It takes a certain amount of nous to compete with Facebook so, if you’re not already looking at LinkedIn to increase your online traffic, then the recent doubling of the social networking site for professionals, the milestone of 100 million users and the release of a smartphone app should persuade you. Here’s how to make LinkedIn work for you, in 11 easy steps.
- 1. Create a strong profile. Simple, yet oft neglected. Take your profile seriously – insert a photo, write compelling copy, and ensure your SEO is high. And avoid overused words such as ‘results-oriented’, ‘innovative’ and ‘team player’ – nearly everyone else on LinkedIn thinks they’re the same, so you won’t stand out.
- 2. Connect. Connections mean access, which mean more people viewing your profile. Regularly take actions, update your profile and add new connections to increase traffic.
- 3. Don’t default. Default links don’t drive traffic: would you click on a website simply called, ‘My Website’? Didn’t think so. Make sure you customise the links to make them as attractive as possible to the browser.
- 4. Be a know it all. Answer queries and questions – you’ll generate interest in your profile, position you as a thought leader and, as people rate your answers, eventually become a ‘featured expert’. (That’s only if your answers are good, by the way – so make sure you only respond to questions you know the answer to!)
- 5. Keep it up. Update your LinkedIn status – it’s only 148 characters, so shouldn’t be a tough job! Make sure it says something interesting, and drives traffic to your sites. Your updates will appear on the homepages of your connections, so don’t waste the opportunity.
- 6. Make special friends. One of the positives about 100million members is that you can always find niche groups with the same interests as you. Hunt them out and connect – your audience lies within and around them.
- 7. Comment is free. New discussion topics crop up in their hundreds in the larger groups, and every new one is sent straight to their members’ homepages. So –start contributing!
- 8. RSS it. Add your own website or RSS feed to your group of interest – that way, anything new – a blog, an article – will automatically be updated on the homepages of all the members.
- Do it yourself. Create your own group – why not? Your own website, blog, profile and business can take centre stage, with members actively engaging with each other – facilitated by you – and clicking on your links.
- App it. Two handy little apps – Blog Link and WordPress – let you preview your most recent handiwork on your profile, tempting users with a ‘sneak peek’ of your compelling copy (see point 1). Consider adding ones such as Tripit, which allows you to share travel schedules; Slideshare to let others view your fantastic presentations; and Reading List, to start a buzz around your choice of books.
- Make LinkedIn work for you. LinkedIn Today shows what people in your network and industry are sharing and talking about. Compelling content = getting talked. Similarly, LinkedIn’s own newsletters and emails can help you get ahead.
I would love to hear your success stories, please connect with me on LinkedIn