Looking for a magic formula to be more successful on LinkedIn? The fact is you need to create your own strategy for success on LinkedIn. The magic formula is understanding marketing, creating a system for developing trusting relationships, putting time in and having an understanding for the tools and opportunities LinkedIn offers.
Your success strategy must be part of an overall personal marketing plan and system. LinkedIn can and must be an integral component in a personal marketing effort. To be successful users must have a plan for leveraging what LinkedIn provides. Using social media including LinkedIn cannot be set on “auto pilot.” Just creating a profile and posting occasionally will only bring modest success.
These are three steps on the road to becoming a power LinkedIn user:
Plan – Create a personal marketing plan and include LinkedIn as a vehicle for building your reputation, connecting with the right people, enhancing relationships and making it easy for those you want to do business with find you. A marketing plan that includes LinkedIn requires that the user spends time on the site, becomes familiar with each section and creates a strategy for using each part of LinkedIn. This step is broad but before you ride a bike or drive a car you have to know how it works and how it will get you from Point A to Point B. Your plan, like any marketing plan should have goals and objectives. Certainly business secured and funds generated are great goals, but there are many objectives you will have to achieve first. Set realistic and achievable goals, track when objectives are reached and what the results of activities were. Create questions and milestones that will help you judge success.
Don’t be a bystander – According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, the average LinkedIn account/user checks in and uses the site for about 17 minutes per month. To be a power user you have to commit more time. You must be active, seen and remembered. This requires daily activity, attention and focus. At first it may take more effort, but over time you will find the activities, groups and interactions that will yield the greatest results. In marketing, strategies need to change. If an approach or tactic does not work, after time change it. For example, when using status updates the key is to generate a response and create a buzz. If your activities are not attracting attention look at the content of your posts, and compare them to the responses others are getting. Don’t be afraid to change or implement several different approaches at the same time.
Spend time but don’t waste time – The goal of marketing is to develop a system that allows for growth and the development of relationships and business. Focus on those activities that work, to prevent the wasting of energy. Create a schedule and time budget. A schedule is what you will do each week and the time budget is how much time you will spend. Do not exceed the amount of time you have allocated and don’t do less. Monitor and track this time and refer back to records to see if you are keeping with your goals. Time is money and must be spent in an efficient way.
Your profile, title and image- Much has been written on this and I will start briefly with your photo, it must be professional and clear. No image means fewer connections and only 1 in 7 will even look at your profile. Also stay away from logos, caricatures, and other images. These are frowned upon by users on LinkedIn and they don’t present you in a professional manner. What your profile and title says about you is key, and will make the difference between people getting to know you or moving on to someone else. Let’s start with your title. Here is an example of a big mistake, having President, CEO or account manager listed as your title. No one searches for president, CEO or account manager. If they do they will find thousands of people from all different sectors in no particular order. Be more specific with your title based on your industry and what you do. My title is Public Relations, Personal Branding and Social Media Consultant. I do list president of my firm but at the end not the beginning.
Your profile text must be optimized the same way. Include what you do, where you do it (geographic market) right at the beginning. Make sure those different terms that describe what you do and your industry appear often. To be the most effective and to connect with prospects your profile should be written in the first person, (I am the leading PR professional on Long Island…), should include some history, experience, accomplishments, success and some personal information about what you like to do when away from work. How much you share is up to you. However, we have found that in many cases this personal information is as important if not more important than business background and information. Why? This type of information allows you to offer and find common interests with others. This information helps people understand who you are, what you’re interested in and offers a great way to start conversations that have nothing to do with business. These easy conversations allow for relationships to start, grow and put you in a position to eventually do business with the other individuals. Text that only talks about company services, products or benefits thereof is an instant turn off and limits the effectiveness of your post. Your profile is where your personal brand will shine, take advantage of this opportunity.
About Bill Corbett Jr.
This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @wjcorbett.