LinkedIn is really cool. I have been learning a lot about this professional networking database as of late, and have been really surprised by the system and its uses. I was toying with the idea of leveraging the information and connectivity on the site for the purpose of gaining new business leads. As I progressed in my research, I realized that the platform may not necessarily support that goal the way I imagined it. However, I did learn how you can leverage its capabilities in several other ways.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003, by Reid Hoffman, Allen Blue, Konstantin Guericke, Eric Ly, and Jean-Luc Vaillant. The goal was to be the leading job and career networking site online, making the process of connection faster and easier. According to a November 2003 press release, “LinkedIn not only enables professionals to discover inside connections they never knew they had, but also allows them to receive referrals to deal makers, hiring managers and other highly sought-after executives through the people they already know and trust.” The site is a trusted source to be able to review potential new talent or to recruit talent, as well.
According to LinkedIn’s Press Center, as of February 9, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network, with more than 150 million members in over 200 countries and territories. It has offices in 20 countries, over 2,000 full-time employees, and boasts that “its corporate hiring solutions are used by 82 of the Fortune 100 companies.”
So how can having a LinkedIn profile help me, as a PPC marketer, to run my business? During my research I came across a web presentation by Kevin Knebl, who travels the world lecturing on social media. He specializes in LinkedIn and its ability to help you grow your personal brand. Kevin provided some great LinkedIn optimization tips that can be added in a just a few minutes. I’d like to share some of these with you.
Use a professional image/headshot for your profile. This is your opportunity to show yourself in the most impressive light. I would avoid that shot of you on vacation in Cabo, or that college snapshot at your sorority party. A professional head shot will capture your personality and project a message of intelligence and personality. Your prospective new partners will be seeing this, so your first impression makes a difference.
Use ALL 120 characters in your Headline. For an advertiser, your LinkedIn profile is your online business card, but with the capability to be so much more. The headline in your account is the first message that your audience will see, and is an opportunity to create interest and grab attention. Knebl suggests that you list your past positions and major skills in the headline in order to attract surfers that are searching for specific skills. This can help you with your networking, and prospecting. Check out my headline below:
As you can see, I’ve listed all of the positions and skills that I’ve performed recently. I want to be sure to use strong keywords in my headline, as LinkedIn has a powerful search option (which I’ll talk about in a separate post) that can bring more visitors to my page.
Do Request Recommendations. This is a great service that LinkedIn provides that allows you to receive testimonials from members of your network. Even online, word of mouth is just as powerful as a face to face exchange. Recommendations can be highly influential to your visitors, and make you an option before others. Send out requests to your current co-workers, and reach out to former managers or supervisors.
We can write as impressive a profile as possible, but our visitors will still be skeptical. They will be looking for a second opinion. The recommendations section is one of the more heavily traversed areas in your account, so create the opportunity for you to solidify your first impression. I have 4 recommendations in my account currently, and will be sending out requests for more.
These are actionable tips that can make a real impact in your LinkedIn account. There are a whole lot more I’ll be exploring, so stay tuned. As any good salesperson will tell you, business is about building relationships. The platform allows you to find or follow individuals and companies so that you can build beneficial relationships. So, if you don’t even have a LinkedIn profile….don’t you think you should?