An Insider Look At: LinkedIn
The clue is in the name with ‘LinkedIn’. It’s a way of connecting and keeping ‘linked’ with the professionals of the working world. It’s the quieter cousin of the larger social media sites and maybe this is due to the professional nature of its users. LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, and well-used platform for brands, recruiters and those seeking work.
LinkedIn seems to have grown in popularity over recent years - it’s actually been around since 2002. It now has over 500 million users, in comparison with Facebook which has over 1.86 billion. Nevertheless, it is the largest professional network online.
You’re probably baffled at how many different types of social media there are, but they all have different features and uses. We’re here, once more, to talk you through the need-to-know features and how to successfully implement LinkedIn into your social media strategy.
As is the general rule of thumb, the more citations you have linking back to your website, the better. So, using LinkedIn, along with other social media platforms, to create these backlinks, can really benefit your SEO. There are various other tips and tricks to using LinkedIn; some of which you’ll find throughout this article.
What is a profile?
If you’ve been following our ‘An Insider Look At’ series, you’ll probably be well accustomed to the definition of a profile now. If you haven’t been, then this is the page that displays information all about you (or your business)!
Your personal profile content should be vastly different to the content you post on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; LinkedIn is a professional network, rather than strictly a social one. It’s essentially a database for skills and talents – think of it like an online CV.
There are various aspects to your profile:
• Profile picture –
This should be a sensible picture of your face. Not your cat. Not the mountain you hiked during your gap year. Just a simple photo where you’re looking into the camera pleasantly. You may even wish to invest in getting a professional image taken. Remember, you can keep it professional whilst showing your personality. You don’t have to be in a three-piece suit, you just need to look pleasant and approachable.
With regards to your business profile, the best option here is to use your company logo; something that will allow your audience to recognise you and build your brand awareness.
• Headline/About us –
Your headline is situated at the top of your personal profile, underneath your profile picture, and it allows you 120 characters to describe what you do to your potential new employers. While lots of users just state their job title, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this space and choose a well-written, expressive paragraph that makes you stand out to employers.
The ‘About Us’ section of your business profile is situated underneath your company logo at the top of your profile. This is an area that allows you, in 400 of characters, to describe your business, its key areas, products you may sell or services that you may offer.
Just like on your personal profile, it’s really a space to sell your business and make viewers see why it’s so special. LinkedIn will score your ‘profile strength’ out of 100% and the higher your score, the more likely your profile is to appear in search results. To try and ensure the highest possible rating, LinkedIn recommend that you include certain information in your profile:
• Post code
• Your current position and description
• Two previous positions
• At least five skills
• A profile picture
• A summary
• Volunteer experience
• Work portfolio
• A minimum of 50 connections.
Underneath the ‘about us’ area, is the ‘company details’ section. This is where you can add information such as your website address, the company’s size and where the headquarters are held.
Getting connected with 50 people may seem daunting, but once you get into the flow of making connections, they should begin to snowball. Why not start with some simple searches for people that you know in person and invite them to ‘connect’? You can even send a message with your connection request, which is great if for example you’re reaching out to someone you haven’t seen since school, or just to make the request more personal.
When you’ve made some connections, LinkedIn’s algorithms make it even easier to make more, by providing you with “people you may know”. This page will make suggestions depending on your existing connections. You can filter through these people and choose to connect with them depending on whether you know them or would like to form a professional connection.
You can also search your email address contacts via LinkedIn for connections.
LinkedIn provides ‘Groups’ for those who work in the same industry or have the same interests, to share content and ideas. You can find groups that you may like to be a part of by searching relevant keywords in the search bar and selecting ‘Groups’. You may also get some good group suggestions from LinkedIn’s algorithm.
LinkedIn groups are fantastic places to build thought-leadership, your network and find useful information that you may otherwise miss.
Although having a personal LinkedIn account is good for your business, as you can connect with other professionals whilst representing your brand, it’s a good idea to have a company page for your business too. As mentioned above, this is just like your personal page, but it focuses on your business as a whole. Those who choose to follow company pages will keep up to date with the business’ updates.
LinkedIn has become an excellent tool for both recruiters and job seekers. For recruiters, it’s a way to advertise vacancies to specifically targeted audiences. For job seekers, it’s a great way to express themselves o those looking to recruit. It’s a win-win, really.
While recruiters use keywords to search for the right candidates, it’s recommended that job seekers do not use ‘buzzwords’. The words ‘Specialized, Leadership, Passionate, Strategic, Experienced, Focused, Expert, Certified, Creative and Excellent’ are some of 2017’s buzzwords to avoid. Every year LinkedIn conducts research into the most-used keywords and they have been found to be so repetitive that they’ve been rendered less effective.
LinkedIn gives job seekers the opportunity to add different skills to their skillset and get them ‘endorsed’ by others who hold the same skills. Likewise, employers can search for candidates that hold the right skillset that they need.
It’s common to start a new job at the bottom of the ladder and start wondering what it would take to reach the top. Or you may have an ideal company that you’d work for in your wildest dreams. LinkedIn allows you to follow the companies you’re interested in and potentially make connections with those that work there. It also allows you to follow their updates and see when they’re recruiting new members of staff. It’s always good to have a little inspiration to motivate you to work hard!
See who’s viewed your profile
This feature will undoubtedly make you think twice about who’s profile you’re viewing! It’s a great networking feature though, as someone may have checked out your profile who you’d like to connect with and this could be a good excuse to make the move. With the free LinkedIn version, you can see up to 5 people who have viewed your profile. However, if you have a Premium account, the number is unlimited.
To use this feature, you’ll need to ensure your audience can view your name and headline in the security settings in your profile. In the free version, you’ll also be able to see viewer insights after you have 5 or more viewers over 90 days, such as where your viewers work/live, where they found you and their industry/job title.
LinkedIn allows you to create targeted campaigns to promote your posts to specific audiences. You can choose your budget and decide on whether to use clicks or impressions. The advertising formats available are sponsored content, in-mail and text ads.
You can also choose to use dynamic ads where you’re partnered with a LinkedIn team to create ads for premium audiences.
Create your own LinkedIn group
There are many benefits to creating your own LinkedIn group. You could create it based on a topic relevant to your business which should establish you as a thought-leader in your industry, providing members with relevant topics of conversation and insider information. You could also email the members of your group via a ‘LinkedIn Announcement’ which can help to generate leads.
You can publish and promote your latest articles to your LinkedIn page and use it to promote redirection to your actual blog. As mentioned previously, this is a great way to generate backlinks to your website.
Monitor your marketing
LinkedIn’s analytics feature is a fantastic tool for tracking and evaluating the performance of your profile or page. It gives you data about how far your page’s updates reached, and how your audience engaged with them. It also provides information about where your followers came from, and compares your data to that of similar companies.
As with many things nowadays, you don’t get much for free. LinkedIn offer a Premium service whereby you get more features to help recruiters and job seekers alike.
There are four different types of Premium LinkedIn accounts that you can have. These are Career, Business, Sales and Hiring. Each of them have different specialized features, and the account you go for will depend entirely on your intentions.
• Career account
The Premium Career account starts from as little as £24.98 per month. With this account, you can contact recruiters or job posters directly with 2 InMail credits. You can see an unlimited number of profile views over the last 90 days and also see how your profile was found. You’ll move to the top of the recruiters’ applicant lists and you’ll see how you compare to other candidates. You’ll have access to online video courses where you can learn technical and creative skills from professionals. You’ll also be able to see the salary details of positions posted without having to share your personal data.
• Business account
The Premium Business account starts at £39.99 and allows you to contact those on LinkedIn even if you’re not connected with up to 15 InMail messages. It allows you again, to see who’s viewed your profile and how they came across you. It gives you ‘deep insights’ into growth and functional trends of a company, and you can view unlimited profiles. You also get access to fantastic online video courses, as above.
• Sales account
The Premium Sales account starts at £49.99 and gives you up to 20 InMail messages. You can see all the people that have viewed your profile in the last 90 days, get sales insights into your accounts like job changes and company growth and view unlimited profiles. You can also use the advanced search with lead builder to zone in on decision makers and generate leads. You’ll also get lead recommendations and can save any leads you have.
• Hiring account
The Premium Hiring account starts at £79.99 per month and this gives you 30 InMail messages, meaning you can contact anyone, and also use templates to save you time. You can see who viewed your profile in the last 90 days and conduct advanced searches, where you can find the best candidates for the job. You’ll be able to view as many profiles as you need and LinkedIn’s ‘smart suggestions’ can be very helpful when trying to find the right candidates. You’ll be able to use automatic candidate tracking with Projects and have one singular place where you manage your hiring. The design of this account is also specifically enhanced for recruitment.
With all of these Premium accounts, you’ll be able to get a month’s free trial to see if it will be beneficial to you.
LinkedIn, if utilized correctly, can be a fantastic tool for both businesses and job seekers alike. The free version has many useful features and benefits. You should do all that LinkedIn recommends, most of which are mentioned in this article, to increase your profile strength and visibility. LinkedIn is useful whether you’re a person or wanting a page for your business. You can join or create groups for likeminded business people and follow other companies for inspiration/updates. You can advertise, publish articles and all whilst creating more citations back to your website to help your SEO.