In a world where a single tweet can become breaking news, social media influences us all. Whether you enthusiastically engage on every new platform or choose to eschew social media engagement, there’s no denying how much it has changed the ways we live and work.
LinkedIn might seem like one more social network on its surface, on par with Facebook and Instagram, but with a professional tilt. While the map of LinkedIn might resemble other social media, the terrain couldn’t be more different.
If you’re interested in how to improve your LinkedIn profile, the first step is to check if your methods fit the medium. For some, learning how to build a LinkedIn presence begins with unlearning some other social media behaviors. Your LinkedIn profile can either speak to people or at them. Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t treat a networking event as a captive audience for jokes and rants, you shouldn’t approach LinkedIn with the objectiveless customs of other social media.
For others, the opposite is true, and a revamped, more effective LinkedIn strategy begins by embracing the more social aspects of the platform. Treating your LinkedIn profile as little more than a virtual resume is akin to leaving a pile of business cards on the table instead of attending the hypothetical networking event above.
Entrepreneurs and leaders, in particular, can benefit from adopting a LinkedIn growth strategy so they can build more meaningful connections while sharing their expertise and building their brand.
1. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile, and Don’t Forget the Summary
No matter how impressive and storied your career, you have finite time to catch others’ attention on LinkedIn. The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the platform each month—to gain and hold their attention, you must give them a compelling reason.
Whether you’re learning how to create a presence on LinkedIn for the first time, creating a new LinkedIn company profile, or want to overhaul a stale profile, you’ll need to commit the necessary time and attention to the task. By thoughtfully completing each section of your profile, you’ll paint an interesting and comprehensive picture of who you are, what you do, and why others should connect with you:
- Who you are: Include the name you use professionally, an accurate and interesting title, and a professional photo taken fewer than four years ago.
- What you do: Your education and experience should supply a detailed (though not exhaustive) account of your career journey—where you started and where you’ve been.
- Why others should connect with you: Contrary to what many believe, the most valuable information on your LinkedIn profile isn’t what you have done but what you will do next. This is why it’s so crucial to include an authentic and accurate summary. Your summary should be a first-person narrative told in your (or your brand’s) natural voice to give visitors a glimpse into who you are, what you value, and why they should want to connect with you.
2. Engage Regularly to Increase Your LinkedIn Presence
Every day on LinkedIn, leaders and other entrepreneurs in your industry are shaping conversations about their (and your) work. Regularly engaging with others and their content will help develop your professional presence so you can influence and shape conversations in the future while building worthwhile and authentic connections.
Engagement on LinkedIn is about more than “liking” posts. A “like” sends a signal to an algorithm but offers minimal value or insight. What are you signaling with your like? A “like” on its own is a five-star rating with no review—appreciated but not particularly useful. On the other hand, when you comment on, share, and link others to content, you add your voice to the conversation while providing substantive feedback to its creator and expanding its reach.
Creating and posting your own original content while meaningfully engaging with others will organically grow your network, but the operative word is “meaningfully.” Residual habits from other platforms can make it easy for some to cross the line from “engaging” to “spamming” when not careful.
Engaging: thoughtfully interacting with others’ content, raising up ideas you believe are worthy of elevation, adding your unique perspective and expertise through insightful, original content.
Spamming: tagging distant connections into entry-level content every day, “liking” content without reading it, leaving trivial comments signaling your agreement (or disagreement) without adding to the conversation.
3. Give Without Expectations, Receive With Gratitude
As is true everywhere, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in.
Networking, whether online or in-person, is a mutually beneficial endeavor. If you don’t nurture your network, you can’t expect to benefit from their support. Many people don’t think about building and growing their network in good times. Only once they see the writing on the wall at their current jobs do they realize they’re under networked and, after being absent from the community, show up asking for help.
Whether you’re using LinkedIn for business or your own career, it’s best to serve your communities whenever you can simply because you can. When you give without expectation, you’ll often find yourself pleasantly surprised by the benefits and will have a robust network to turn to should you need them.
LinkedIn’s more than 55 million companies and 740 million individual members span 200 countries and regions across the globe, making it possible to build meaningful connections no matter where you are in the world. As the first licensed partner of Intero Advisory using their “It’s Business, Not Social” methodology, I help leaders and entrepreneurs hone their LinkedIn strategy to attract and connect with the business community organically and authentically.
If you’d like to learn more about working with a business coach and developing a LinkedIn strategy to achieve your goals, let’s have a conversation. Contact Ken Kilday to schedule a 15-minute consultation to get started.