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A guide to: LinkedIn

Christina Baker from Dolphin Outsourcing is here again to talking about the benefits of LinkedIn and guiding you through LinkedIn itself.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out more.

If you have any questions or are looking for some business support, please get in touch with us, and we will be happy to help - Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel!

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a hugely underrated and often misunderstood platform. Many people think it's just where you post your CV online, but it is much more than that. It is generally used for business to business, so if you want to connect with other businesses and aren't active on LinkedIn, you need to listen up because I'm going to help you get the most out of it.

What should you put on your LinkedIn profile?

You want to ensure you include certain things on your profile, and I speak a lot about this when talking to clients. When I'm first getting to know them, I will look at their profiles and go on LinkedIn and see what they're about. If you're not showing up on there and you're not showing people what you've got to offer, then you should be doing it.

So, first of all, you want to include your profile picture. People want to see what you like. So it should be of your head and shoulders. It should be of good quality, as good as you can get it. Of course, be professional and generally smiling, and people like to see somebody smile. It shows that you're a nice person.

You should also include your cover photo as well. So you've got your profile picture than just behind it, there's like a little banner, and that's what we call the cover photo. So many people tend to leave this blank. I don't know if they realise that you can change it, but you can. So it's an excellent way to showcase a bit more about your business. Ideally, you want to brand it to your business rather than putting any odd picture up or might not fit or things like that as well. I look at these types of things, and people don't utilise those. So if you want to go ahead and change that as well, you can make it into your branding. You can do it in Canva, or whatever use, but Canva is usually the best one. I also advise adding some contact information on there or links or anything that you've got going on at the moment to have it on in the background. It's not just a picture, you're using it, and it's free advertising, so why not do it.

It would be best if you also had a headline. So this is quite a big thing on LinkedIn. You will often see LinkedIn coaches talking about headlines and why they're essential and they are crucial. So you can find it just underneath your name, and you need to write this to attract your ideal client, which we spoke about in the last episode. If you do leave it blank, then LinkedIn will pull information automatically from your current job description. This doesn't tell people what you specialise in or much about you. You want to go ahead and change it into something a bit longer and more interesting, and it's one of the first things people see as well.

You're About Me summary also needs to be personalised, so that should be about how you can help your client. What services do you offer? Or what products do you have? You want to include a call to action as well as that at the bottom. So once you've listed what you do, how are they going to find you? How do you want them to contact you? Make sure you include that. How do they contact you to find out more? You need to be putting the call to action on there. A lot of people leave it out entirely and don't give anyone anywhere to go.

You also want to format your about section as well. Nobody wants to read massive bulk text. People go on and buy and not read it. You want to space it out as much as you can. It doesn't have to be massively long, just spaced out, so it makes it easy to read. If it's your style, add emojis. I love emojis, and a lot of people do love emojis. Usually, the younger generation tends to like emojis. They're pretty fun, aren't they? And as I always speak about, you want to add your call to action in there and make it interesting. People should want to read it, it's usually the first main thing that people will see on your profile, so when they want to know more about you, they're going to the about me and then they'll read it. If you think about when you're snooping around other people's LinkedIn profiles, what you look at that you what you read, so you want to make it interesting.

There is also a featured section on LinkedIn. Again, many people don't use this, but it's a convenient feature that people aren't often using. If you've got it on there, it makes your profile look a bit better. You can add your LinkedIn posts on there, so you can feature any LinkedIn posts that you've recently posted. It's almost like you're pinning it. If you imagine your pinning something into a profile, it's similar to that, but you can do it with a few different ones. I'm not sure what the maximum is, but it's good to have about three, four things featured on there. The featured section can include videos or YouTube or external links (as these can also be used). It doesn't have to be LinkedIn posts. In my featured section, I've got an introduction to Dolphin Outsourcing. I've got a couple of different ones about our various contracts that we use for people. So they're perfect for extra bits of advice for people to use, and you want to be posting something along those lines as well. If you've got a blog post as well, a blogger, or have something that heavily features in your marketing plan, you can add a blog post on there. You've got your top five ways to do X, Y, Z, or whatever it is that's relating to your industry. You can update it as much as you want, so make sure you're using that.

The remaining part of the profile is your experience section. So what experience do you have? You can add various things on there. So you can include some media on that, and it can be in the form of a PDF, for example.

There is also education, volunteering, honours and awards, skills and endorsements and recommendations. Go ahead and make sure you've got all of that filled in, so you are utilising all that information. You're filling in what you want people to see and ensuring that you ask for some recommendations as well. So if you've not got recommendations already on your LinkedIn, go ahead and ask people for those. There's a little box on LinkedIn which you can do that in.

What should I check for before starting a LinkedIn account?

Things for you to check if you're not already using LinkedIn. So before you go ahead and do all the above, you want to make sure that your audience is actually on LinkedIn so you don't waste your time. So you want to make sure that your audience is on there. You have completed your profile because you want people to see it, an all-singing, all-dancing profile, and are you attracting your ideal clients to that. So what you're using it for at the minute, do you think that's getting your ideal clients? Is it going to get your ideal clients if you're going to use it? These are the type of things that you want to ask yourself before you actually start using it and spending time on it. You do end up spending a lot of time on it once you know how to use it a bit more.

Who should I connect with?

One of the other main things is once you've got everything all set up, you want to connect with the relevant people, so with people that you know. They've got secondary connections that could be your ideal client. You want to start getting on their radar and commenting on a few things. We want clients at the end of the day, and that's what you are there to try and get.

How do I check my rankings on LinkedIn?

There is a percentage thing on LinkedIn as well, it's on a premium profile a lot of the time, but you can see where you are in the rankings. You want to try and get in that top 1% of your industry. When you're filling in your profile, it's generally at the very beginning. When you start up a profile, you'll see what percentage you're in, and you want to try and get up to the top in that. At the moment, there are 714 million users on LinkedIn, which is just astonishing, and only 1% of those users are sharing content regularly on LinkedIn. If you're then doing that, and that will get you to the top, isn't it? So that's what we want to be doing. You also want to keep posting consistently as well. So don't just be a lurker, don't just look at things all the time. You want to be posting things that people want to read.

How should I interact with others on LinkedIn?

What things can you post? Many people look at posts but then don't react to anything. They don't comment on anything, so you don't want to be doing that. If you're reading something, you're already there. You might as well give the post a like, and then you want to comment as well. That is going to get you seen by more people.

What are the most common reasons for people not using LinkedIn?

So what's the reason you're not posting on LinkedIn at the minute? The common causes are that you're just using it for your online CV. It's not a very good way to use LinkedIn, and it's not a very good way to win business either. Don't just leave your CV and hope you will get clients from it because you do need to do a little bit of work. Some people worry about what people might think. For example, some people aren't very confident with doing videos, and many people do videos on LinkedIn now because they can get seen by more people. People are worried about what someone is going to think. You do one, and you feel afraid at first, then you do a few more, and it's okay, it's not too bad, you know, who cares what people think? It's getting yourself out there, and that's what it's all about.

You don't understand what you should be posting? Many people think, 'why should I bother because I don't know what to post. Reasons you should be posting on LinkedIn is, you want to be connecting with your network. So people you already know or people you have some kind of association with you want to connect with them. You want to show those people that you are the expert in your industry, and you want to build trust and relationships with those people as well. So once you've got them, they'll tell their friends, and it builds up that whole relationship and the whole network of people. Hopefully, you'll get some business from doing that.

How does posting content help grow your network on LinkedIn?

By sharing content with your network, that will raise your profile and get you seen by more people. Engaging with your audience will then lead to more views on your profile. So you don't just share it with your network, but also share them with their network too. Then they can come on, and then they might comment on one of their posts, and then it gets seen by even more people. So that is the ultimate goal you want everybody to be posting and seeing your content.

What shall I post on LinkedIn?

So what do you post? A lot of people say I don't know what to post; please help me. So you want to be of service to people, so what does your network wants to hear about? What will all your connections want to hear? What can you offer them? So educational posts work well. They work well on any platform. You want to be teaching your audience something that helps them, and it's something that you're already an expert in, so why not share a little bit of that knowledge. Text-only posts work well, and they perform the best, and polls as well work quite well.

I get so many random polls on LinkedIn that I don't know what to do with. I still comment on them because I can't help myself. Post a poll and see how it does. Just do one now and again, see how they got on. You want to also share industry news. They're going down well as well. So you can just basically put your take on things as well. When you share something, say why you're posting about it and what you know about it. As your connections their thoughts as well. You will soon get a few comments. You want to use LinkedIn offers as well. You can post offers on your LinkedIn as well. So you've got anything coming up, you can upload videos straight from your phone, you can add polls, you can upload documents, you want to mix it up.

Should I use hashtags on my LinkedIn posts?

Hashtags. I wanted to touch on very briefly as well. For hashtags on LinkedIn, you want to use about three, apparently, that's the optimum; that's why I always use three, it works really well, and that's how many you should be adding to your posts as well. So you can use some hashtags in LinkedIn, but don't use loads; it's not Instagram. Don't go putting a post up and then 30 hashtags underneath because it's just too much for LinkedIn. So once you've got to the bottom of your posts, add in three hashtags relating to whatever you're talking about, making sure they're related. It helps get seen by more people as well.

Should I tag someone on LinkedIn?

If your post has got somebody on a photo with you, then you can tag them. If it hasn't, and the post isn't relevant to them, then please don't tag somebody in it. It's not great for people to do that, and you know how annoying it is when somebody tags you in something so that you can get the post seen. It's just not a thing to be doing on LinkedIn. So think about if you want somebody to see that post, you could inbox them and say, I've just put a new post up and ask them, but don't directly tag somebody on a post so that you can get that seen.

How often should I post on LinkedIn?

How often should you post? Many people post daily if you can think of something daily, but if you can get your posting up to two to three times a week, that's quite optimum. So you want to build up to be posting about two or three times a week. Then you want to reply to as many comments as you can. Some people respond to every comment, but not many people have the maximum time to become internalised. It depends on how many comments you get, but make sure you are commenting to people when they take the time to comment on your stuff.

Should I message a new connection on LinkedIn right away?

Messaging. When you first connect with somebody, many people send them a friend notification or connection request, and they don't say why they cant to connect with them. If you don't know that person, why are you connecting with them? You want to build a relationship, but if you get a connection request from somebody, and you don't know who it is, they haven't added a note to say, 'hey, this is what I'm about. Would you like to connect with me?' They might not accept you. So what you want to do is add that little note that comes up and tell the person why you are connecting with them. Why would you like them to be in your network? Not everyone replies, but then it raises your profile a little.

In posts, you can remind people what it is you do. Some people post random stuff on LinkedIn, and many people don't know what that person does. So talk about what you do so they keep in their minds that you are an expert on what you do.

Short recap on what to do next

To recap, you want to optimise your profile, understand what, when how to post, and want to attract your ideal client by all of the activities you do. You want to reach out to connect people with a note. Build on all the relationships, keep on connecting with them, which will help grow your network even more. Use LinkedIn messaging where you can, and then always add a call to action. I am heavy on the call to action. Think about what the strategy will be as well because there's always some strategy if you're using your social media networks. What can you do to help your audience? What conversations will you have with these people? If you aim for two or three posts a week, you're doing a good job.

Hopefully, that has explained about LinkedIn, why you need to be using it, what you should include, all the reasons for posting, what you should be posting and how often.

So if you have any questions or you'd like to know more, or if you'd like any help with your business support, anything to do with LinkedIn or any other social platforms, then get in touch with us on our dolphin website. We will look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time, goodbye.


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