With more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is a universal business tool that professionals shouldn’t ignore.
As a professional in your industry you may already have a profile on LinkedIn, but many people are not fully harnessing the capabilities and benefits that the networking platform has to offer. LinkedIn can be a major source of lead generation for consulting professionals.
Here’s some tips on how you can easily boost your brand in the market and attract more business opportunities...
1. A picture is worth a thousand words
Adding a profile picture gives your user profile a face and makes it relatable and recognisable. Studies show that a faceless profile actually creates mistrust in people. Having a profile picture helps you to rank higher in searches and creates a sense of transparency for your business. The probability of your LinkedIn profile being viewed also increases by approximately 21 times if you have a profile picture.
2. Highlight those skills!
Use LinkedIn’s pre-populated list to select the key skills you want to highlight. By doing this, your profile views can increase up to 17 times.
3. Endorsement Karma
Once you have your key skills published, your connections can “endorse” them for you. Though an endorsement is just a simple click of a button, the effect can be powerful. The more endorsements you receive for a skill, the higher you will rank in searches for that particular skill. So how do you get endorsements? Firstly, be great at what you do and secondly, endorse other people for their skills. Social networking tends to rely on karma in that if you give something, you’re more likely to get something back. So start endorsing the skills of your connections, but remember this caveat: you must actually believe that the person holds the skill(s) you are endorsing them for. Giving out blanket endorsements will create the perception that you are only trying to get endorsements back.
4. Recommendations build credibility
When potential clients look at your profile, they will want to see what your clients, colleagues and peers think of you. Think about how people search for new restaurants these days; if a restaurant has some good reviews, you are more likely to go there. If it’s been in business for a while but has no reviews, we tend to equate this with having bad reviews, and will avoid giving them our patronage. The same goes for professionals on LinkedIn. Recommendations build your credibility as an expert in your field. So ask your clients if they would write you a recommendation on LinkedIn via the ‘Request a Recommendation’ function. This will essentially give your profile a collection of references, making you a more trustworthy and attractive connection based on social proof. Choose clients who know your brand well and can write eloquently in relation to your capabilities.
5. The complete package
Thoroughly complete your profile, including education, work history, experience, skills, certifications and even include volunteer work - add everything that you are able to publish when creating your profile, as LinkedIn prioritises completed profiles in their search rankings so this is an easy way to boost your SEO (search engine optimisation).
6. Actively build your network
Spend a bit of time every week building your network through connection requests. Be sure to personalise your requests instead of relying on LinkedIn’s default message. The more personalised your request, the more likely it will be accepted because it shows you’ve done your homework and taken an interest in the person. Try to highlight why they might find this new connection to you beneficial. Ask your current connections if they will introduce you to a prospective contact. It's all about quid pro quo in the online social world.
7. Share your knowledge through content
Create and post unique relevant content to your network to add value to them and demonstrate your expertise. LinkedIn allows members to publish their own articles so if you were thinking of starting a blog, this is a great way to do it! Simply click the ‘Write an Article’ button underneath where you would normally post a status update. Think about topics that will help inform, engage and add value to your target market. Join industry groups and get active in discussions. This all contributes to building your credibility, demonstrating your expertise and creating a stronger personal brand.
Be sure to advise your connections on how they can get in touch with you and include your correct contact details in your profile.
Along with these 8 ways to generate more business leads, make updating your LinkedIn profile part of your regular routine to ensure that potential business connections are well informed on your capabilities. Take some time to evaluate your profile based on our tips, and make the adjustments you need to boost your brand!
If you’re after some relevant, fresh content to share with your connections, follow Vault on LinkedIn. We regularly post new content about health and safety, risk management, compliance, leadership and more.