How often do you hear someone say, “I have 500 connections on LinkedIn – what am I supposed to do with them?” – An all-important question for those looking to leverage LinkedIn as a business marketing tool. While the value of connections is often unclear, as LinkedIn continues to cement its position as a content marketing platform, now is the time to cull through one’s connections, clean up the profile and ensure your LinkedIn profile is performing as a strong ambassador for your brand.
Recent reports from LinkedIn reveal content is outperforming job updates – to the tune of six times greater – when it comes to user engagement. Furthermore, visually-compelling content is out-performing plain text updates, reaffirming LinkedIn place in your content marketing toolkit. Not surprising considering 75% of the neurons in our brains process visual information.
When polishing your LinkedIn profile, evaluate how the content, messaging and photos support both the company’s brand as well as your personal brand. Simply put, it’s just as much about what you do as it is about who you are. People do business with…people. Relationships matter and LinkedIn is a great place to start building them, be it with prospective clients or lead generators.
Getting started: headline news
The headline of a LinkedIn profile isn’t simply the place to restate your title and company name. It’s an opportunity to craft a geo-targeted, keyword-rich statement that gives a snapshot of who you are and what you do. Case and point: award-winning New England photojournalist; strategic IT professional specializing in financial data security; Westchester’s top-producing commercial real estate broker 5-years running; you get the idea.
Summaries that sell
A well-written first-person summary can help to build relationships with prospective clients and catch the eyes of lead generators. Focus on key career accomplishments, awards and accolades, and, most importantly, what makes you the right person for people to do business with. Strategically incorporate meaningful keywords for optimal ROI.
Join the right groups
Where you network on LinkedIn has a significant impact on the quality of leads generated. While LinkedIn will let you join up to 50 groups, be selective, be strategic and be present. Choose a handful of active groups where you can add value to the conversations and build meaningful relationships with other participants. While groups are a great way to showcase thought leadership and industry expertise, it is important to remember that, just as you aren’t looking to be on the receiving end of a direct sales pitch when you are looking for tips and advice, neither are the other group participants. To that end, know when to take the conversation offline and have a follow-up conversation.
Develop a content calendar
Just as you would plan out your e-mail marketing for the month, an effective LinkedIn strategy is built on a solid plan. Pulling together an editorial calendar for your LinkedIn profile can both ensure a consistent flow of updates and diversity of content. It also prevents drowning your connections with a flood of updates when time permits and going dark – and, in turn, dropping off of their radars – when hectic weeks strike. When pulling together your content calendar, evaluate your business activities for the upcoming month (e.g. speaking engagements, company events, conferences you are attending, professional milestones, etc.) and determine which are best suited to be shared via LinkedIn. If you are also populating a LinkedIn company profile with content, consider how best to differentiation the content to avoid verbatim duplication. In all likelihood, the audience for your company profile and your connections differ, as does the ‘what’s in it for me’ that will motivate them to digest and engage with your content.
When leveraged strategically, LinkedIn can add value to your content marketing and b2b marketing programs. The next time you author a whitepaper or deliver a presentation, take a moment to evaluate how this content could be used to enhance your LinkedIn presence, be it for your company or your personal brand.