5 ways to get the most out of LinkedIn

At the latest CIM London Professional Marketer event, James Potter, aka the LinkedIn Man, provided some useful tips around how to maximise your use of LinkedIn. Here are some of the key insights from his talk.

  1. Don’t treat LinkedIn like Facebook

First and foremost, James was quick to point out that LinkedIn is NOT the same as Facebook or Twitter. Indeed, whilst the likes of Facebook can be classified as social media, LinkedIn should be viewed as more of a social network, allowing you to expand your business connections through the groups and individuals to whom you are already connected. Given that the old “six degrees of separation” adage has now been shown to be closer to 3.5 (see Facebook’s research on the subject, for instance), your connections (and your connections’ connections) may prove even more valuable.

In light of the different focuses, don’t just copy and paste Facebook posts or tweets directly for use on LinkedIn; instead curate content specifically for LinkedIn and consider carefully its purpose.

2. Invest time in getting your profile right

When setting up or reviewing your LinkedIn profile, having a photo is essential. In fact, James explained that your profile is 21 times less likely to be viewed if you don’t have one. As well as a photo, recommendations should be an integral part of your profile — after all, would you hire someone without references?

When it comes to actually writing about yourself and your experience, use your normal tone of voice so that you can get your personality and style across as much as possible. Using your clients’ language and words can also be beneficial in terms of being found by the right people. Don’t upload your CV; your LinkedIn profile should be slightly different, and focus more on the value you provide to clients.

3. Avoid small mistakes that could cost you credibility

James highlighted some amusing — but surprisingly common — spelling errors that have cropped up on LinkedIn. For example, there are over 10,000 “mangers” listed on the network, together with 58 “acountants”.

Spend time proofreading and editing your profile, as well as any updates or other content you post, to make sure it reads well and is error-free. As well as maintaining your credibility, this may help you rank more highly in search results, given that Google keyword indexes every word of your LinkedIn profile.

4. Only connect with people you actually know

James advised thinking carefully about who you connect with on LinkedIn. Only connect with those people you know, like and trust — can you pick up the phone to ask them for a favour? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t connect with them.

With endorsements becoming increasingly important, ensuring you are well acquainted with all of your connections is even more important. James highlighted that it is not unheard of for recruiters to call someone who has endorsed you on LinkedIn to find out more, so make sure you are comfortable with that possibility. And finally, remember that your phone number and email are visible to your first-degree connections, so avoid connecting with anyone you do not want to share this information with.

5. Use your personal profile to build business relationships

Despite the huge number of company pages and groups on LinkedIn, people ultimately used LinkedIn to connect and network with people, argued James. He also added that only 10% of your first-degree connections will follow your company on LinkedIn. Indeed, they are generally more interested in what you have to say, as an individual.

Leverage this by focusing on your second-degree connections primarily. Look for people in the right demographic, and ask your mutual connection for an introduction. Join groups where your clients are, rather than just other people like you. Comment on relevant posts, rather than just liking them, and engage in discussions in your field of expertise.

To conclude, James posed the simple but helpful question, if you only met your online profile, would you call you? Definitely something worth bearing in mind when reviewing your LinkedIn profile and presence!