- Although it is still a great tool for job seeking, LinkedIn has since become a tool that business professionals now use to help each other out.
- Your LinkedIn profile should include a summary of how you help people and organizations. Rather than talking about yourself and your qualifications, you need to present yourself as someone who can deliver results.
- Use LinkedIn to develop a human connection rather than just building your contact list. Once you’ve developed an element of trust, help people get to know you by becoming engaged.
By Karen Kimerer
What is LinkedIn and what makes it different from other platforms? When it comes to developing a sales strategy, LinkedIn is a superior platform because it has done a great job of remaining professional, clean, credible, and reliable. Although other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are also great tools for business development, they tend to intersect more with users’ personal lives (family and friends, entertainment).
Through the years, LinkedIn has remained truly focused on business professionals. Even those who try to make LinkedIn more of a personal/family platform are quickly course-corrected by their peers. LinkedIn is designed to help share content and engage others in business conversations. As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, business connections are just as important as they have always been, if not more so. Over the several months, we have been isolated from one another in more ways than we could have imagined. In the past, in-person trade shows were a great way to learn about the latest and greatest technologies and keep a finger on the pulse of the industry. Perhaps most importantly, they were a great vehicle for networking and staying connected with other like-minded individuals. Although we all hope to return to a world where live trade shows are possible, everyone knows that they simply aren’t an option right now. For the time being, platforms like LinkedIn can business professionals stay connected in the face of uncertainty.
A Brief History
When LinkedIn first established itself as a platform back in 2003, many people viewed it as a job hunting/career advancement site. People who were looking for jobs put their resumes up for perusal, and businesses who were seeking employees also visited the site to search for candidates. LinkedIn made it easier for business professionals to reach one another if their needs were aligned. It became very well-known as a site for promoting and seeking job talent. Although this was the site’s original intent, it has since evolved into much more.
Although it is still a great tool for job seeking, LinkedIn has since become a tool that business professionals now use to help each other out. It basically provides a platform for individuals and businesses to become thought leaders. In addition to sharing employment opportunities, they’re also able to share content that enables business conversations and generates better business results.
Developing a Good LinkedIn Profile
The way that your profile is presented on LinkedIn is extremely important. If you think about why people are looking at your LinkedIn profile, they’re really not looking at your job history. They really don’t care about where you’ve worked over the past few years…the people that look at your profile want to know that you’ve helped others out as well as how you’ve done that. As a result, there are several areas of your profile that need to be addressed. First off, a photo is veryimportant. Based on its research and algorithms, LinkedIn has determined that profiles with a photo get 21 times more views than those without a photo! The whole point of a LinkedIn platform is to see the person and know them as much as possible.
Your LinkedIn profile should also include a summary of how you help people and organizations. Rather than talking about yourself and your qualifications, you need to present yourself as someone who can deliver results to clients. A simple trick for doing this without overpromoting yourself is to remove as many pronouns as possible from your profile descriptor. Shift the focus away from “I” and “me” and turn it to the customer—what can the customer gain from your expertise? Focusing on how your capabilities can benefit the client helps demonstrate how you and your business can align with that customer’s areas of need. Be sure that your profile reflects everything that you would want a prospect or potential business partner to know about you.
Establishing the right connections is also of paramount importance. Although some people believe that more is better, the real value of your LinkedIn profile lies in your ability to leverage the people you do know to establish mutually beneficial relationships. Before you connect with others or allow them to connect with you, try to determine what they are seeking. Is there something you can help them with or something they might be able to help you with? If so, it’s worth connecting even if you don’t know them personally.
Along these same lines, it’s also important not to reach out to new connections too soon. Resist the temptation to schedule a demo or meeting with someone who doesn’t know who you are. If you don’t take the time to establish a relationship, any attempts at connecting with seem disingenuous. Take the time to engage with your connections by sharing/commenting on their posts and learning about that they need. If you’re sending out a connection request, one good strategy is letting the person know why you want to connect with them. Develop a human connection rather than just building your contact list to develop an element of trust, then help people get to know you by becoming engaged. After all, engagement is what people are really ultimately seeking on LinkedIn! A good presence can also expose you to others who might not already be in your network, so develop a cadence and become an active participant.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn now has over 675 million users, and about 61 million of these are senior-level influencers or decision-makers. Make sure that your comments and posts are communicating information that you’d want these decision-makers to hear, because this will help set you and your business apart from the competition. Particularly during these pandemic times, establishing and maintaining professional connections is more important than it ever has been. Leverage LinkedIn the way it is intended—as a tool that showcases how you can help others to drive engagement and foster trust.
Karen Kimerer of Keypoint Intelligence has experienced the many challenges of expanding current market opportunities and securing new business. She has developed a systematic approach to these opportunities, addressing the unique requirements of becoming a leader in our changing industry. She is well-versed in 1:1 marketing, web-to-print, direct mail, book publishing, supply chain management, data segmentation, channel integration, and photo products.