LinkedIn.  Yet another social media platform that leaves you feeling cold or are you one of the many who couldn’t live without it?

If you’re already an expert, or at least, use it on a regular basis, then you might as well stop reading now.  I’m not going about to reveal anything radically new about LinkedIn to you. You’ve already got your profile filled out properly with an attention grabbing headline and good keyword use throughout your summary, haven’t you?  (Feel free to read on if you haven’t).

But if you have yet to join LinkedIn or you are one of the very many who’ve set up a basic profile but have done little else, then give me 5 minutes of your time just now.  You may learn a few tips to get you going and hopefully benefit you and your business.

With a little regular effort, LinkedIn can prove a great marketing tool for your business and for your career if you are job hunting or building your reputation; however my focus for this article is on using LinkedIn as a business tool.

A confession before I go on, I’m not a LinkedIn guru , I wouldn’t even consider myself an expert but I do use it on a regular basis and I do find it very useful in my business life, so I guess that makes me qualified enough to give some basic advice on how to set it up and use it.  In fact I was asked to train some clients on it and the result is this short presentation.  It’s sort of self-explanatory but I’ve added in a bit of detail below the presentation.

If you’re already on LinkedIn and are finally getting around to updating your profile, a quick tip before you do.  You may want to temporarily turn off your activity broadcast, otherwise all your connections will be notified about your “new role” and experience when really you’ve been there for the last 5 years.  Go to ‘Settings’, and under ‘Privacy Controls’, you should be able to see ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’.

And if you are new to LinkedIn, well just go to the website and sign up.

That out of the way, now spend time making sure your profile is properly completed.  Not only you will be more easily found in searches, it reflects well on you and your business.

Completing Your Profile

  • linkedin basicsHave a helpful Professional Headline.  Don’t put your job title here.  You have that under your current job details.  Use this to explain what it is you do, how you help others, something that stands out.
  • Create a good summary. Make sure you think from your client’s point of view. What would appeal to them. What terms do they use. Use keywords that relate to your industry and client base.  Detail who you are as a professional: your title, role, skills and experience.  It should be at least 40 words long.
  • Industry and post code
  • A current position with description
  • Two more positions
  • Education
  • At least five skills
  • Profile photo – Use a Professional-Looking Headshot.  This is a business social platform so that shot of you drunk at the office party may not be the most appropriate.
  • Try to connect to at least 50 people.  See below.
  • Work samples or projects
  • Volunteer experience

TIP – Proofread your entire profile before you publish it.  It’s obvious advice but easy to miss those spelling or grammatical errors first time round.

Connect to People

  • LinkedIn makes it easy for you to do this. You can look for people you know, export your contacts, search by industry.  Once you get going, they will recommend other connections – it doesn’t take long to build it up.
  • Use Search to find potential clients and business partners
  • You can search for exactly who you want to be referred to or for a potential client – by company, by geography, by name, by job title. You can look at the contact list of an individual to see if there’s anyone you’d like to be connected to
  • TIP – Personalise your LinkedIn invite by typing over the standard introductory text.

Join some relevant groups

  • Where professionals and experts can share content, ask for advice, post or search for jobs and network with others.
  • Don’t confuse LinkedIn “groups” with “companies.”
  • Groups are tailored to brands, associations and societies, support groups, causes, publications and industries in general.
  • Find a few that fit your field and interests.
  • Set up a company page if appropriate
  • Should contains general information, such as a business overview, list of employees and press mentions.
  • Can also share latest company news
  • Once you follow a company, you’ll see its updates appear on your LinkedIn homepage alongside those of your connections.
  • Businesses also use LinkedIn to post company announcements, such as acquisitions, new hires or updated policies and job openings.

Try to put in regular updates

  • LinkedIn updates tend to be industry- and professionally-focused.
  • You can share updates from a number of different places, both on and from outside web properties.
  • Post a status update from the LinkedIn homepage, and it will be shared as well as posted to your profile under the activity feed.
  • If you engage in discussions in LinkedIn groups, that will show as an update.
  • Post updates from relevant sites (& your own site) by clicking the LinkedIn social share button next to an article.  Or you can copy and paste the url into the LinkedIn share an update field.
  • You can connect your Twitter account to LinkedIn.

Ask for Recommendations & Endorsements

  • Do you have colleagues/clients who will write you a recommendation? Ask them to do so and post it on your page.
  • Encourage your clients to use LinkedIn as a recommendation platform
  • Endorsements – Make sure your profile is complete and you’ve listed the skills you want people to endorse you for.

Liking LinkedIn…go mobile with it

  • Install the app on your phone for posting status updates and checking group updates on-the-go (if you want to!)
  • Good for networking – email that person a link to your profile, so he or she may connect with you later — no business cards needed.

Add LinkedIn to your Email Signature & Website.  Let people know how to find you.

So that really is a basic guide to LinkedIn but I hope you’ve got a few tips and find LinkedIn useful as a result.  You never know where that next client, business idea or even employee might come from but chances are, LinkedIn might just help you to get there.

If you want any help or advice on making LinkedIn work for you, please get in via the website or

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