According to LinkedIn statistics, as of June 2013, this most powerful professional social media platform had 225 million users in more than 200 countries. In the US alone there were over 74 million. And if you are not on LinkedIn yet, you need to stop fussing with your Facebook and Twitter, and begin populating your LinkedIn profile.
I know of well too many business owners, non-profit managers and young entrepreneurs who declare how useless LinkedIn is and complain about all the “marketing B.S.” around it. Don’t follow these naysayers!
I’ve been using LinkedIn since 2004, and can’t stop wondering how people can’t appreciate this amazing business tool! LinkedIn helps me to find new leads, customers, funders and business partners every single day. And all you have to do is to optimize your profile, grow your base, be present and actively seek new leads by using various search options.
And if you are not there, you are not there for them. Are you ready to try it and see for yourself how powerful LinkedIn can be? Then follow these three simple steps.
Step 1 – Optimize Your Profile Summary
Let’s try an experiment. Go to your LinkedIn search box and type in the keywords that you identify with your industry sector or customer base that you’re seeking to attract.
Remember, today thousands of employers, business development managers and non-profit leaders use LinkedIn to find talented employees, grow their business, and find donors or sponsors.
For example, if you’re like me, and interested in international business development or fundraising, go ahead and type these words into the search area. You may want to also indicate the geographic area of your interest.
Are you done?
Now, let’s look at the results. If your name did not show up on the first page, this means that you are losing customers every single day. People don’t know that you have an amazing business product or service! You are losing revenues, and giving away business to your competition.
If you type in “international business” or “fundraising” and indicate the Greater Washington DC area, can you find my profile?
How do you make sure that your profile is optimized for your industry keywords?
Look at your profile and see of you have clear headline indicating your areas of expertise. My profile looks as follows:
International Business Expert | Fundraiser | Published Author | Global Business Connector
Think about your areas, and develop your very own trademarks, like Experienced Student Counselor or International Development Specialist.
Don’t forget to add your latest professional picture to your profile – this makes you a person, not a name, and people want to do business with people!
Step 2 – Use Specific Keywords Throughout Your Profile
Here comes the magic trick. Make sure that you follow me step by step.
In order to show up on the first page of your specific industry search, you will need to insert that keyword in each section of your Profile. So if it is “international development,” then make sure that you are adding this keyword right away, in every relevant position that you’ve held.
Are you done?
Now save it and see what happens! After I did it with my profile, I consistently began showing up on the top-5 spots of the search page. And I hope you will have the same results soon.
Step 3 – Build a Strong Following by Using Your Activity Box
If you are on Facebook, then you know perfectly what the status box is for. Usually people share their state of being for their Facebook friends.
On LinkedIn it is pretty similar but with one caveat – you need to try to be helpful to your contacts by placing links to useful articles and events. You can also choose to connect your updates with Twitter and Facebook, gaining more visitors for your business, with just one click. Here you also have an option to post to your LinkedIn groups and individual contacts. This provides targeted outreach to your most important contacts on LinkedIn.
I’ll talk more about LinkedIn in future articles, but in the meantime, go ahead and test my advice. Look forward to your comments!