Too many people just transfer their CV onto LinkedIn, connect with a few people they know and then start applying for jobs, occasionally liking and commenting on their friends’ and colleagues’ posts.
If you’re looking for a new job or new clients, this is the equivalent of trying to find a single grain of sand by putting a bucket-load through a sieve. You may get lucky but most of the opportunities will pass you buy.
With the exception of very few industries, if you’re looking for work, yes you do need to be on LinkedIn. And be active on there.
This is because:
87% of recruiters use LinkedIn
80% of new B2B leads generated via social media come from LinkedIn
43% of companies who sell to consumers say they have found at least one customer via LinkedIn
More than 60% of jobs are not advertised. That means they’re filled by personal connections. The more people you’re connected to, the more you increase your chances of hearing about jobs.
I was the MD of a recruitment business for six years and every one of my clients came via my presence on LinkedIn – what I said on the platform and the people I was able to connect with through LinkedIn.
Here are my top 10 tips for making the most of LinkedIn...
1) Have a good think about what your objective is
Decide if you’re looking for a new job, looking for new clients, looking for advice or just growing your network, because you might be looking for something new in the not too distant future. Write it down and refer back to it every time you post, connect with someone or like something. Does it help you to meet your objective?
2) Consider what you want people to think when they find you on LinkedIn
This should define what’s called your 'tone of voice' and what you write – for example if you’re looking for new opportunities then chances are you want people to think you are capable, trustworthy and knowledgeable. So how will you demonstrate this, above and beyond just listing all the jobs you’ve done that prove your expertise? LinkedIn is so much more than a CV - it is a dynamic and interactive social media channel. Just as what you write on Facebook or Instagram will unconsciously convey your tone of voice, you should think about the appropriate tone of voice for your professional objectives. If you’re looking for a senior job in marketing, then make all your posts, comments and likes related to demonstrating what you know in this area and sound professional.
3) Don’t get distracted
It can be tempting to comment 'CUTE' under a former colleague's post about the office dog, but how is that going to help you meet your objective (back to tip 1)? The people you see all the time in your feed are the ones whom the algorithm knows are posting things you are interacting with. So if you like everything that Jo Bloggs posts, then you’ll see every one of their posts. If on the other hand you like everything related to women in the workplace, then you’ll start to see a lot more content on that subject. If you like anything and everything, that’s what you’ll see; if you want to be seen by people looking for marketing specialists, then improve your chances and remain laser focused on posts related to your area.
4) Have something to say - content really is king (or queen!)
Content is simply a fancy word for what you write. And LinkedIn’s entire business model is based on its users generating content for free. They pay you nothing to produce articles, comments and share news. Genius. Writing good content used to be something that people had to pay for but now everyone can be a writer. You’ll see the people who produce good content are prioritised in your feed. You don’t have to be an award-winning journalist but you do need to have something to say. Chances are though, if you’ve worked on numbers 1 and 2 in this list, you will have something to say.
5) Comment and like
Draw up a list of the people you think are influential in your chosen area and connect with them (or follow them if they’re a big influencer like Melinda or Bill Gates). Then start by liking and commenting under their posts that relate back to your specialist area. This will start to get the algorithms working. Be polite and be positive. If someone writes something that you think is a load of old rubbish then just move on. Social media is not a place to pick a fight, especially when you’re looking to build your reputation! Don’t expect the big CEOs or influencers to respond to your comments, but what you are doing is building a reputation among their followers.
6) Share content you’ve enjoyed
This is called signposting or curating content. Two or three times a week, put a reminder in your diary to research your specialist subject (just put it into Google and look under the News tab), then share an article you’ve found on LinkedIn, ideally with a comment. For example if you’re interested in women in tech, put that into Google, share an interesting article and say something like, “Really enjoyed this article in today’s City AM about the rise of women going into AI.”
7) Create your own content
This one is definitely a bit more scary if you’ve not done it before. But there are some great articles on LinkedIn, Medium and other blog sites. Have a read and spend an hour writing about 200 - 250 words of your own. Use hashtags at the end of it so that other people you may not know who are also interested in the subject can find your article. And if you’re on other social media channels you can share your article there too.
This word leaves most people thinking of shiny suits and dodgy canapés but networking online is so much easier. Draw up a list of the companies and people you think are influential or you’d like to work with/ for. Search for them on LinkedIn and invite them to connect. I am not suggesting you ping off an invitation to Barack Obama (yes, he’s on there and you can follow him to read his content) but think about the companies you’ve worked at previously and colleagues you’ve lost touch with. Drop them a line and ask them to connect. And while we are talking invitations, don’t let LinkedIn send their automated invite with no personalisation, especially if you don’t know the person. Tailor the invitation and tell them honestly why you want to connect. It’s hard to refuse anyone if you’ve been honest and polite. (Obviously don’t say “I’m looking for a job, do you have anything going?” – even if it’s a recruiter.
9) Get a good photo
10. Keep your profile up to date and keep active
You need to be on there as frequently as you are on other social media channels. Honestly. Make it a daily thing to spend 10 mins and see what happens. You want to be at the top of someone’s feed each day so when they are looking to work with someone who has your skills, you are the first person that comes to mind.
Click here for testimonials from people who attended our last LinkedIn programme.