In the not-so-distant past, networking usually meant attending a conference or a seminar. It involved getting out there, nametag attached, and physically meeting people. Now you can network effectively online at a time that suits you, and your online profile can be on the job, 24 hours a day.
The rapid rise of LinkedIn has seen an immense range of users begin to network globally for mutual rewards. Aside from helping you to attract new business, LinkedIn has networking groups that can help you to stay on top of current trends in your field.
Using LinkedIn in can be a valuable promotional tool for soloists. When building your profile, use this checklist to help you get the most out of LinkedIn’s marketing potential:
1. Sound interesting
Create an individual and company profile that engages readers. If your profile is run-of-the-mill, people will leave. If it’s too long and overly self promotional, it can be off-putting. Keep your profiles clear and concise – you want people to spend at least one or two minutes reading what you have to say.
2. Highlight your expertise
Think of your profile as an online resume with a current photo and detailed history of your skills and experience. Fill out all available sections to get the most out of what’s available. If you don’t sell your skills, then who will?
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3. Combine your online activity with offline activity
Don’t let LinkedIn replace all of your networking activities. There will always be a place for face-to-face meetings. Familiarise yourself with some of the networking groups on LinkedIn. You might find some valuable groups by checking the profiles of some of your contacts. Join related groups and contribute to discussions. Initiate communication with other contacts through phone calls and emails. You can also use LinkedIn as a way to stay connected to people you meet offline – when you meet new contacts consider connecting with them on LinkedIn.
4. Ask for recommendations
Testimonials are one of the best marketing tools available and LinkedIn makes it easy for you to add them. Do be selective about which contacts you ask – their personal brands can become a reflection of yours. If you offer a range of services or the types of clients you service are diverse, aim to include a range of testimonials that reflect the scope of your expertise.
5. Outsource the copywriting
Unless you are a writer, consider outsourcing this. When you do something everyday (day in day out) it can be hard to make it sound interesting. A good writer will be able to make your expertise worth hearing about, and create interesting and concise content that makes readers want to know more.
What are your tips for harnessing LinkedIn’s marketing potential? Has using LinkedIn been a good marketing tool for you?
“ Aside from helping you to attract new business, LinkedIn has networking groups that can help you to stay on top of current trends in your field. ”