If you’ve ever looked for a job or found yourself searching for networking opportunities online, you’ve probably heard of LinkedIn. It’s a powerful tool for solopreneurs and freelancers and can help you find colleagues, collaborators, and potential customers. But we often hear people say they don’t really know where to start when it comes to harnessing the power of LinkedIn to grow their business. So, today we’re sharing our favorite LinkedIn marketing tips in this beginner’s guide to getting started with LinkedIn.
We’ll give you some practical Linkedin marketing tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out and then we’ll share the key steps to connect effectively on LinkedIn so you can grow your network, create more connections, and generate leads that are a great fit for your key offers.
The first thing you’ll need to get started is a LinkedIn profile that really turns heads.
How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
When LinkedIn first came onto the social networking scene, many people (and even some businesses) had profiles that looked like Microsoft Word Resumes.
But when you’re a solopreneur or a freelancer, that’s not how you want your LinkedIn profile to look. Instead, you’ll want to be sure that your profile reads a bit more like a landing page or website home page, and a lot less like a standard-issue job application.
Here are some things to consider as you create your profile:
Your LinkedIn Photo
You can go with a traditional headshot but be sure it doesn’t look like a driver’s license. Opt for a casual, friendly professional photo that shows your personality and your professionalism.
Be mindful that you don’t have a ton of space. And make sure it’s a photo of just you, as cropping out a friend or partner can cause the photo to look strange.
The other major visual to consider on your profile is your banner. Apps like Canva allow you to create banners that are a perfect size for LinkedIn. While you can make your banner a simple, attractive visual, we’d recommend going one step further.
Make sure you include your best contact information (the one you really want people to use) right on the banner along with a single line about who you help and how.
So you might end up with something like,
Branding Photography For Realtors
Your LinkedIn Headline
While your headline can be longer, it’s best to keep things a bit more concise. Let people know who you help and how.
For example, like in the example below.
Adding keywords related to your business or offers can help the right people find you as well.
Your About Section
Unlike a traditional resume, your LinkedIn profile “About” section is a more approachable, landing-page-style introduction to who you are and how you help. Marketer Liz Willits shows her personality and expertise in her about page.
You can round out this section with your offers, talk about your experience and education, or even share some of the feedback you’ve heard from happy customers or clients.
Whatever you decide to put in your “About” section, make sure it tells readers (in an interesting or attention-grabbing way) how you help and why you’re the right person to help a potential client or customer solve their problem or meet their challenge.
Connect With Purpose
Once you’ve nailed your profile, let’s move on to some important LinkedIn Marketing tips all about connecting! There are a few types of people we’d recommend connecting with on LinkedIn:
The first set of connections you’ll want to create are with those in your field. These are quick and easy connections to make. These might be people in your role at other companies, people who do similar work in your niche, or people you know from your own networking efforts. Feel free to throw in friends and family in this group if you want to be professionally associated with them.
This initial connection set will give you access to greater potential connections in the long run because, like Facebook’s “People You May Know”, LinkedIn does a “Six Degrees of Separation” style view of who you might want to add as a “connection” on the platform.
This is how people come up as “2nd” or “3rd” level connections on LinkedIn, even if they’re not your direct “connection” of yours.
Finding connections in this group takes a bit more thought but generating leads is one of the best ways to use LinkedIn.
Consider looking at those 2nd and 3rd level connections from “Colleagues”
You may also want to join LinkedIn Groups where your ideal client might hang out or contribute.
The key here is to think from your client’s perspective and to expect your connections with this subset of people to be a long game. Over time you’ll connect with more people and your content (See the next section) will reach more of them.
The last group of people you should look to “connect with” are what some call “Client Connectors”.
These are people who are not necessarily your ideal client, but who may just be able to connect you to people who are.
In Jane the real estate photographer’s case above, she might look for home inspectors, real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, home insurance representatives, and even new home construction firms as her client connectors. Of course, they’re not realtors (her ideal client) but they will, no doubt, have access to her ideal client.
Just as connecting with your ideal client is not a one-and-done effort, finding client connectors will take some thought. But the pay off can be larger than with a person-by-person approach to finding potential clients.
LinkedIn Is Not Just A Numbers Game
So how many of these people should you connect with? That number is up to you. Our best advice is to reach out and add connections based on choosing the right people, not all the people.
Of course, you may want to have a connection number goal in mind but you also want to be sure the people you do consider connections, the people who will be hearing from you in one form or another, are going to like and resonate with what you have to say.
Consider working your way up to 500-600 connections if you really want a goal number. But do it with purpose if you want the best results possible.
Share Content On LinkedIn Consistently
Once you’ve begun to add colleagues, connectors, and potential clients, it’s time to share with them. One of our favorite LinkedIn marketing tips is to share content in a specific way. Sharing things on LinkedIn is part conversation, part content marketing. But both aspects are necessary to see results.
Set a reasonable goal for how often you’ll post or share content. Maybe that means three or four times a week.
But don’t let the thought of posting four times a week scare you. Just connect MeetEdgar to your LinkedIn account and schedule your posts that way. Sharing doesn’t have to look the same each time. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- An article that really made you think
- A checklist from a blogger in your field
- A blog you wrote
- An article you drafted
- A quick tip or thought that also for reader feedback
And don’t forget to add a call to action so your readers know what to do next (comment, message, like, or share)
That way you can see how people are engaging with what you post. This information can help you make marketing decisions as you learn even more about your clients.
Use LinkedIn To Reach Out
After you’ve gotten some content scheduled and posting on LinkedIn, it’s time to start reaching out.
This might mean sharing your perspective by commenting on something one of your connections has shared or sending a direct message to a potential client connector.
It may also mean taking advantage of LinkedIn’s group feature. Joining one of the groups where your colleagues hang out is a great first step. You can try out the LinkedIn experience and then join groups where your ideal clients (or client connectors) hangout as well.
When you decide to start sending direct messages, consider how you’d want someone to reach out to you. Direct message in a friendly, not sales-y tone. Strike up a conversation just as you would at an in-person networking event and get to know people for a few exchanges before offering a service or product explanation (if you do that at all).
Keep The Conversations Going
LinkedIn is like an on-going networking event where you’re in charge of the break out sessions. So, be who you are, make it easy for connections to understand what you do, and make it a no brainer to connect by sharing consistently.
Want To Get Started On LinkedIn?
If you can’t wait to try these LinkedIn marketing tips, check out the LinkedIn integration when you try a MeetEdgar free trial. That way you can schedule content and spend more time engaging in groups, commenting on posts, and creating new connections.