Here’s how you can use LinkedIn to grow your brand and business this year.
5 min read
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LinkedIn may not get as much love in the social media world as platforms like Instagram and Facebook, but there’s still no better way to get in front of business decision-makers than LinkedIn. If you’re a marketer, salesperson or another type of professional who wants to connect with executives and other brand leaders who have the ability to actually write you a check, LinkedIn is where you want to be.
As someone who previously worked as a global senior social marketing manager at LinkedIn and who still works with the platform as an instructor for LinkedIn Learning, I can say first-hand that there are concrete steps you can take to find success on this network, including:
1. Use the right set of keywords.
LinkedIn can be used as a search engine of sorts, where recruiters, brand marketers, CEOs, etc., can find people to work with by simply typing in a few keywords related to what they’re looking for, like “software engineers,” “graphic designers” or any other term that can lead them to qualified individuals. That means that you need to optimize your LinkedIn profile, especially in your “About” section, to include keywords related to what you want to be contacted for so that others can find you.
2. Have rich media content in your profile.
To help showcase your experience and skills while making your profile pop more than someone who just has a wall of text, you should embed rich media content like blogs, videos and case studies. You can do so in a few ways, such as by adding content to the Projects section of your profile or by publishing content natively on LinkedIn, such as how you’ll see my LinkedIn articles populate on my profile. If you don’t have your own content yet, you may be able to share videos or other pieces of work from your employer or previous companies that relate to what you’ve worked on.
3. Connect on LinkedIn instead of swapping business cards.
While you might hear people say they prefer to have a physical business card in this age of digital overload, the reality is that these cards often get tossed into a pile and forgotten about. Instead, connecting on LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to continually stay on the radar of others, as your posts, for example, may show up in new contacts’ feeds. That’s why I intentionally don’t have business cards and instead ask to connect on LinkedIn, especially because my brand largely involves sharing content.
Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn instead of swapping business cards, send them a simple InMail message along the lines of “Nice to meet you at [add where you met]. I would love to stay in touch.” This simple approach tends to work better than going for the hard-and-fast sell, and over time you can form stronger connections that lead to closing deals.
4. Leverage LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram together.
Since you don’t want to go for the hard sell through LinkedIn after connecting there, or worse, send a cold pitch to someone you found on LinkedIn but never met, you can instead leverage multiple social media networks together. For example, it’s fine for sales professionals to compile a database of prospects based on who they find or connect with on LinkedIn, but then take the time to connect on other platforms like Twitter and Instagram to get to know them better.
For example, on Twitter a prospect may share a more personal opinion than they would on LinkedIn, which can give you a chance to respond organically and form a more human connection. Or if you connect with someone through Instagram first, connect with them on LinkedIn too so when the moment is right to talk business, you have the opportunity to do so in an environment where that prospect is comfortable.
5. Create content directly on LinkedIn.
Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn’s algorithm favors native content. So instead of just sharing a link to your YouTube videos or website blog, upload some of your content directly to LinkedIn. Publishing an article on LinkedIn, for example, ties back into adding rich media content to your profile, while also increasing the odds that you can stay on your contacts’ radar.
If you’re looking for content inspiration, browse the trending news stories on the platform. Doing so may give you an idea, even if it’s just for a quick reaction video that you upload natively to LinkedIn. Use a few hashtags when sharing this type of content, and if you’re lucky, you may even get a LinkedIn editor to add your content to the platform’s trending news feed.
Following these tactics can help you organically get more out of LinkedIn, rather than running up against a brick wall trying to cold pitch prospects you have no real connection with. You can increase your odds of forming organic connections through tactics like optimizing keywords and sharing content natively, and taking a little bit more time to form stronger relationships initially can pay off significantly more in the long run.