LinkedIn is a powerful tool to move your business forward. However, just as using GPS to navigate most efficiently to your destination, having a strategic plan on LinkedIn will help you achieve your goals with precise focus.
I want to introduce you to three key strategies to help you stand out from your competitors on LinkedIn.
Elevate Your Professional Brand
You have only a few seconds to make a strong impression and pique interest. Ensure your LinkedIn profile represents your professional brand in the best possible light.
To build authority, it's essential to ensure your profile shines a spotlight on your uniqueness.
- Start with your photo. Use a recent, recognizable, and professional image.
- Write an attention-grabbing headline that resonates with your ideal audience beyond just your job title.
- Add a header banner image to align with your professional brand. This is a great opportunity to stand out, as most people leave it blank.
- Include a clear and concise ‘about’ section highlighting your value to your clients.
- Triple-check that all your contact information is up-to-date.
Your LinkedIn executive profile is a forward-looking view of how you want to be perceived rather than a clone of your resume. Pay attention to the following areas that build trust and credibility:
- Top Card: is your current company and education showing correctly?
- Featured Section: are you showing the most recent and relevant content regularly, and do you change it?
- Experience: is your profile correctly connected to the company pages of each entity showing their correct logos?
- Recommendations - are the recent and relevant?
- Education & professional affiliations - are they correctly connected to the entity pages and up to date?
Optimizing these areas will enhance your visibility in searches and help you connect with your relevant audience.
PRO TIP: Conduct competitive research by searching LinkedIn for profiles using your job title and other criteria to determine how similar profiles compare. Look at their profiles, their activity, and the content they share.
Expand Your Network
Your network plays a significant role in your overall LinkedIn experience, impacting your ability to direct message people and the content the algorithm delivers in your news feed.
Build with Intention
Even though building your network is important, that is not the same thing as connecting with anyone and everyone. It is okay to be selective. Be discerning about accepting invitations you receive. Take the time to identify that the account you are connecting with is a real person and not a fake profile.
You can grow your network proactively by reaching out to people such as the followers of your company page, speakers at events you attend or host, and members of associations or professional groups you belong to. And if you are publishing a LinkedIn Newsletter, connecting with subscribers is another way to further the relationship.
You can also connect with people based on the content they share.
Know Your Audience
Whenever you reach out to someone to connect, take time to let them know what about their profile inspired you to connect.
Think about the different categories of your network, such as work colleagues, clients, university alumni, noted industry experts, vendors, and competition. Having something in common will increase your chances of acceptance of an invitation.
PRO TIP: Use Sales Navigator to conduct searches and build target lists of people (leads) and companies (accounts).
Engage Your Most Powerful Relationships
Now that you have curated a strong network and have an updated profile that shows you in your best light, it is time to engage. Use content to build authority and demonstrate your subject-matter expertise.
- Share informative and relevant content with your network.
- Create bookmarks of your most valued connections. Add insightful comments to their posts.
- Commenting on posts is a great way to get started if you don't have original content. People learn from comments.
- Regularly download your database and review your connections to identify opportunities for engagement or job changes.
- Stay in touch by sending direct messages to connections you haven't spoken to recently. Think about how you would engage with them and apply that to your outreach strategy.
Avoid using automation and the temptation to immediately make a pitch when connecting, as that will risk getting your account suspended. Take the time to do your research. Share educational and insightful content that aligns with your prospects' most relevant pain points. By doing so, you'll position yourself as a valuable resource, so when the time is right, they will look to you for the solution.
PRO TIP: Use Sales Navigator filters to see which prospects have posted in the past 30 days. Look at their posts and add a comment before you send an invitation to connect. Doing so will increase your invitation acceptance rate because it shows you have an interest in their content.
To succeed on LinkedIn, it's essential to have a strategic plan in place. You wouldn't venture out on a trip without a map, so the same holds true on LinkedIn.
Elevate your professional brand, expand your network thoughtfully, and engage with your connections through valuable content. Consistency and best practices over time will set you apart from your competitors on LinkedIn.
© 2023 Judi Hays. All Rights Reserved
Portions of this article are excerpted from the book Elevate Expand Engage
ABOUT JUDI RADICE HAYS
Judi Radice Hays is a sought-after certified LinkedIn strategist, author of 'Elevate, Expand, Engage,' a Refreshingly Different Approach to Winning on LinkedIn’ and regular Forbes contributor.
Judi is known for successfully turning underperforming LinkedIn profiles into prospect-attracting powerhouses. Judi helps business executives identify their audience, elevate their LinkedIn profile and personal brand.
Judi consults with businesses that sell high-ticket professional services in high-trust selling environments. Through her proprietary methods, Judi guides her clients strategy to build authority, credibility, and trust which ultimately leads to increased revenue with her expertise.
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