"Sure, I don't know when I last looked at my LinkedIn profile"
"I don't have time to be on LinkedIn every day!"
Comments I hear so often from many professionals be they accountants, solicitors, business owners or chairpersons of a business association.
LinkedIn is often seen as unnecessary, cumbersome and mistaken as being the same as other social media platforms where the potential for trolling and other unsavoury activity scares many away.
However, for many professionals it is a very useful marketing tool and is often a critical element of many organisations' marketing and communications strategies. But for those of you who feel you cannot devote a huge amount of time, or who just don't know where to start, here are some genuinely easy tips to improve your profile and your presence.
1. Who are you? What do you do?
Ensure your title is clear as to what you do. How many of you simply have something along the lines of Joe Bloggs, Partner?
Grab attention by clearly stating: Joe Bloggs | Food & Beverage | Partner | JB & Company.
My own title does what is says on the tin (as it were):
Proven Marketing & Communications Consultant | Professional Services | B2B | Founder grantmarketing.ie.
Note the use of keywords which will help you to be found in searches.
2. Get a professional photo – please!!!
You must have a photo that portrays you as professional and approachable not stern and strangled by your tie. Your photo from your Facebook page from last year's summer holiday just won't do!
3. Contact details
Include your work email and website URL in the contact details. I have seen this blank in so many profiles. Make it as easy as possible for potential clients or referrers to get in touch.
4. Use keywords in your Summary
Your Summary should be clear and state succinctly exactly what you do whilst making sure to include your keywords. Think of it as your 30 second pitch! Keywords will help to ensure you are found in searches and will remind your audience of your areas of expertise.
Our friend Joe might begin to describe how he;
"Leads the Food and Beverage team at JB & Company advising Irish companies exporting to Europe and Asia."
He could then give an overview of the type of services offered rather than simply stating;
"I am a Partner in JB & Company, a firm of chartered accountants".
Take a look at my profile to see an example of using keywords in the Summary section!
Before you meet someone new have a look at their profile and their company page. What do they look like? What's new with their company? Do you have mutual acquaintances? Do you know any of their team? All useful openers to start a conversation with and to be informed and ready to offer the potential client the advice they need.
6. Sharing is caring
Share and comment on news articles which relate to a sector or subject matter you specialise in. Celebrate a client's successes by liking and sharing material – the client will be happy you're showing them support and your network will see you're advising those who make positive headlines!
7. Be a follower
Follow Groups and Companies which are relevant to your target market – this allows you to maintain your knowledge on topics or sectors of relevance but also gives you access to free material on your news feed which you can simply like, share and comment on. First page to follow is your own firm/organisation's page! Also, consider your college/university alumni group which offers you access to previous acquaintances perhaps now in influential positions.
8. Connect with relevant people
Be selective as to who you connect with. You might have interest in meeting that lawyer you spoke with at this morning's breakfast seminar or perhaps the business owner who spoke at an event you were at recently – remind them where you met and perhaps ask them for a coffee.
9. Be professional!
LinkedIn is a professional platform. It's not for photos of the first day back at school nor does it give you an opportunity to rant. Keep your commentary professional, accurate and courtesy at all times! You are an ambassador for your brand at all times.
The majority of us don't have a huge amount of time to devote to LinkedIn. However, by doing some initial house-keeping and simply logging in a couple of times a week you can really make the platform work for you.
Contact Grant Marketing & Communications to help you with your LinkedIn presence.