So you’re on LinkedIn. You and more than 530 million of your closest friends, colleagues and members of your extended professional network. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and best position yourself and your company as a thought leader on this important platform? This is a question we are helping our clients navigate everyday.
Like any social media channel, LinkedIn is always evolving as the latest content and social media trends take hold. Despite these continued changes, there are four key best practices that will help you start on your journey:
- Enhance Your Profile
This is a basic, but absolutely essential step. Believe it or not, there are still people out there who don’t have photos on their profiles. Do you want to connect with these people? Me neither. It is vital to have a LinkedIn profile photo. You’ll get 21 times more profile views and will be 36 times more likely to receive a message, according to LinkedIn. But, it goes beyond the profile photo. You have the perfect opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your summary. Keep it short and sweet. Yes, you can write as much as you’d like, but most people won’t click on “Show more” to see the rest of your summary. This is why the 30 or so words they see first need to pique your readers’ curiosity. Beyond that make sure your profile is as robust as possible. Ensure you have listed all of your experience and accomplishments such as honors, awards, certifications or patents.
- Publish Long-form Posts
With more than 530 million users, you may be surprised to learn that the average number of users uploading articles weekly on LinkedIn publishing is only 100,000. This leaves the door wide open for you to be a thought leader in your industry or to add your experienced insights to ongoing conversations and beyond. My experience at this Chicago public relations firm writing for executives, tells me that those who publish work on LinkedIn between six and eight times each year see larger increases in followers and more engagement on their posts. As you begin drafting your posts, keep these things in mind:
- Know your audience – consider topics that are important to them
- Be authentic – write about an experience or tell a personal story
- Express your distinctive point of view – be sure it is timely
- Incorporate sub-heads – it makes your content easier to read
- Select an interesting visual – LinkedIn requires a 700 x 400 image
- Include charts or infographics – they add concrete evidence to your points
- Share Short-form Updates
We all know that LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter deserve different digital and social media strategies. You aren’t going to post a video of your child’s piano solo, as you might on Facebook. And, you aren’t going to write your thoughts about the game you are watching, as you might on Twitter. However, the same principles apply to LinkedIn. It has become a LinkedIn best practice to post videos – and photos. Maybe your one-minute video is about your company’s day of service, or is a stop-motion video about trends in your industry. And, it’s extremely valuable to share your thoughts about current events or industry news. Did you read an interesting article or attend an industry event? Post about it on LinkedIn with your insights about why it is important and what you learned.
- Nurture Your LinkedIn Connections
Don’t forget to engage with your LinkedIn connections. If you receive positive comments, reply to the comments or at the very least like them. Look to see if the commenter is in your network. If he or she isn’t, write a note through LinkedIn asking him or her to connect. You will likely also start to see the number of LinkedIn invitations you receive increase the more active you are. If you really want to stand out in the crowd, reply to the people who send you invites. This happens so rarely on LinkedIn that it will leave a lasting impression on your new connections. Finally, take advantage of LinkedIn’s Notification Tool to monitor your network’s recent activities, job changes, anniversaries and birthdays. Send your congratulations and kudos in one click.
Know that these LinkedIn best practices are just a foundation. We’ll continue to explore other LinkedIn best practices and approaches, as well as other social media/digital trends on RP’s Insights blog in the weeks ahead.