In this article I provide an overview of the LinkedIn Profile for small business owners, including how to optimise your LinkedIn Profile, how to stay informed with the LinkedIn newsfeed, how to build your LinkedIn network, how to post updates and how to establish your thought leadership on LinkedIn.
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. Optimise 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
- 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]. Read How to Add Providing Services to your LinkedIn Profile.
- 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
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.
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.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.3. Expanding Your Network with the LinkedIn Community
3. Build Your LinkedIn Network
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. Post 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 Photo icon to share photos.
- Use the Video icon to share videos.
- Use Write article to publish articles (from your profile or Company page)
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. Establish Your Thought Leadership on LinkedIn
Research from LinkedIn and Edelman’s 2022 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study* found that Thought leadership is one of the most effective tools an organisation can use to demonstrate its value to customers during a tough economy – even more so than traditional advertising or product marketing, according to B2B buyers. If you’re a Marketer reading this or, perhaps you’re the HR or Communications person responsible for your organisation’s LinkedIn presence, I encourage you to work closely with the leaders of your organisation to develop a strong sense of your brand’s content pillars and ‘tone of voice’ for LinkedIn.
Read more articles about thought leaderships and developing a LinkedIn Profile strategy: