If you are launching a B2B business (business-to-business), or you want to promote yourself as an expert in something, LinkedIn is the place to be.
As with all marketing, LinkedIn marketing is about objectives. In order to decide how best to use it, you have to know why you are using it and what you are hoping to achieve.
Once just a glorified address book, it now has all sorts of useful functionality.
Here are my top three tips.
- Edit your professional headline
LinkedIn allows you to write a two-line ‘professional headline’ at the top of your profile. By default, it will show your latest job title and company name.
But a headline can account for 80-90% of success, and might be the only bit people read, so write it carefully.
- Express your unique personality and sense of humour e.g. “Sub-editor and proofreader with special responsibility for commas”
- Add your call to action e.g. “Currently looking to meet Brad Pitt. Can you help?”
- Include keywords to help your profile get found on a LinkedIn search e.g. “Expert plumber in Pimlico here to solve Pimlico Plumbing problems”
If one objective of your LinkedIn profile is to drive traffic to your website – and it should be – there is space to include your URL in the professional headline area. That’s because LinkedIn has hidden your web addresses under the index card icon and the default link “company website” or “personal website”. There is only a small chance that people who view your profile will bother to click there. (Bonus tip: you can change this anchor text to something more compelling when you choose “other” from the drop-down menu.)
All your LinkedIn contacts who have not unsubscribed from the weekly digest email (let’s face it, most people don’t because they don’t know how) will receive a message saying “[Your name] has changed his/her professional headline to…”
I’ve won business just by adding the word “copywriter” in mine. One of my contacts got in touch to say “Hey, I never knew you were a copywriter!” I never knew he was in marketing, because we’d originally met in another capacity (public speaking). He went on to pass me a lot of web copywriting work.
LinkedIn expert, Bert Verdonck, includes “happy chocoholic” in his professional headline. He told me that people send him chocolate just because of this.
Think of your professional headline more like a poster advert – a few words that will prompt people to read on and contact you. You have 120 characters to play with – go for it!
Do second level searches
At the top of every LinkedIn page is a dark grey search bar.
The default is set to search ‘all’, as you can see by the three-line ‘list’ icon on the left beside the drop-down arrow.
Click the word ‘advanced ‘on the right – this will open a new ‘people’ search window.
Ignore the third column with the gold icons. This feature is only available to (paid) premium users.
In the second column, tick the box marked ‘2nd connections’.
In the first column, type your desired search details. For example, keyword ‘copywriting’ within 10 miles of postcode ‘BR3 4HL’.
A list of your 2nd level connections will appear.
If you click the down pointing arrow beside the ‘connect’ button, you will see an option called ‘get introduced’. If you want, LinkedIn will walk you through the process of an online introduction. But I recommend an alternative approach.
Under each name will be a green link showing how many connections you both share.
Click the green link to see who they are.
Instead of using the impersonal LinkedIn interface, pick up the phone and contact one or more of your 1st level connections. Ask how well they know your target individual. Explain why you would like to connect with them. Perhaps they will be willing to introduce you? Or you could arrange a three-way Skype conference call or Google Hangout? Maybe you could all meet for coffee or lunch?
When a mutual connection arranges an introduction for you, it’s much more likely to be warmly received than a cold call. If nothing else, it’s a good chance to reconnect with a 1st level contact. And if it works out, remember to thank your introducer appropriately.
- Customise your URL and public profile
If you want to send the link to someone, you’ll find the default URL (web address) for your profile is not very catchy. Go to Profile > Edit Profile > Edit public profile to customise your URL i.e. change the random string of numbers to your own name, if available. You can also tick and untick the boxes on this page, to select which elements of your profile you want the public to see i.e. people not in your network. You will see a preview showing changes as you make them.