In this article I provide an overview of the LinkedIn Profile for small business owners.
Your LinkedIn profile is a professional landing page for you to manage your own personal brand. It’s a great way for you to tell people who you are and what you do by showcasing the relevant components of your professional experiences and achievements.
LinkedIn is like a virtual room, and your profile is you, networking as you. I recommend you use your LinkedIn profile to add a personal touch to give people a sense of your unique approach and perspective, as well as your subject matter expertise.
The LinkedIn Profile can be leveraged as your 24/7 online ambassador. If you embrace the idea that you need to manage your online presence, then your LinkedIn profile is the place to start. It’s also how you can control the information people can find out about you online. It helps potential clients evaluate your suitability to meet their needs.
1. Optimising your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn provides a variety of features to help you meet your objectives, by leveraging your profile or the profiles of other members.
A complete LinkedIn profile can help you connect with opportunity, be found by more potential clients and referrers and is free to set up. There are many sections you can display on your profile, including:
- Profile photo
- Video cover story (via phone)
- Background photo
- Current position
- Contact Info
- About Section
- Open to: Providing services, hiring and [finding a new job, which is more relevant for job seekers than small business owners].
- Experience: Professional positions and experience, including jobs, volunteering, military, board of directors, nonprofit, or pro sports.
- Education: School and educational information.
- Recommendations: You can request professional recommendations from your peers.
- Certifications: Certifications, licenses, or clearances you’ve attained.
- Courses: Adding your body of coursework can help your education to stand out.
- Honours & Awards: Show off your hard-earned awards.
- Languages: Languages you understand or speak.
- Organisations: Show your involvement with communities that are important to you.
- Patents: Any patents you’ve applied for or received.
- Publications: Publications that have featured your work.
- Projects: Showcase the projects you’ve worked on, along with team members.
- Skills & Endorsements: A relevant list of skills on your profile helps others to understand your strengths and improves your likelihood to be found in others’ searches.
- Test Scores: List your scores on tests to highlight high achievement.
- Volunteer experience: Highlight your passions and how you have given back.
2. Stay Informed with the LinkedIn Newsfeed & Personalised Suggestions
Your LinkedIn feed contains updates from your network, companies, and interests that you follow, recommended content, and sponsored content. Your social activity on LinkedIn impacts the types of content seen in your feed. I recommend you take control of your newsfeed by curating which connections, companies and hashtags you follow and groups that you join on LinkedIn.
You can customise your feed experience to ensure you’re engaging with conversations that matter to you. Unfortunately you can not influence the promoted posts in your newsfeed. Learn how to curate your newsfeed here.
Here are some ways to control and customise the content that appears in your feed:
- Follow, unfollow, or mute people, companies, and hashtags: If you want to get updates from a member or company on your feed, you can choose to follow them. You can always unfollow or mute an individual or company if you want to no longer see updates from them on your feed.
- Tell LinkedIn what you dislike: If you see content in your feed that you don’t believe to be high-quality or relevant to you, you can hide the post by selecting I don’t want to see this from the More dropdown on the upper right of the post. Upon selecting this option, you can let LinkedIn know more details, such as not wanting to see this topic anymore. Unfortunately you can not stop receiving promoted posts, as this is how LinkedIn funds the platform and why your membership is ‘free’ (assuming you are yet to invest in LinkedIn Premium or Sales Navigator).
- Flag inappropriate content: You can report inappropriate or offensive content to help keep LinkedIn constructive and safe. Here’s how.
- Disable comments or limit commenting to 1st-degree connections: If you only want your 1st-degree connections to comment on your post, you can do so when you’re creating the post or after the post has been published.
- Sort updates: You can control if your feed shows recent updates or top updates at the top of your LinkedIn homepage. This feature is only available on the desktop experience.
- Communication settings: Some of your feed updates may be delivered as push notifications and/or emails. You can control these by customising your email settings and push notification settings.
LinkedIn’s Personalised Suggestions
LinkedIn has several features that make personalised suggestions about how you might use LinkedIn. Based on profile information, LinkedIn looks for items you and other members have in common like companies, industries, schools, and groups, and then makes suggestions that may match your interests.
Here are some features that can help you make the most of your LinkedIn experience:
- People You May Know: This feature helps identify existing LinkedIn members who you might know to help you grow your network. These usually appear in the LinkedIn feed of your homepage.
From your device, choose the 3 dots on the RH side of the Message button and select
If you choose to connect with people from your device (or desktop), remember to click into their profile and send them a personalised invite to connect (device) or send a personalised note once you send the connection request (desktop).
- Who’s Viewed Your Profile: This feature helps you understand who’s been looking at your profile and how often you’ve appeared in search results. It’s one of my favourite profile features and is a great way to start conversations with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Who’s Viewed Your Profile can be found beneath your name on the left rail of the homepage. You won’t see this feature if you haven’t had any profile views in the past 90 days or if you have a free membership and are in anonymous viewing mode. Viewing timeframes may vary over time and as people view your profile. How many views you can see will depend on whether you have a free or paid LinkedIn membership.
- People Also Viewed: This feature shows some of the profiles that viewers of your profile also looked at. People Also Viewed is usually on the right side of a member’s profile. Many of my clients choose to turn this feature off. Here’s how.
- See Who You Already Know: This feature provides a suggested path for newer members to expand their networks.
3. Expanding Your Network with the LinkedIn Community
Building your LinkedIn network is a great way to stay in touch with clients, referrers, alumni, colleagues, and recruiters, as well as connect with new, professional opportunities. Include a personal and work email, so you don’t lose access to your LinkedIn account. Members become 1st-degree connections when they accept your invitation. First-degree connections are given access to any information you’ve displayed on your profile.
There are several ways to connect with people on LinkedIn:
- Member’s profile
- Search results page
- Grow Your Network page
- My Network page
- People you may know
Your professional network is essentially a professional directory specific to each LinkedIn member, made up of the number of professionals they personally know. You can begin building your professional network by connecting with professional contacts that you know and trust.
Tips for Building Your LinkedIn Network
To start building your network, LinkedIn provides a number of free and paid tools. I’m an advocate of the free tools and encourage you to explore these options before investing in paid ones.
- Invitations: You can send an invitation to a LinkedIn member to ask them to join your network. If they accept your invitation, they’ll become a 1st-degree connection. Depending on the person’s profile settings, you may need to enter an email address to send invitations.
- InMail messages: These are private messages that allow you to directly contact any LinkedIn member who isn’t one of your 1st-degree connections, while protecting the recipient’s privacy. InMail is a Premium feature and needs to be purchased.
4. Sharing Updates from your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn homepage provides daily opportunities to learn about your network and share professional updates and content.
You can post and share content on LinkedIn using the share box at the top of the LinkedIn homepage.
Use Start a post from the main share box on the LinkedIn desktop experience to view additional sharing options.
- Use the Camera icon to share photos.
- Use the Video icon to share videos.
- Use the Document icon to share documents.
- Use Write article to publish articles (from your profile or Company page)
- You can also use the Add icon to view post suggestions.
Once you post an update, it will be shared publicly, on Twitter (if connected to your LinkedIn account – here’s how) with your connections, or with a LinkedIn Group depending on the visibility you choose.
5. Establishing Your Thought Leadership
LinkedIn remains the most popular professional networking platform with 722 million global members.
In Australia there are 6.5 million active LinkedIn users and counting.
More business leaders are spending time on LinkedIn, with 2020 member usage reporting a 55% increase in conversations among connections, a 60% increase in content creation, 15x more content impressions than job postings, and LinkedIn Live streams increasing by 437%.
In 2018 Hubspot reported LinkedIn’s conversion rate as 277% greater than Facebook for B2B brands.
If the communities you wish to influence are on LinkedIn then it’s time to master the mindset of a LinkedIn Thought Leader. To get maximum value from LinkedIn you need to commit to this platform as your first choice when you open your phone or look at your desktop each day. Why? Because showing up consistently and liking, commenting and posting value adding content is part of being a Thought Leader on LinkedIn.
In the 2019 Edelman B2B LinkedIn Thought Leadership Impact Study, 82 percent of decision-makers said thought leadership being shared by someone they know and respect is a critical factor in getting them to engage.
Cultivating your personal brand on LinkedIn also has personal benefits. Establishing your thought leadership online helps you be clearer about the impact you want to have on others and the difference you want to make for your community and, dare I say, the world!
LinkedIn Help Resources
Source: LinkedIn Help
As one of Asia Pacific’s Top 10 LinkedIn Experts I share fortnightly news with my global email community and run monthly online Lunch and Learns to teach professionals how to unlock LinkedIn. Sign up to my newsletter to help you learn LinkedIn – the right way!