LinkedIn is a critical networking platform in today’s business environment; in a PolicyMic article last week, I gave you four strategies to use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile when you’re looking for a job. But today, let’s take a deeper dive on strategies and tactics that can help bring you closer to your goals of establishing yourself as a trusted expert in your field, developing a network of high-value contacts, and creating passive contacts (i.e. people reaching out to you about jobs, press opportunities, and more) as a result of viewing your profile.
1. Get the SEO right, but with a twist: LinkedIn is a big search engine. When people are searching for various profiles, they enter a keyword in. That keyword might be freelance writer, Ruby programmer, or Tulsa CPA. Whatever space you’re in, it’s important that you appear first. We talked about making sure that your keyword appears in all the high value real estate areas of your profile.
But another tactic is how you convey the information. Tell people what you do and how you help them – in other words, how you create value in key places, especially your headline. What I mean here is, the difference between a headline that says Freelance Writer – Business Writer and Freelance Writer/Business Writer Partners with Executives to Ghostwrite Books and Develop Business Plans. Both have SEO power but guess which one is more likely to be contacted?
2. Use your summary to convey your LKT [Like, Know, Trust] factor: Entrepreneur Craig Ballantine of Early to Rise talks about the LKT factor in doing business: we do business with those we like, know, and trust (he may not have actually coined the term, but I heard him use it recently). It’s important to convey that you’re a human being with passions, goals, and experience that ties into things people care about.
One of the best ways to express this is in your summary. It also helps to explain, concisely, what you do and how you help your customers. This helps people envision what you do in a very concrete way, which is important when your first introduction is digital.
If you’re an assistant, your summary might look something like this: “Entrepreneurship and technology geek, with a bachelor’s degree in English and strong writing skills, works as a personal assistant to business power brokers. I partner with top tier entrepreneurs to provide seamless support, anticipating needs before they arise, and accommodating the demands of a mobile entrepreneurial lifestyle.” If I needed a PA, I’d be emailing this person immediately.
3. Show your stuff – share your expertise: There are basically four places that you can communicate on LinkedIn. Update your status. E-mail your contacts. (These are kind of obvious).
Two of the most overlooked features of LinkedIn are the Questions & Answers section, and Groups. To display your expertise, you should be activating these four things.
Post interesting updates. Are you at a conference, reading a great book, working on a mind blowing project, etc.? Post from time to time. Share links to great material in your field. You should be reaching out occasionally to your contacts with updates, letting them know what you’re up to, what you’re looking for, and most importantly finding out how you can help them. Participate in Questions & Answers – and don’t just post answers. Make sure you ask questions – smart questions that show the depth to which you are engaging with and thinking about the materials in your field. Groups are also a great way to build more connections; share your blog posts and thought leadership in groups, as that can be a high value way to get maximum leverage on outreach.