LinkedIn for Leaders –  from competent to pro

June 2017

To be a leader in today’s digitally enabled world, LinkedIn is your biggest advocate and most sociable side-kick. As the world’s largest professional network, with over 500+ million users globally, LinkedIn is a platform that’s helped cement many profiles and businesses.

From business tycoon Richard Branson and celebrated CEO Jack Welch, to media mogul Arianna Huffington – they’re all using LinkedIn to share and showcase what they know. Each boasts millions of connections and they post multiple times a day.

Why?

Learn how to get the most out of the platform and optimise your own LinkedIn profile page. This advice piece will provide specific and actionable guidance and hacks for time poor leaders.

1. Increase connections – the Magic 1,000

Increasing your connections on LinkedIn adds credibility and legitimacy to your LinkedIn profile. The more connections you have the higher number of engagements your content could receive, meaning it will be shown higher on the News Feed.

You will need to be brave and open up your privacy settings. Allow others to see when you have viewed their profile and receive that information in return. You don’t have to accept every LinkedIn invitation that comes your way. However, the benefits of this extra data far outweighs the extra sales emails you might receive.

lINKDIN PROFILE

When connecting with someone you don’t know, be sure to include a short but personalised note requesting the connection.

Tip: Don’t say – I saw you checked out my profile. Better to refer to someone you know in common or a past company you both worked at.

2. Stay connected and relevant 

You may ask, what is the point of connecting with someone you barely know? You don’t have time to build a relationship with all of these people anyway. The reason is that one day you may need these people, or someone that they are connected to on a 2nd or 3rd degree. LinkedIn is an effective sales tool, by forming new relationships and nurture and maintain existing ones.

Keeping in contact with your new network doesn’t have to be time consuming. If you see an interesting article: copy it, share it and in the text space write, “Thought you might find this article useful”. Including the ‘@’ symbol and the person’s name is a quick way to stay in touch. It can even be as simple as liking their content.

lINKDIN post

3. Showcase thought leadership

Use LinkedIn to write regular, helpful short and longer pieces of content. This is different to just posting a timely comment, which doesn’t carry the same longevity or weight. To start, click the ‘Write an article’ button.

lINKDIN start post

As a minimum, include a landscape image that encapsulates your thoughts and approximately 500 words of copy. Aim to publish on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, as there is more traffic to LinkedIn on these days than other days of the week, typically around lunchtime since people will look at this whilst they are having their lunch and will earn the most engagements. Your most recent publication will be featured on your profile page, alongside any articles you have liked, share a quick post to let your connections know you have just published an article.

 lINKDIN articles

4. Maximise your exposure

If you have a company page on LinkedIn, use their new feature, Content Suggestions to find out what your audience is looking and searching for in regards to content. 

A tip to increase the viewers of your article is to use articles when sharing content and once the article is completed create a short post letting your connections and followers know you have released some new content.

5. Get more speaking gigs

If this is relevant to your personal objectives, add #Speaker and #Author into your profile description. If you have any video footage of recent conferences where you have presented, it is a great idea to add this too. Consider editing this down to a bitesize ‘highlights’ series for maximum viewing and recall.

Establishing yourself as a commentator and voice in your field carries significant kudos. Featuring this type of content within your profile goes along way to asserting you as a highly credible expert.

Remember that people enjoy watching video content as well as reading articles. Check out the latest TED Talks for further inspiration if you’re looking for a fresh approach, or simply need some tips on how to engage a large, new or niche audience.

6. Ensure you can be seen

Recently I worked with a billionaire, who wanted to share his influence across a political topic. Whilst he had been a hugely successful player in his industry, outside of that no one had ever heard of him. When it came to influencing politicians and influencing people, he struggled. We set to work building his LinkedIn profile.

Was a picture necessary? He asked. Absolutely yes. No matter what sort of leader you are, you must think carefully about your profile shot. This is not the platform for a quirky expression or a holiday spot in the background.

Don’t forget to optimise your profile to include key services or phrases that you want to get found for. Search engines love associating your name to phrases that appear time and time again. For example, my profile is heavily peppered with terms such as Digital Marketing, Digital Media, Digital Consultant, Digital Agency.

7. Stand out from your peers

There are a handful of easy wins that can be actioned to polish your profile. Firstly, update your public profile settings with your name. This makes it much easier to share with professional contacts.

lINKDIN edit URL

Add a header image to your profile, by clicking Profile >> Edit Profile in LinkedIn’s top navigation. LinkedIn specifies that your photo must be a JPG, PNG, or GIF file under 8MG in size and should have a resolution of 1400 x 425 pixels.

Rearrange your skills and endorsements based on what you want to emphasise. This is particularly useful if you wear a number of different hats!

lINKDIN Skills

If you don’t have enough skills or endorsements as yet, they can be built up quickly. Make sure you have enabled this feature in your settings.

lINKDIN EDit Skills

8. Establish trust through transparency

Research shows that today’s buyers are so savvy that they are 70% through their decision-making process before they even contact a seller. You can almost guarantee they will have checked you out online: be that your company, product or you, the leader.

LinkedIn is the platform that gives leaders a public, yet professional face. It gives you a history, connections and a home to voice your point of view. The tools, used well, build trust. In turn trust helps open doors and increase demand.

One quick tool is to add a button to the bottom of any new sales email, saying ‘View my profile on LinkedIn’. By directing new contacts to you public profile you are confidently showing them you have nothing to hide.

lINKDIN badge profile

9. Save money on recruitment fees 

LinkedIn has long been associated with networking and career progression; hence it is a natural fit for recruitment, job posting and receiving initial enquiries. Prepare a detailed job spec and post this in order to attract potential candidates, without incurring hefty recruiter fees.

Be sure to have sufficient information on your profile, detailing what the company / brand does. An extensive profile and information is more likely to attract a targeted and high calibre of candidates.

The added benefit of using LinkedIn to promote job openings is that it asserts the perception of business growth. Many people will want to work for like-minded and ambitious individuals, as part of a company that is thriving.