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Ten ways to LinkedIn like a pro

Whether you love it or loathe it, LinkedIn is a great way to find work, build your brand and generate leads.

By Libby Marks

Whether you love it or loathe it, LinkedIn is a great way to find work, build your brand and generate leads. Since starting my business last year, I’ve become a complete convert to this most Marmite-y of social media. It’s helped me generate interest from clients, get referrals from fellow freelancers, and make some firm friends too. Here are ten ways to use LinkedIn like a pro.

1. Post!

This is my number 1 tip. You’d be surprised how many people never post on LinkedIn. Like networking in real life, the more you put in, the more you get out. If you’re lurking in the shadows – reading posts but never publishing your own – it’s the equivalent of standing in the corner at a conference, waiting for people to talk to you. It’s not going to happen. You need to get out there and press the virtual flesh. Check out my top ten ideas for what to post on LinkedIn .

2. Comment

As well as posting, commenting should be a cornerstone of your LinkedIn strategy. It’s a great way to showcase your expertise and get on people’s radars. Don’t fall into the trap of using LinkedIn’s lazy AI suggestions like ‘Good job’ and ‘Congratulations’. Your comments need to add value. Share an opinion, discuss your own experience, link to an article you’ve recently read.

3. Maximise your headline

Your headline is the sentence that appears under your name and photo in searches and on your profile. It automatically defaults to the last job title from your ‘Experience’ section. But you can do better than that! If you’re job hunting or trying to build your brand as a freelancer, this is a great space to sell yourself. There are lots of tips on how to write a great headline, so give it a Google.

4. Personalise your URL

If you’re job hunting, including your LinkedIn address on your CV is a great way to help employers find out more about you. But, often, the address LinkedIn automatically generates is a mess of random numbers. Not attractive to include on your resume and not something a time-poor recruiter will bother to type. The solution? Personalise your LinkedIn address from your profile settings. Unless your name is really common, you can usually just use that.

5. Make use of your banner image

That space behind your profile photo? That’s the banner image. And if yours is still the tedious turquoise of a municipal swimming pool, you’re wasting valuable real estate. You can upload an image to this area by going to your profile and clicking the pencil icon in the corner. Some people add a photo, but the dimensions make this a tricky fit. Instead, why not create or commission a bespoke graphic to showcase your business or personal brand?

6. Get followers, not connections

You want to get your content in front of as many people as possible. But it can be time consuming to receive and review connection requests. And maybe you don’t want to be connected to everyone who asks. The good news is you don’t have to. The default button on your profile is ‘Connect’ but you can swap it to ‘Follow’. Your followers still see your content without you having to be part of their network. This one’s a bit hidden in the settings so go to Account Settings > Visibility > Followers > Make follow primary.

7. Showcase your work

The ‘Featured’ section of your profile allows you to upload media. It is a great way to showcase your work or add interest to your profile. For example, you could add a link to your website, upload a publication you’ve written or share a podcast you’ve appeared on. Anything you can do to help people get to know you and your professional expertise better will help boost your personal brand.

8. Hide the competition

LinkedIn will automatically include a sidebar on your profile called ‘Viewers of this profile also viewed’, essentially advertising the competition. It’s like going to an interview and saying ‘Hey, what about these guys instead, huh?!’ You can turn this off in Settings > Account preferences > Site preferences. Using LinkedIn to look for work? Check out my top five tips for jobseekers on Linkedin.

9. Ask for recommendations

Recommendations are like reviews that people can leave on your profile. The more recommendations you have, the more weight LinkedIn will give to your posts. So asking people for recommendations can actually get more eyeballs looking at your content. Feel shy about asking? Get into the habit of writing recommendations for people you’ve worked with. Many will be happy to return the favour.

10. Pick the best hashtags

LinkedIn will automatically suggest hashtags that it thinks are relevant. But are they popular? You’ll maximise your reach if you pick hashtags with the biggest followings. For example, for me, #copywriter has 17k followers whilst #copywriting has 638k followers. So I’ll reach more people by using the latter. Choose your hashtags before you post and check their popularity on LinkedIn by typing them into the search bar. Three hashtags seems to be the most you can use before LinkedIn things you’re a spammer, so don’t use them too liberally!

About the Author

Libby Marks is a freelance content writer, copywriter and marketing consultant based in Newcastle. Libby works with busy marketers and business owners, helping them attract and engage customers with high-quality written content. She specialises in writing search-optimised blog posts, articles, ebooks and guides, helping websites gain visibility and visitors: www.writeontyne.com 

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