LinkedIn: Not so stuffy after all!

LinkedIn is for boring people, right?

While everyone is social distancing, it’s a good time to grow and update your social media presence and awareness. There are so many social media platforms out there, each trying to carve out its own distinct identity in the digital marketplace.  This meme aptly characterizes four of them, including LinkedIn.

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My late husband, a financial compliance expert, had a LinkedIn account, as did pretty much all of his Wall Street colleagues. That contributed to my perception of it as a networking tool for suit-and-tie corporate types.

Well, what does it do?

LinkedIn allows professionals to build carefully sculpted exposure for their personal brand within the networking site. That exposure carries over across the internet as a whole thanks to indexing and search engines. Users can provide enough information in their LinkedIn profile to optimize search engine visibility.

Basic profiles include an individual’s industry, location, current job description, past positions, education, and skills. Web activity such as liking and commenting on content can increase views of a user’s profile, can publishing LinkedIn blog articles. Involvement in LinkedIn groups also promotes a profile.  As with other social media platforms, audience engagement is key to success.

I have seen multiple articles recommending profiles be written in first person. Utilization of thoughtfully chosen keywords and listing of relevant skills are also factors I found suggested for success. “According to a 2016 LinkedIn study, users who display five or more skills are messaged 31 times more and viewed 17 times more than those who do not! So as meaningless as Endorsements seem, they do attract more eyeballs to your page.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/03/07/7-linkedin-tips-to-build-your-personal-brand/#11ca08440584).

Profile pictures … Proceed with caution

It is widely recommended users have a good profile picture and showcase achievements “without buzzwords”. A profile photo is a chance to remind people that there is a living, breathing human being behind your online persona. Statistics show that LinkedIn members with a photo receive far more engagement: 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests”. (https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/blog/best-practices–linkedin-profile/2018/picture-perfect–make-a-great-first-impression-with-your-linkedi). A photo must be chosen wisely. This is not a good photo for a LinkedIn account:

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And neither is this:

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The LinkedIn website enables users to add video to their profiles. Users can do so for personal accounts or for business accounts. Companies frequently use brand logos in lieu of a profile picture.

What can LinkedIn do for your content?

LinkedIn has become an important platform for distributing content. 94% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn as a content distribution channel. This delicious graphic effectively illustrates how LinkedIn meets different needs of its users:

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On LinkedIn, you can post content linking back to your site or product.  Businesses can use LinkedIn ads as a means to target key publics and maximize visibility. A business can also post content intended to further brand awareness. LinkedIn advertising supports brand awareness, website visits, engagement, video views, lead generation, site conversions, and job applications.

Within its broad reach, LinkedIn has its audience expecting business-related content, making it an ideal site for posting company information. Compared to Facebook and Twitter, it’s the number one most popular advertising channel for B2B marketers, as illustrated by this graph:

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(https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/linkedin-ads-examples).

It can strengthen a user’s LinkedIn presence if he or she belongs to professional groups in the site. LinkedIn’s capabilities have been expanding so fast there are actually outside consultants you can hire to help you develop your profile and determine the best way to achieve your objectives on LinkedIn.

.What I learned about LinkedIn 

I am not a corporate person. But I have learned that LinkedIn is well-suited for personal branding, which is of great interest to me these days. Having recently launched an ambitious multi-topic blog and website, I am taking measures to actively manage my online image and unique characteristic to position myself as best I can to promote it.  LinkedIn has evolved from being just a digital venue for job hunters into a social network which allows users a chance to create a personal brand.  As described in a 2019 Wall Street Journal article, a personal brand is a “a public-facing persona, exhibited on LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks, that showcases expertise and fosters new connections.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-social-media-guide-for-introverts-11565575740).

When LinkedIn started, people who tried to connect with someone were asked to select how they knew that person. The site encouraged connections between people who’d already worked together, studied together, done business together, etc. In recent years that procedure ended. Users are allowed to connect with up to 30,000 people. This change means LinkedIn is now far more of a proactive networking site, or anything from looking for a new job, a lateral career move, generate new sales or client leads, promote an organization … or even develop connections to promote a new blog!

LinkedIn is not a good social media site for everyone. But if some networking might benefit you at all, it is worth checking out.

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