When starting a marketing plan, one of the first things any professional should do is create a LinkedIn profile page. LinkedIn has become one of the most popular professional networking websites in the world, with over 450 million members. One of the best things about the service is its basic package is free. LinkedIn offers a great way to advertise and market a business by using a professional’s current contact sphere. Having a well-made profile page also adds an extra layer of professionalism to a business’ image. Professionals who do not have their own business website should absolutely create a LinkedIn profile page. This can act as their website and a valuable resource for both current and prospective clients who want to get more information about the business.
How to Create a LinkedIn Page
The first step to using this social media platform is to go to the LinkedIn website and begin creating a profile. Put in your name, email, and password to create a login. LinkedIn provides guidance to complete a profile in a very easy-to-use format. Users must input their proper postal code so LinkedIn can connect them with other professionals in their area. If new users have a popular email account service such as Gmail, LinkedIn asks for access to the email’s address book. From there, it shows any contacts who have a LinkedIn profile that can be requested as a connection.
Make a Profile That Stands Out
The key to having a successful LinkedIn profile is to have it stand out from the thousands of other profiles in the area. One of the easiest ways to establish this is to have a profile picture. Profile pictures are the first thing any potential connection sees. It is also important to have a high-quality photo, such as a professional head-shot or graphic logo of the company. A low-quality picture that was clearly taken on a mobile phone does not exactly portray professionalism. LinkedIn prioritizes profiles with pictures over those that do not have a picture.
Another way for a professional to stand out is to have an in-depth profile that displays information about the business, the owner, and his or her experience. For example, a general contractor should use this area to talk about the type of work the company does and the clientele it serves. It is also a great way to list licenses, certifications, and insurance. This area is very similar to having a resume the public can view. Showing experience and education only furthers the credibility of the business owner. Also, show off the personality of the business. For example, a fun and quirky description might be more suitable for a web design freelancer rather than a dry and business-like description of the company’s services.
Building Credibility Through Recommendations and Skills
One of the best features of having a LinkedIn profile is the ability to show “recommendations.” This is where connections can give testimonials about the business or the owner. For example, a wedding planner could have past clients write a recommendation with details about the successful and wonderful experience of their wedding. New LinkedIn users should immediately reach out to past satisfied clients to help them establish several recommendations for their new profile.
Another feature that LinkedIn gives its users is the skills section of the profile page. This area allows connections to promote the professional’s areas of expertise. A financial planner, for example, may have skills such as retirement and investment planning, as well as experience with taxes. The more skills that connections endorse, the more credible the professional seems.
Getting New Businesses to Use LinkedIn
Many professionals often build their businesses through referrals and other marketing avenues. LinkedIn can be a great way to expand a professional’s contact sphere and expose his or her business to potential clients. All new LinkedIn users should begin by connecting with every person on their contact list. This includes current clients, past clients, friends, and family. Once connected to this group, professionals can access each of their connections’ contact spheres. This is a way for professionals to potentially meet new clients through a mutual acquaintance.
Like most social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn has a main feed page to see all the comments and changes of a user’s connections. The use of a formal, systematic plan for marketing on LinkedIn would drastically increase the effectiveness of a profile page. Monthly or weekly postings about interesting, eye-catching topics can help drive attendance. Having connections who comment on a post even takes the effectiveness a step further as these comments show up on their own connections’ feeds.