For a long time I was comforted by the sole fact that I had a LinkedIn page. I existed.
My work history was up-to-date, more or less, and I’d had a good few connections with former colleagues and strange recruiters who wouldn’t leave me alone…
But after beginning my own adventure into the world of small business, and hearing stories about being ‘headhunted’ on LinkedIn and how fantastic the platform is for lead generation… I started to question my strategy. It was time I upped my LinkedIn game.
After blocking out some time (and brewing up some strong coffee) I dug into the online resources for making the most out of LinkedIn, and started making some changes.
Amazingly, it wasn’t as dull as I once had thought. Yes, it is more formal than the other social platforms, but it is feature rich – and has developed a lot since I had initially set up my profile as an ‘online CV.’
Here are some of the discoveries and tweaks I made:
1. I saved my contacts
This is a nifty trick (that LinkedIn has teased us with in the past by removing it – so make the most of it while it’s here!) You can export your connections’ email addresses into a spreadsheet!
NO – this is not to be used for evil (aka. adding them to your company mailing list) but it can be used for:
- Peace of mind – if LinkedIn disappeared tomorrow, where would all your contacts go? Luckily you’ll still have their email addresses safely stored in your .CSV file.
- Staying organised – I like having a classic ‘little black book’ of my connections in spreadsheet form because it means I can keep organised tabs on who I need to get in touch with, who I need to thank, who’s getting a Christmas card…
2. I checked my Pulse
I was happily ignoring the Pulse, not fully understanding what it was… until I explored.
What I found was an excellent stream of content from all over LinkedIn, which I could sort by interest, and see what was most popular amongst my peers.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your own blog content, it’s a great place to study. The standard of the Top Posts is high – and reminds me to keep my bar raised high. If you’re thinking about contributing, here are some great tips to getting up there.
Not to mention the comment activity is wild on these posts (unlike some of the groups you might be a member of…) so if you’re looking for people to engage with – this is where it’s at.
3. I jazzed up my company page
As a freelancer and one-woman business owner, I used to cringe a bit when asked to add my ‘company’ or ‘organisation’ in forms. It would just feel a bit schizophrenic writing my own name in the box.
But LinkedIn allows you to set up a full company page – with a big profile picture and everything! As a visual person, this means a lot to me: it means that when people click on my company page, they find a professional business that cares enough to show up and look the part.
Sarah has also pointed out that it prevents LinkedIn from sending your potential customers to your competition!
4. I set reminders
‘Follow up’ – a piece of advice that gets drilled into our brains but somehow it gets lost amongst the to-do list items. I would find myself making great connections at various events, in lines for coffee, on train journeys… and once we had connected on LinkedIn? The conversation died.
An amazing little feature I recently discovered is setting reminders. Simply head to the profile of your connection, and on the ‘Relationship’ tab you’ll find an option to schedule a reminder. It could be ‘invite to coffee’ or whatever you like – but it could be the factor that makes or breaks your relationship.
5. I slid over
LinkedIn acquired Slideshare, an online presentation sharing platform, back in 2012 – and I’ll bet they’re still chuffed with that decision. As a designer, I do get a kick out of turning a disastrous Powerpoint into something that is easily digested, on brand and drives a message home for my clients.
Slideshare gave me another platform to use my design skills and create content (or repurpose golden oldie content) as online, shareable presentations. If you’re a visual learner, it’s a great place to quickly pick up valuable information, and get design inspiration from some of the best in the field.
6. I got skills
One of the most important areas of your LinkedIn profile is your Skills & Endorsements. It’s simple: you add the skills you have, and in time, your connections endorse you for them – if they think you have them that is!
It’s something that can be easy to forget: we learn new skills all the time, even if we have stayed in the same job. For me, my skills in marketing and small business consulting had developed since I had last updated my profile – so I swiftly made sure they were added!
It’s also nice to endorse your connections’ skills – it’s like a virtual pat on the back.
As with any social platform: you get out what you put in.
Fortunately, I didn’t need all that coffee in the end.
Cat Rose Neligan is a freelance designer and consultant based in London. She helps small businesses save time and be more effective through custom-designed strategy plans. Follow her on twitter @catrosedesign.