November 8th, 2014
Putting Some Thinking Behind Your LinkedIn!
I was at a client meeting earlier this week and the topic of LinkedIn cropped up. I attend this meeting with the client’s advertising agency and was a little surprised to hear the words, ‘You won’t get any advantage from LinkedIn’, delivered to the client as supposedly sound ‘advice’. I’m pretty sure my right eyebrow probably lifted at that point, but took it with a pinch of salt as, in my experience, advertising people don’t tend to give any time to anything that’s going to prevent them from bringing in revenue and feathering their own nest. I guess that PR, being the poor relation, has always been used to advertising taking the lion’s share, while we advise the client on what’s in their best interest. That’s why I shall continue to bang the LinkedIn drum.
The trouble is, of course, that LinkedIn has been largely viewed as a social media site that you only use when you want a job, or one that recruiters use to find new talent. I guess, that if you view it as a just a site on which to post your CV, that’s what you’re going to get out of it. The secret is to plunge its depths and do more than that.
Firstly, let’s look at the numbers. It has over 300 million members – that’s huge. Two-thirds of those are now outside of America – with Britain playing a bit part in this, as some other countries have their own versions that they prefer e.g. Xing in Germany, which I was actually dragged in to by virtue of being a Business Club member at the Frankfurt Book Fair. LinkedIn’s target is 3 billion members. Wow!
What people tend to forget is that LinkedIn profiles – if set up correctly – rank very high up Google searches. On this basis, you need to watch how you handle your profile. Your profile picture is key to this. Don’t leave that space blank. Photos build trust. Your profile is 7x more likely to be clicked o if you have a photo of yourself on there. For the same reason, don’t have a profile picture that makes you look as if you’re ready for a night on the town. This is your personal branding on a worldwide scale, so it needs to be professional, not playboy!
You can now brand your profile page with a background, so try to make it something that will assist perceptions of you and what you stand for. I have a background that focuses on my 23 awards (just the Catapult ones, as I don’t have access to all the others won for previous employers!). It’s subliminal and visual communication to back up what you say about yourself. It’s your chance to link your organisation to you on the first part of your profile. Use it!
Please don’t post a selfie, or a poor quality pic that’s dimly lit or fuzzy. Your photo can be up to 4mg in size, so you can post a really decent, crisp pic on there.
Get rid of all the meaningless numbers in your LinkedIn profile – easy to do, if you know how. You just want your name in there, not a string of numerical nonsense!
Then, make the most of your quick description. Mine says Lancashire PR agency, but explains that I work for people everywhere. It encapsulates the essence of me. That’s what you should be communicating, not just for you, but for your business, charity, club. Every employees’ profiles can help make a brand and should be on-brand when it comes to the words used and perceptions communicated.
Then, the next tip that I’ll give for free is to get your LinkedIn profile page professionally written. Given the impact that it can have in google searches, you need to get both your short description (next to your pic) and your profile, to work really hard for you, using all your keywords and word allocation. That’s why Catapult offers a professional LinkedIn profile writing service, because many people waste their word count and don’t put the key phrases that they could use into their profile. Maximise the potential!
Obvious tips – don’t spell things wrongly, use poor grammar or make yourself look like an idiot. You’d be surprised how many supposed ‘education experts’ I discover who spell things wrongly in their tweets and even on their Twitter headers! You will just make yourself a laughing stock if you do this, or confine your circle to those who are as equally bad at spelling, so get stuck in a vicious circle based on poor quality and the generation of negative impressions. Who wants to be marooned in that little pond?
Don’t make your professional look overly professional without reflecting you personality and try to make yourself stand out through the words with which you describe yourself. Millions of people will be using the same staid approach – differentiate yourself and position yourself as someone with whom people should really wish to do business.
All of this advice will assist not just you, but your company too – if you are clever with your profile. If you are not clever, it will look like a CV.
Now our LinkedIn service goes way beyond this, but I’m not going to give it all away here. What I will say is that (totally forgetting recruitment purposes) you should take a serious look at LinkedIn if you are:
- A business wishing to forge links with other businesses.
- A charity seeking possible financial supporters.
- A sales person wishing to target particular types of business.
- A sales person wishing to target particular ‘roles’ within businesses.
- A school, charity or similar organisation looking for Governors, members etc
- A private school wanting to find out who might be interested in sending their child to your establishment.
- An organisation or individual seeking non-executive directors.
- Someone seeking financial backing for an idea or invention.
- An event or club seeking sponsorship.
- An organisation wishing to promote a strong message to the right people.
Of course, the latter is the very ethos of PR, so place your LinkedIn needs in the right PR hands and you will soon find how useful this social media platform can be for you (with all the extra bits as well, which I’m not revealing here). There’s a reason why shares in LinkedIn are rising in value while those of other social media sites are in decline. If you’re not using it correctly, you need to!
Catapult PR’s LinkedIn profile writing service is highly affordable and well worth using – wherever you are based and whatever you do. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take this up. If you would like to link with me, find me at uk.linkedin.com/in/janekhunt