As the world’s largest network of professionals, LinkedIn now has over 575 million members in 200 countries and territories worldwide. According to the latest data from We Are Social’s Global Digital Report 2018, LinkedIn has around 294 million visitors every month.
And based on the survey from the Business Insider Intelligence, LinkedIn garners the highest overall digital trust ranking among social media platforms in 2018.
As we know, trust is a critical factor that social media users consider when deciding where to go and which platform to grow their career or business.
With over half a billion professionals on LinkedIn and with its high digital trust rating, it won’t be hard to see LinkedIn’s value in helping you achieve your career or business goals.
LinkedIn is a one-stop place for building your professional brand
In the past, LinkedIn is seen as a job search tool or a job portal. People who needed jobs created their “online CVs” on LinkedIn and hoped someone would contact them.
But LinkedIn has evolved a lot since it was founded in 2003 by Reid Hoffman. LinkedIn is now a one-stop place where professionals and entrepreneurs could build their personal brands, build relationships with other professionals and create opportunities for themselves and for those in their network.
Yes, you can definitely search for jobs on LinkedIn; however, LinkedIn’s massive value to job seekers is not the list of jobs available, but the tons of opportunities waiting for those who are willing to do the hard work in achieving their goals.
To get you started, here are the five ways you can leverage LinkedIn for success:
1. PERSONAL BRANDING
Where do you see yourself five or 10 years from now? This may sound like a common interview question, but this is a powerful question that can help you discover what exactly you want to do to grow as a professional.
Whatever you do right now, you can always brand yourself for the job that you want and for the career path that you’d like to create for yourself.
Don’t confine yourself with your current job title and job description. By building a strong presence here on LinkedIn, you can bring to life your dream career.
Among the influencers with powerful personal brands include Richard Branson, Tony Robbins, Amy Cuddy, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. If you’re not familiar with any of them, check them out and you’ll be amazed at what a strong brand can do to a person’s career and business.
Of course, you don’t have to be like them. There’s no one like them. And there’s no one like you, too! Your uniqueness, authenticity and story will make you stand out.
If you want to take your career to the next level, it’s your job to find your unique voice, discover your strengths and position yourself in the market and in the industry.
And LinkedIn is a powerful tool in building a strong personal brand. Remember what Tom Peters said when he coined the term ‘personal branding’ over 20 years ago:
We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. – Tom Peters
2. COMPANY BRANDING OR EMPLOYER BRANDING
These days, even large companies understand the value of STANDING OUT in the market. Every company wants to attract and retain the best talent. And finding the “perfect fit” especially for hard-to-fill positions has become one of the challenges that companies face.
Because modern job seekers are doing their research before they apply, companies who would like to boost their recruiting experience and find the best talent invest in having a winning employer brand.
In the post above, Nike uses its LinkedIn company page to take its followers inside its headquarters through a compelling video. This tactic can help tell Nike’s story and create a positive company image that every talent would want to be a part of. That’s very powerful.
If your company hasn’t started leveraging LinkedIn for branding, let your company executives and recruiters know that you can build a strong company brand on LinkedIn in many ways including:
- Showing off your company culture.
- Ensuring that key employees or everyone in the company has a strong presence on LinkedIn and that their professional branding is aligned with the company branding.
- Encouraging employees to share relevant content that positions themselves as industry leaders.
Company branding is best done on LinkedIn through LinkedIn’s Career Pages. Also, an optimized LinkedIn company page can help you generate qualified leads.
What happens when an employee brand is aligned with the employer brand?
A strong employer brand combined with a strong employee presence helps not only in recruitment, but also in generating product interest. How is this possible?
LinkedIn members engage with humans, not with logos or companies. So if your key employees can demonstrate their expertise in the industry and build relationships, expect them to generate leads.
3. LEAD GENERATION
If your business is struggling to find quality leads and to keep your sales pipeline full, LinkedIn can be a game changer for you. And if you’re in the B2B space and you’re not leveraging LinkedIn, it’s very clear that you’re leaving money on the table.
LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for lead generation. Marketers consider LinkedIn as the best lead generation tool that enable them to generate over 80% of their leads, much higher than the results they get from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ combined.
Start your lead generation efforts with LinkedIn Sales Navigator
You can use different touch points on LinkedIn to generate leads, but if you want highly qualified leads, start with a smart search using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find your ideal customers.
Sales Navigator has up to 23 filters to help you narrow down your search results and find your ideal customers.
Being crystal clear with your ideal customers is key to your lead generation success, so take the time to really figure out who you want to target.
4. SOCIAL SELLING
Social selling is a sales strategy that leverages your network by building relationships and establishing your LinkedIn presence until your target customers are ready to buy or to refer you to their own network.
It all starts with finding your ideal customers using Sales Navigator, making yourself “visible” to them, and then connecting with them.
You can also opt to connect right after you’ve found them using the Sales Navigator, but if you want your connection request to be noticed and get accepted, by all means, personalize your message.
It takes less than two minutes to personalize a message, and if you’re serious about connecting, it’s worth every second of your time.
So what will you do after connecting?
What you do after your connection request has been accepted is critical to converting leads to sales. If you tend to sell right away, you need a mindset shift.
LinkedIn is not a place to sell upfront but a place to win sales or referrals by getting your network know, like and trust you.
Yes, people buy from those they know, like and trust. You need a clear strategy in place to achieve that know-like-trust factor.
Start by building relationships. Accept the fact that you can’t rush relationship building. You can’t expect people to like and trust you if you send your sales pitch complete with your PDFs after connecting. That’s a surefire way to ruin your chance of getting a sale or a referral.
5. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Using LinkedIn’s publishing platform, which is absolutely free, you can create original content to build your authority and amplify your voice. Being a thought leader takes time and requires a lot of efforts along with a clear content strategy.
Your first step here is to complete and optimize your LinkedIn profile highlighting your relevant achievements. Add social proof that will help you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
With a clear LinkedIn content strategy that includes curating and creating original content on a regular basis, you can position yourself as a resource person and the go-to expert in your industry.
These types of content work well on LinkedIn:
- Educational content – LinkedIn members want to learn and find out how they can be more successful in their roles. Your how-to articles or any useful content in a list form will be loved.
- Inspirational or motivational content – No doubt, inspirational or motivational videos, texts or images can help you get remembered. Just make sure that the content you share will be consistent with your branding and your voice.
- Stories of failures and successes – Unlike what most people think, LinkedIn isn’t too serious and isn’t all about the technical aspects of your career or business. Success stories and lessons from failures have a huge audience on LinkedIn, and if your target customers could relate, you’ll get their attention.
The content you create will not only help in establishing yourself as a thought leader, but will also help push your target customers down the sales funnel.
To summarize, here are the five ways again:
- Personal Branding
- Employer Branding
- Lead Generation
- Social Selling
- Thought Leadership
A combination of these five or better yet doing all these five in a strategic fashion can help you accelerate your success and get found by opportunities you might not have thought possible.
There are many other ways you can use LinkedIn for success, but the critical part is having in your mind a clear picture of what success looks like to you. Having clarity on what you want to achieve will help you develop a cohesive strategy that generates your desired results.