How to Maximise LinkedIn in 2018

I’m enjoying watching LinkedIn make the transition from being the ugly duckling to the swan. Okay, okay, there’s still quite a few features LinkedIn could clean up before we are in swan territory, but the changes over the last 12 months, since Microsoft bought LinkedIn, have certainly started to catch people’s attention, especially users who like the video feature.

If you’ve enjoyed previous articles I’ve written about LinkedIn, you’ll know I do not put it in the ‘social media’ category along with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The reason for this is that, at it’s heart, LinkedIn is a rich database that is used by recruiters to find candidates and by sales people to find clients. It’s a professional networking platform where you can stay connected to colleagues, past and present.

Linkedin’s also become a source of industry news for many, with Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, believing we are all busy professionals and so need our news curated for us (hence the algorithms based on the content we engage with and the information we provide LinkedIn via our profiles).

Importantly, LinkedIn has well and truly entrenched its role as THE place to position your professional brand and is a critical touch point for business whether you are in the B2C (business to consumer), B2B (business to business) or the H2H (human to human) space.

It’s my hope today to share with those who are new to LinkedIn, those who have used it for some time and for the advanced users to consider my suggestions for how you can maximise LinkedIn for your professional goals in 2018.

LinkedIn Beginners – Take Your Online Profile Seriously

If you are yet to step onto the online world (I know there are some of you who are very proud of not having a Facebook account), then LinkedIn is a logical first step to take control of the information people can find out about you online. LinkedIn’s not your resume. Your LinkedIn profile is, at it’s most basic level, a snapshot of your knowledge and experience. It’s a great way to stay in touch with colleagues, past and present, while not having to reveal too much about yourself personally.

If you’re one of the 20% of Australians who do not have a LinkedIn Profile, please check out my resources for your Individual LinkedIn Strategy. These articles explain more about how LinkedIn can assist your professional goals and includes topics such as the importance of a profile photo and how to add a background image.

LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with colleagues, past and present Click To Tweet

Intermediate LinkedIn Users – Embrace Personal Branding

If you’ve been a fan for LinkedIn for some time, but have not quite finished your profile or pressed publish on your LinkedIn Article, or like so many people I meet, have a number of draft blogs in Word (or your head), it’s time to lift your online game in 2018!

Embracing Personal Branding can help you make your next career move and be discovered by potential clients and influencers who matter. I understand it can be uncomfortable to step into the limelight. To help you get more comfortable with developing your personal branding in 2018, please read my journey with developing my personal brand in 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online.

The mistake you can make when updating your profile and telling your story on LinkedIn is to compare yourselves to others and be a version of the leader in your industry. This is distracting and unproductive, because your super power is being you!

I believe it is dangerous and limiting to compare yourself to others and much more productive to consider who you are trying to influence and in what way you can help them. Take some time to think about what is unique about you and what it is that others value about your approach. Perhaps even ask your favourite clients and colleagues why they value working with you. I’m confident you will be pleasantly surprised by just how much value your unique style adds to those around you.

The mistake you can make on LinkedIn is to compare yourselves to others. Click To Tweet

To help give you a sense of how I’ve started to become clearer about who I am and how I add value to my community you may like to read this article about my journey with discovering I had ambivert tendencies and this article about discovering what it means to be Australian.

Each year, as I continue to ‘shed the shoulds’, I feel myself drawing closer to who I am. While this might sound strange, it is a concept that resonates with my favourite clients, who are thoughtful and quieter folk wishing to make a difference in their roles and business.

Find out more about how to discover who you with my popular self reflection tools, used with career and business coaching clients, the Who Am I Reflection Exercise.

2018 Action: Consider micro stories and LinkedIn Publishing

For intermediate LinkedIn users ready to share more of themselves on LinkedIn (beyond the words in your profile), you may like to consider the role of writing micro stories on LinkedIn. Here is an example below.

Publishing LinkedIn Articles are also a powerful way to share your opinion and position your expertise and insight via your LinkedIn Profile and with your connections on LinkedIn. If you already write a blog on your website, perhaps choose the most relevant and topical article you have written this month, or in the last 3 months, and share it as a LinkedIn Article, via your profile. To learn more about how to publish a LinkedIn Article, please read this article.

Advanced LinkedIn Users

Considering paid memberships is ultimately how you can unlock the deep insights available via LinkedIn’s database about the more than 500 million members globally. In Australia, 4 out of 5 professionals are on LinkedIn. While these are not all active users, a recent report by LinkedIn of 10,000 UK and US members indicate that entrepreneurs are very active on LinkedIn and much more responsive to InMails than other member types.

Considering paid memberships is ultimately how you can unlock the deep insights available Click To Tweet

LinkedIn offers a Social Selling Index to assess how well you are performing against 4 key criteria on LinkedIn, including:

  1. Establishing your Professional Brand
  2. Finding the Right People
  3. Engaging with Insights
  4. Building Relationships

You will hear a lot more about Social Selling in 2018 and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator premium member option plays a key role in helping you identify ‘trigger’ events that help you start a conversation with your prospects. Find out what your LinkedIn Social Selling Index is here. At the time of writing, mine was 83, and 100% for Establishing Your Professional Brand and Building Relationships.

You will hear a lot more about Social Selling in 2018 Click To Tweet

The Future of LinkedIn

Social Media Today gave LinkedIn their ‘crystal ball treatment’ in this article, predicting what may be coming in 2018 for LinkedIn. They highlighted Linkedin’s improved data options and expansive professional dataset, as being a huge opportunity for LinkedIn to become the essential platform for human resource professionals and job seekers everywhere. They predict some big advances in this area in 2018.

The next level will be more in-depth, more all-encompassing, using LinkedIn’s available insights to full advantage.

Social Media Today also predicts further integration of LinkedIn functions into Microsoft’s apps in 2018, particularly their Enterprise offerings, making it easier for those businesses using Microsoft’s tools to gain more insights and assistance from LinkedIn, with reminders about career insights, commonalities, topics of interest – all triggers to help improve interactions with prospective customers based on their listed information.

In this Venture Beat article we read that LinkedIn is working to train all of its engineers on the basics of implementing artificial intelligence as part of the company’s drive to make its professional social network smarter.

The company has launched an AI academy for its engineers to give them a grounding in the basics of implementing artificial intelligence. The idea is that this will make it possible for them to deploy intelligent models in the company’s products.

Venture Beat asserts that distributing AI knowledge across LinkedIn’s entire organisation could help the company keep up with its demand for intelligent capabilities.

Unlock LinkedIn

Wherever you are in your LinkedIn Journey, Think Bespoke offers a variety of resources to help you maximise LinkedIn in 2018. Please enjoy our articles and resources by visiting the START HERE section of our website.

Thank you for reading my insights. As a storyteller, I help quieter and thoughtful folk communicate better online (and offline). I enjoy the complexity of people and helping others through my coaching, training and online courses. Find out more about Think Bespoke’s LinkedIn Services. You can subscribe to my newsletter here where you will receive a complimentary download of Think Bespoke’s LinkedIn Profile Checklist to help you update your LinkedIn Profile.