While LinkedIn may not get as much attention as other social media platforms, there’s no denying that it can yield significant results for your online marketing efforts—especially if you run a B2B business.
Yes, many of the people who are active on LinkedIn are simply looking for new job opportunities or trying to find ways to network within their industry. However, by playing your cards right, you can also leverage LinkedIn as a valuable resource for finding leads and customers.
That being said, having a quality profile is an essential first step for generating the results you need from your LinkedIn marketing efforts. With so many spammers and scammers on the platform, taking the time to build a well-crafted profile won’t just help generate interest among other users—it will also prove that you’re actually legit.
So which elements will build a LinkedIn profile that contributes to your marketing goals?
The following are five of the most important LinkedIn profile practices to consider.
Profile Practice #1) Build a Complete Profile
Pretty much everyone understands that you’re supposed to include information about your previous jobs and a profile picture on your LinkedIn profile, but that hardly makes it “complete.”
Remember, LinkedIn provides the space to go much more in-depth than you would with a standard resume. You have space to go into more detail regarding your accomplishments at various jobs. You have space to write an engaging summary that highlights your passion and expertise.
One of the best ways to “complete” your profile is to include multimedia content. LinkedIn’s settings allow users to upload videos, screenshots, article links, and even SlideShare presentations to highlight their work portfolio or industry recognition.
Showcasing your creative work (and your results) through visual content is a great way to improve the appearance of your entire profile. Better yet, the multimedia content you share can also turn into clicks leading to your company’s website.
Profile Practice #2) Produce Your Own Content
That’s right: content production isn’t just important for your website’s SEO rankings. It also plays a crucial role in establishing your industry expertise and generating interest in your LinkedIn profile.
The thing is, many people are on LinkedIn to learn. They want to hear expert perspectives on industry trends. They want to learn from your career story. They want to find useful resources that will help them improve their own work. When you actively produce original content, you can quickly become a go-to source for this valuable information.
LinkedIn itself notes just how valuable actively posting and producing content can be: “[Those] that post 20 times per month reach at least 60% of their unique audience. Follow a regular posting schedule to develop relationships with your followers, drive brand loyalty, and bring about new opportunities.”
Worried that producing content for LinkedIn will detract from your on-site publishing efforts? Don’t worry. LinkedIn Publisher allows you to syndicate your blog content, allowing you to simultaneously build a stronger profile and drive new traffic to your website.
Profile Practice #3) Engage & Share
Of course, posting your own content is far from the only way to build a great LinkedIn profile. In fact, many users are wary of profiles that only seem to promote their own content, without ever taking the time to interact with others.
Just like on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, you need to consistently engage with others’ content (and occasionally share it as well) to prove to on-the-fence LinkedIn users that you aren’t just an auto-posting robot.
Fortunately, as a social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn makes it easy to find opportunities for engagement. In addition to commenting on posts from your own connections, LinkedIn groups are available specifically to help “professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”
As you participate in group conversations with meaningful comments and non-spammy posts of your own, you can go a long way in lending further authority to your brand.
Profile Practice #4) Get Endorsements
It’s one thing to say that you’re a marketing guru. It’s quite another to prove it. Well-written recommendations on LinkedIn can highlight your unique skills and accomplishments to showcase what makes you stand out from others in your industry. While endorsements are typically viewed as less valuable, those who stumble across your profile are certainly going to be impressed if you have 99+ recommendations for valuable industry skills.
Of course, to get these endorsements and recommendations, you’ll probably have to ask. They most likely aren’t going to appear out of thin air. Naturally, your best bet is to reach out to those you currently work with (or have worked with in the past) and ask if they’d be willing to recommend you. LinkedIn makes this even easier with an “Ask to be recommended” button on individual profiles.
Don’t forget, you can always sweeten the deal by offering to endorse or write a recommendation for the person you’re requesting an endorsement from!
Profile Practice #5) Interact In Real Life
One of the keys to building an engaging LinkedIn profile is simply to increase your number of connections. Those who stumble across your profile view a high number of connections as social proof that you truly are an expert in your field. This makes them more likely to try to reach out to you, to interact with your content and to engage with your brand.
The best way to build your LinkedIn network? Well, you’re going to have to do some old-fashioned in-person networking. While LinkedIn Groups can be a valuable way to connect with other professionals in your industry, relationships will be far more meaningful when you first interact with someone in real life.
As many have noted, attending conferences and other events is a great starting point for forming these real-life connections. People you meet in real life are far more likely to accept your invitations to connect on LinkedIn, and they’re also more likely to engage with your content. This in turn helps your profile become more robust, increasing interest among others who come across it.
As the above points illustrate, building an interest-generating LinkedIn profile requires a fair bit of work. It also requires that you remain active on the site, continually engaging with others and providing meaningful contributions to your industry’s online community.
But the simple truth is that a quality LinkedIn profile is what lays the foundation for the rest of your LinkedIn marketing efforts. By taking the time to build and maintain a great profile, you will set yourself up for success on this unique social media platform.