February 1, 2021
Many popular social media platforms have the ‘sexiness’ factor. Their customized algorithms and stimulating visual content keep us glued to the screen for hours. These flashier sites can sometimes overshadow their more poised and professional peer, LinkedIn. But do not be mistaken by LinkedIn’s modesty. While perhaps less alluring at first glance, harnessing LinkedIn can be instrumental in building your personal brand, growing your network and accelerating your career.
LinkedIn is a powerhouse when it comes to its user composition, marketing opportunities and business development advantages. According to Forbes, almost 50% of its active users are upper management (i.e., decision-makers) and LinkedIn is the top-rated platform by executives for professionally-relevant content. It is also the biggest driver of website traffic of any social media platform (yes – even bigger than its sexy peers) and dominates when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) lead generation as reported by Entrepreneur. In fact, LinkedIn accounts for 80% of all B2B leads sourced through social media, making it the most valuable platform for marketing to other businesses. But, all of these LinkedIn benefits are contingent on harnessing the platform masterfully and building a strong presence.
While LinkedIn is a relatively user-friendly platform and does not require a fee to sign up, it’s surprising how many professionals either don’t have a profile or struggle to create compelling ones that convey their skills and accomplishments. Making a solid LinkedIn profile starts by uploading a current (and high resolution!) headshot, writing a dynamic headline, adding a short, descriptive bio in the “About” section and including your professional and educational history – similar to what you have on a resume. If you want to maximize your profile’s visibility, you should fill out as many of the profile sections as possible that are applicable to you – from “Publications” to “Honors & Awards” to “Volunteer Experience”. Doing so will help your profile reach “All-Star” status, whereby LinkedIn prioritizes your profile in searches on and off the platform.
Creating and completing a LinkedIn profile, while a great start, is just that – a start. Once you have a profile that is in tip-top shape, you want as many people in your network to see it as possible, which is accomplished by growing your number of connections. As a general rule of thumb, you should connect with people on an ongoing basis who you know directly or who you share a connection with. Potential connections can include past and current colleagues and classmates, friends and family, and people you network with inside and outside of your industry. Building out your network of connections helps you keep track of your contacts and allows more people to see your activity on the platform. This brings us to the third critical element of LinkedIn: engagement.
The key element of LinkedIn that users don’t utilize enough is actively engaging on the platform. This means liking, commenting, sharing and posting content rather than sitting idly by. One of the most important benefits of engaging on LinkedIn is that it lets your connections know more about you. Unfortunately, many people invite others to connect without much thought or follow-up. If you do not engage on LinkedIn consistently, existing connections have little insight into your current happenings, business updates or accomplishments. Perhaps they forget about ever having connected with you in the first place. Supporting others’ content through a like or comment and contributing your own insight allows you to build more meaningful relationships with your connections. It also keeps you top of mind on a platform where you could otherwise be reduced to a mere name in a connections list.
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If you are seeking professional growth or trying to expand your thought leadership status this year – look no further than LinkedIn. It’s THE place to keep up with leading industry topics, find clients and new career opportunities, vet and hire talent, and share your professional expertise and achievements. Is it starting to sound sexier now?