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Professional Services Marketing Blog
LinkedIn’s 187 million users make it the most popular social network for professionals. And it’s only growing! Every single second two new members sign up. You can’t afford to ignore it.
While LinkedIn has many benefits, I will focus on LinkedIn’s power as a platform to create Visible ExpertsSM for your firm. (To learn how to use LinkedIn as part of your firm’s marketing strategy, download our free LinkedIn Guide for Professional Services Executives.)
To make the most of LinkedIn, you need to two things — a great company page and Visible ExpertsSM. Visible Experts are professionals within your firm who have developed a strong reputation among your target audience as experts on a particular issue. These two components are linked. Since your LinkedIn company page automatically features your firm’s employees, it all works together – either for or against your brand. We created this series of blogs to help you ensure that you use LinkedIn for the benefit of your firm.
This post will focus on how to use LinkedIn to create Visible ExpertsSM online. Read about LinkedIn Company Pages in my previous blog post.
7 Tools to Be a Visible ExpertSM on LinkedIn
1. Your profile
Start with your profile. Next to the company bio on your firm’s website, your LinkedIn profile is the most important presence you have online. People you meet at networking events, prospective clients and partners can and do look you up on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to always include a professional photo. Many people still refuse to have a photo on LinkedIn. That’s a problem. You are on LinkedIn to be seen and recognized! If you want to be a Visible ExpertSM, you might as well be visible.
It is important that your profile is up-to-date, complete and incorporates SEO keywords relevant to your area of expertise. LinkedIn has a little bar on your profile page that tells you how complete your profile is.
This tool, however, won’t help you find and use the right keywords. That part is up to you. You’ll want to add appropriate keywords to your headline and summary.
2. LinkedIn Groups
The group function can be a serious networking tool. You can start your own and be a member of existing groups. There are more than one million groups to choose from. How do you pick groups? Begin by searching for groups by keywords. Also, it’s a good idea to look at your clients’ profiles and see what groups they belong to. You want to be where your target clients are! Pick and choose. A good guideline is to join groups that are not too small, but not too huge. A small group (less than 250 members) is likely a waste of time. A large group (100,000 members and more) can be difficult to stand out in.
There is one feature that many people overlook. LinkedIn lets you access any group’s statistics. You don’t even have to be a member of the group!
Not only does it tell you how active the members are, you can also see their locations, seniority, functions, and industry. That way you can really make an educated decision and pick the groups that match your goals.
You can also start your own group. It only takes a few clicks. But building and maintaining a LinkedIn group is not as easy as it sounds. Read our guide to find out what it takes to create and lead a successful group.
3. Use Updates
Update your status frequently and consistently. But remember, this is not Facebook. Make sure information you share is meaningful and useful to your connections. Valuable content, valuable content, valuable content. We never get tired of reminding our readers how important it is to share valuable content — ideally a mix of your own content and interesting, relevant articles you’ve found elsewhere.
Use images in your status updates. Next time you are browsing through your LinkedIn homepage, notice that updates with pictures stand out!
Want another way to stand out? Ask a question or run a poll. Your update doesn’t have to be a monologue.
4. Get recommended
Recommendations are a great way to gain credibility. They look like a million bucks on your profile. But you have to ask for them. Chances are, people are not sitting around wondering if they should recommend you on LinkedIn.
5. Get endorsed
This is a new LinkedIn feature. Your profile has a section, where you can list your specific skills. Endorsements let people recommend you for these skills. They can also endorse you for skills that you haven’t listed. Endorsing people is quick and easy. It’s much easier than writing recommendations, so people are more likely to use it.
LinkedIn has a section where you can post a question and provide an answer to a question that someone else posted. This is perfect for Visible ExpertsSM in the making. You can really showcase your expertise and thought leadership in the subject area. It can be time consuming, but it’s a great tool to share your insights. If you decide to use this tool, make the most of it. Provide detailed and specific answers. People can then rate the quality of answers and pick the “Best Answer.” If you are honored with a “Best Answer” award, don’t be shy to brag about it. Click “Share this” under the question.
You can also ask questions to spark conversation. The questions don’t last forever, but here’s a trick! You can actually re-open your question for 7 more days. All you have to do is click on the “My Q&A” tab within Answers, pick the question you want to bring back and voila!
Don’t underestimate Events. (Hint: they are hiding under the More tab). This is a great tool to turn online networking into a face-to-face interaction. Post and attend events in your own area and a city that you are travelling to.
With so many features and tools LinkedIn might sounds like a chore at first. But the truth is, it’s easy to use and it’s valuable! People are excited for a reason. It’s a great tool for all levels of professionals. Don’t be overwhelmed. And, if you are, do read Hinge’s free LinkedIn Guide for Professional Services Executives.