LinkedIn is a powerful tool for solopreneurs and freelancers and can help you find colleagues, collaborators, and potential customers.
But when it comes to harnessing the power of LinkedIn to grow your business, do you know where to start? Today we’re sharing our favorite LinkedIn marketing tips in this beginner’s guide.
We’ll give you some practical Linkedin tips on how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out. We’ll also share the key steps to use LinkedIn for businesses so you can grow your network, create more connections, and generate leads.
Why Should Freelancers and Entrepreneurs Use LinkedIn?
You shouldn’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn when you work by yourself! Here are some ways you can harness the platform to your advantage:
- Prove you’re legit (too legit to quit): Tell your story, showcase your success, build your brand, nurture a stellar reputation, and flaunt your expertise in front of a massive community.
- Feed SEO: You can make your page publicly visible, giving you a tremendous opportunity to nourish your SEO with fresh, valuable, keyword-rich content. Yup, this means distributing all that quality content you create on LinkedIn (Ahem, Edgar can help with that!).
- Build a hub for your connections: Whether it’s your clients helping you to build up your name through recommendations, or other fans of your work praising and tagging you in their status updates, all those good vibes tie back to your business. Give future fans, advocates, and leads a place to find you on the network. Add your personal website to your page, so the most qualified peeps can find out more.
LinkedIn Marketing Tips: How To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
To get started, you’ll need a LinkedIn profile that really turns heads. 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, 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:
Jane Crane 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.
How To Do LinkedIn Marketing: Connect With Purpose
Once you’ve nailed your profile, let’s move on to how to use LinkedIn for business marketing; it’s all about connecting!
On LinkedIn, the people are the power. LinkedIn is built on the back of the individuals that make up the network – and that means to succeed on LinkedIn, your company’s strategy must be inclusive of “the people.”
Think of it this way. If you go around hugging babies and helping old ladies cross the street, people are going to think, “Now, that kid is a good egg, from a good family.”
If you’re out there dropping knowledge bombs and lookin’ all smart and professional, it will reflect well. To create a successful LinkedIn strategy you need to build an army of advocates and thought leaders to become part of your network.
Here are the 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 payoff can be larger than with a person-by-person approach to finding potential clients.
Remember, when you connect with someone, they are more likely to accept your connection request if you send them a personal message. Tell them why you would be a beneficial connection for them. Whether it’s because you have a mutual connection or there’s a benefit you can provide to them; let them know about it!
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 a 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 tips for LinkedIn marketing 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 start posting on LinkedIn, it’s time to reach 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.
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).
Here are some other ideas for spreading the word about what you do via LinkedIn:
1. LinkedIn Groups
If you’re not taking advantage of the LinkedIn Groups feature, you could be majorly missing out.
Start your own Group, dedicated to your particular area of expertise, and join other established Groups. If you decide to start your own, commit to it. This means actively recruiting members and getting your team involved as Group managers and contributors. Getting involved with LinkedIn Groups can help your business immensely:
- Social listening: Leverage these community forums to learn. What unanswered questions, frustrations, and trending topics are popping up? (In fact, we get loads of blog post ideas from here!)
- Network: Thought leaders are no longer hanging at the 7-Eleven; they’ve grown up, and are now spending their downtime with their peers in Groups. (Though they might still grab a Slurpee to go.) If you’re looking for valuable mentors or simply a new connection, use Groups as a people discovery tool.
- Be the pro: Whether you own the Group or you’re a member, contribute and engage! It’s all about adding value – if you can do that on the regular, you’ll stand out (and drive business).
2. LinkedIn Pulse
Pulse, the LinkedIn content publishing platform, can unlock new and engaged audiences that you may not have access to on your blog.
However, you ABSOLUTELY need to think through your Pulse strategy and balance it with your owned blog strategy (the one on your website). You need to be careful not to neglect your own domain because you’re busy pumping visitors over to LinkedIn.
Think carefully about the type of content you want to publish on Pulse (remember that individuals are the motor that powers LinkedIn). You can even hire writers to help produce the content.
(Hint: You can also do it yourself, like our own founder does in articles like this one!)
Build your blog on your website, but use Pulse (and sites like Medium) as a secondary outlet. (Again, our founder publishes on Medium, too – different types of content can live on different outlets!)
Depending on your goals and audience, there are strategies to consider:
- Use your blog for major cornerstone content and use Pulse to publish pillar content or hard-hitting op-ed pieces that still drive back to your foundational content (don’t forget the backlinks).
- If publishing the same content from your blog on Pulse, publish the post on your own domain first. After Google indexes it (give it five days or so), post away on Pulse. Include a disclaimer crediting the original source of content (along with a link). Heads up, though: depending on the strength of your domain, the LinkedIn version could still pop up before your website in the search results – a play-it-safe alternative is to post an abstract or shorter version of your post on LinkedIn that links to the original on your own domain.
Keep The Conversations Going
LinkedIn is like an ongoing 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.
Don’t be put off by people who don’t respond. Remember people are busy. Do you reply to every inbox message on LinkedIn? Probably not. Don’t let rejection phase you and keep reaching out and making genuine connections that can benefit business for both parties.
Get Started With These LinkedIn Tips
Remember there’s no silver bullet for how to do LinkedIn marketing, so give these tips a try to learn what works for you.
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.
How is YOUR company using LinkedIn?
What LinkedIn strategies are you using?
What are your best LinkedIn tips for businesses?
Does your LinkedIn strategy include your team of rockstars?
What B2B (or B2C) companies are killin’ it on LinkedIn?
What LinkedIn products can’t you live without – and what tips or tricks of your own have been lifesavers?
Let us know in the comments below!