directly message someone on LinkedIn with the content, and also add your own message to this. This is great for your own company updates, to share them with specific prospects of clients and ensure they land in their inbox. When working on a customer communication strategy this is a powerful tool for account managers to have.
With all social media activity, it is often said that you should be generous in your interactions. In doing so, you are likely to receive more support in your own efforts. Have you noticed for example, that the posts that gain the most engagement often offer kindness and words of thanks or encouragement?
You’ll find that once you get going on LinkedIn you’ll use searches quite a lot. These allow you to find people that match certain criteria and often are a good way to start your outreach.
When you start a search, simply type something(e.g. Sales Director) in the search bar at the top of the home page. If you then click on ‘all filters’ on the results page, you can refine your search further.
Whittle your results down by criteria such as industry, company size, location and much more to make your results more highly targeted.
The word ‘Boolean’ may be alien to you but it can help make your searches even more accurate by adding variances of job titles etc. to make them more relevant.
Our blog article on Boolean Searches will help you to understand this more.
This leads into our fourth growth hacking trick:
You can tag your lists using Dux-Soup for easy targeting.
Imagine you build a really targeted list and then you want to run a multiple touch strategy to them (i.e. a series of actions that run in sequence). With tagging, you can easily find all contacts in a list and start automating an outreach sequence, saving a huge amount of your time.
Now, I know we may be getting ahead of ourselves here with automation, but in the first instance the ability to segment LinkedIn searches means we can easily find them when we are ready for our outreach activity.
In order to automate the tagging of profiles(where you run a LinkedIn search and then results are all tagged automatically)you’ll need Dux-Soup’s Professional version, but with the free version you can manually tag 100 profiles a day (this is fine if you have small lists but can become time consuming for larger lists).
Once your profiles have been tagged you can also use Boolean searches to find tagged profiles, allowing you to target multiple tags with the same campaign. Pretty neat eh?
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So far, we’ve shown you how to get started with LinkedIn and some of the cool things you may not have known that you can do with it to get you started.
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Good luck and Happy Dux-ing!