The 3 Parts of a Winning LinkedIn Presence
If anyone had any doubts about just how much Covid changed the way we work and connect, consider this — pre-pandemic (2019), LinkedIn had a user base of approximately 610 million professionals. Recent statistics put that community at closer to 740 million. That 130 million number is equivalent to the population of Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, São Paulo, and Mexico City combined.
So, if you’ve been wondering where the people went when we stopped networking in person. . . they’re on LinkedIn.
Let’s talk for a moment about who they are and what they’re doing. According to LinkedIn user data, they are business decision-makers (61 million), opinion leaders (17 million), and C-level executives (8.2 million). And they are looking for business leads (80%+), recruiting, connecting, and keeping their skills fresh.
In the ‘biz,’ we talk about “channel role and purpose.” For example, the role and purpose of Instagram is pet videos, natch. Facebook is for keeping the grandparents up on what the kiddos are doing. Pinterest exists to make people (let’s be honest — me) better at using the InstaPot and get better at making crafts with colorful paper. You get the point. Every social media channel has its highest and best use. For LinkedIn, that usefulness is two-fold. First, it’s considered the most credible source of content, of all the content marketing platforms, making it a must for anyone trying to establish credibility as a thought or industry leader. Second, it’s three times better at generating visitor-to-lead conversions than all other platforms.
The value is obvious. And if you’ve been ignoring your LinkedIn presence, it might be time to get things polished up and rolling again. To start, you’ll want to focus on three things: your profile, your network, and your content. Ready to dust off your professional persona? Let’s roll.
Polishing Your LinkedIn Profile
Raise your hand if you’re still passing out business cards or resumes. Me either. (I was at an actual, IRL networking event last week and nobody had business cards. I’m not sure I even know where mine are.) The fact of our new reality is that most people you meet or connect with these days will look at your personal profile first to get more information about you, so it better be a complete and quality representation of your personality and professionalism.
A complete profile also sends the message that you’re actively participating in the LinkedIn ecosystem, which tells people you’ll be a productive contact. Here are the main components of a great profile.
A personalized URL
Use the “Edit Public Profile & URL” prompt to get rid of the gobbildy-gook that is automatically added to your URL. Think about your name, title, and location as optimal additions to help you get found.
A great profile picture
It’s amazing how many people don’t bother with a headshot and banner backdrop. (Especially if you consider that profiles that include a photo are seven times more likely to be found.) It doesn’t have to be a super high-end professional headshot. Just use a high-quality image of yourself that represents your personality and looks like you.
A clear profile headline
Remember what we just said about business cards? This is your chance to replace yours. List your current employment and position for the one or more organizations you work with or support.
A complete profile summary
Think of your summary like a digital handshake. You have 2,000 characters (the equivalent of a few paragraphs) to tell people what you want them to know most about you professionally and personally. Write like you’re introducing yourself (“I am the vice president of brand for Dragon Army, a passionate community volunteer, a serial entrepreneur, wife, and mom.”) This is your chance to share your professional growth, career achievements and goals, and your personality — use it well!
A few other additions
LinkedIn recently added a feature allowing you to specify your preferred gender pronouns. For the company, it is a step to remain relevant and sensitive to its community. For you, it’s another way to let people know how to respect and refer to you however you want to be known.
Because we’re keeping this LinkedIn 101 to the most important points, we aren’t going to deep dive into the Experience, Rich Media, Education, and Volunteer sections. A couple of details to remember:
- The platform will automatically list them in order from most current to least, so be sure you enter the appropriate employment dates
- Use the platform to locate your company and link it in your Experience section (how that benefits your company is lesson two. . .stay tuned for that)
- People will skim this section so don’t add too many details, and keep the most details to your most current role
Building Your LinkedIn Network
Your LinkedIn network is made up of your contacts and interest groups. There are a number of ways you can build it up.
Import your email contacts (don’t worry, they can be sorted so you don’t confuse your grandpa with an invite to connect). Use the search function to find people and groups based on companies, locations, interests, and expertise. Think broadly about who you know. Explore connections with friends, colleagues, classmates, industry leaders, vendors, and other professionals.
Once you’ve got your base network, use it! Look at your colleagues’ networks for common contacts and don’t be shy about asking for introductions. If your profile is tidy and you’ve become a useful member of the community, feel confident in reaching out.
Participating on LinkedIn
Remember when we said that LinkedIn is the platform most used for building credibility through content? If you aren’t doing that, you’re going unnoticed. As of 2020, 97% of B2B marketers say they use LinkedIn as part of their content marketing efforts. That doesn’t mean they are all creating unique content, therein lies an opportunity for you to stand out. Of the 740 million (or so) LinkedIn users, only about three million share unique content weekly.
If you’re looking to establish a unique voice and reputation for insight, you’ve got a stadium audience. The best topics will be those that:
- You can speak and write about with high confidence
- Are interesting to you and to audiences that matter to you
- Offer a unique perspective or added depth to subject matter
Participation doesn’t have to be all heavy lifting. In addition to publishing, you also can share and comment on other people’s posts. No matter how you provide or interact with content, start with one question: “Is this useful and helpful?” If the answer is yes, fire away
In any interaction with content, remember to use @ to tag people and # to highlight keywords. Just like other social platforms, both of these tools are insanely helpful in making sure people see and engage with your posts. Don’t feel pressured to post or interact every day. Consistency outshines frequency. Aim for three or four times a week.
Are you ready to be a LinkedIn pro? That’s for you to know and 740 million people to find out. But you are definitely ready to up your game. Stay tuned for LinkedIn lesson part two: how the most successful companies in the world use the platform to gain 10x more brand exposure on the platform by engaging their employees.
Want a worksheet to help you fill in our fresh profile or to get your whole team all polished up and participatory? Connect with me on LinkedIn. In the message, let me know you read this post and how I can help you.
- 35 Insightful and Valuable Linkedin Statistics, Brandwatch
- 38 LinkedIn Statistics Marketers Should Know, Hootsuite
- Sophisticated Marketers Guide to LinkedIn 2020
- 36 Essential Social Media Statistics, SproutSocial
- 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, Content Marketing Institute