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LinkedIn

LinkedIn Profile Tips

When it comes to social marketing, LinkedIn is often overlooked in favor of Twitter or Facebook.

For most businesses – especially those in the B2B market – that’s a mistake.

If you’re not yet using LinkedIn as part of your social strategy, then you’re likely missing out on incredible opportunities.

The first thing to do when you join LinkedIn is ensure your profile is up to scratch. Here’s how to do that.

Give Yourself a Custom Profile Link

When you join LinkedIn, your profile will be given a default URL with nothing special going for it.

However, LinkedIn gives you the option of creating a custom URL. Make this URL your name, and it will look good on business cards. It will also make it easier for people to find you when they put your name into a Google search.

To change your profile’s URL, click here, then select Customize your public profile URL.

Create a Keyword Rich Profile

We all know the vital role keywords play in making your website visible on search engines. To put it simply, if you want to be found, you’ve got to have the keywords on your site that people are searching for. Otherwise, you’re effectively invisible.

The same is true on LinkedIn. Want your profile to be found? Then you need to include search keywords in your profile.

You can include keywords in your headline, summary, job titles, and job descriptions. A keyword-heavy headline is particularly effective at drawing a crowd.

Collect LinkedIn Recommendations

As anyone in the world of marketing knows, social proof is one of the most effective weapons when it comes to selling anything.

What is social proof? It’s endorsements of your brand by real people. This could be testimonials from customers published on your website. It could be having thousands of Twitter followers. Or it could just be that people are talking about your brand, passing on their positive experiences of your company by word-of-mouth.

Think of this way. Everyone expects you to toot your own trumpet. So any claims you make about yourself are likely to be treated with an element of caution. When when others toot your trumpet, then people sit up and listen.

Recommendations are how you build up your social proof on LinkedIn. You can ask any of your connections to write you a recommendation. Or, just start writing recommendations for others. Many people will respond in kind.

Over to You

What are your best tips for improving a LinkedIn profile? Let us know in the comments section, below.

LinkedIn Attention

LinkedIn is the professional network to help you get ahead. So it’s a good idea if your profile stands out from the crowd – as long as you stand out for the right reasons.

Getting noticed can be easier than you think. As long as you’re willing to devote a few minutes each day to the network, then you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what to do.

1. Make the First Move

Instead of waiting for people to notice you, show you’ve noticed them.

Whenever you meet someone, in the real world or online, add him or her as a LinkedIn contact. Be sure to write a personalized message when you send out the contact request. That starts a conversation.

Additionally, when people add you as a contact, drop them a message to say hello. Again, this starts a conversation.

When your name’s in someone’s inbox, you really stand out.

2. Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations are LinkedIn’s version of testimonials. They get other people to sing your praises – which is far more effective than singing your own.

To get recommendations, reach out and ask for them. You can even let people know which skills and experience you’d like the recommendation to focus on.

And if you’re too shy to ask? Give out testimonials to others, and you’ll get them in return.

3. Stay Active

The more you do on LinkedIn, the more people you’ll meet, and the more you’ll get noticed.

Two easy things you can do every day are:

  • Hang out in groups. Choose 3-5 groups to focus on. Every day, post something in each group, or respond to someone else’s post.
  • Share an interesting article or video. Sharing one or two items to your LinkedIn feed each day is plenty.

4. Frequently Tweak Your Headline

Your headline is how you get noticed on LinkedIn. It’s what people see whenever you join a conversation in a LinkedIn group or post an update to your LinkedIn feed.

So your headline needs to grab attention.

Tweak it often, and you’ll see which headlines perform best. As an added bonus, each time you update your headline, your contacts on LinkedIn receive an email. It’s a double-win for getting noticed.

5. Focus on Your Achievements

Yes, you should list all your past roles. But rather than providing a detailed job description (yawn!), write about the results you created for your employer or client.

You can do this even for relatively simple jobs such as retail – e.g. “I served 200 customers and handled $10,000 per day.”

Hint: If you want your achievements to make people go “wow!”, always include relevant numbers.

Over to You

What do you do to stand out on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Easy Social Media

What’s the secret to coming up with a social media strategy that really works?

A few months back we shared our Tweety Pie Formula for developing an effective Twitter strategy.

The three step Tweety Pie Formula is:

  1. Test Your Strategy
  2. Tweak Your Strategy (Based on the feedback from your test)
  3. Go back to step 1.

You can read more about the Tweety Pie formula here. Although we called it a Tweety Pie strategy (as a pun on Twitter), the process can be applied to all social networks: Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and so on.

It’s a great process for discovering what works on social media at engaging your audience and getting your brand out there. Having an agile strategy that’s always in development is the only way to keep up with the constant changes in technology when it comes to social media.

That said, the Tweety Pie Formula has two key flaws:

  • Strategy creation. How do you come up with a social media strategy in the first place? Where do you get ideas from? How do you know if your idea is a good one?
  • Strategy tweaking. Where do you get ideas from to tweak your strategy? This is especially the case if your strategy requires more of a “back to the drawing board” rethink than a few subtle tweaks.

So how can you come up with an effective and unique strategy? There are a few different ways. Here are two that are relatively common. They’re good, but not the best.

You can sit at your desk and think. There’s a lot to be said for this, and many people in today’s world don’t spend enough time reflecting. Time to think is vital for creativity to blossom. However, sitting and thinking is time consuming, and aside from your own best guess there’s no way of knowing whether your ideas are any good. Of course you can test your ideas, but wouldn’t it be better to start with ideas that you know have a good chance of succeeding?

You can read social media blogs. Just like you’re doing now! As with sitting down to think, this is a great way of coming with social media strategies. By reading about what works, you’ll have a good idea of where to start with your social media campaigns. But if you only take your ideas from what other people have written, your social media strategy will look just like everyone else’s. You’re only doing the tried and tested. You have no way of standing out from the crowd.

Thinking and reading blogs are both good ways of coming up with social media strategies. But what you come up with might not work, and it’s unlikely to be unique. There is another way.

What is this way?

We’ll take our first clue from an astronomer, Carl Sagan, whose pithy advice extended to baking. Sagan said:

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”

In other words, it’s impossible to make an apple pie “from scratch”. To bake an apple pie, you need apples, flour, butter, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and so on. To get these ingredients, you need a store. A store gets them from suppliers, who get them from farmers, who create their produce from the land. The land itself is part of the earth, which is part of the solar system, which is part of the universe.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not planning to invent the universe from scratch anytime soon.

As with apple pies, you can’t create a social media strategy “from scratch”. However you come up with your strategy, you’ve got to use certain ingredients. You can’t tweet without a computer, an internet connection, and a Twitter account.

For more advanced and successful tweeting, you might add strategies such as content curation, hashtags and monitoring stats.

Already, you’re starting to mix up ingredients to make a tasty social media pie. Chances are, if you’re using a good set of ingredients, you’re already doing enough to be successful. But you’re pretty much like all other brands out there. You’re doing the same things everyone else does. Your pie tastes just like theirs.

What ingredients can you add to make your pie extra special?

Occasionally, if you’re very lucky, you’ll come up with an original idea for your social media strategy that will smash your engagement out of the park.

But even if your idea looks original to you, you didn’t create it from scratch. You need a ton of already-existing ingredients to make it happen. And coming up with unique ideas using your mind-power alone is always going to be time consuming.

So, what can you do to really get ahead, the lazy way?

Let’s take another quote, this time from filmmaker Jim Jarmusch.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.'”

That’s right. Our advice for creating an unique social media strategy is to be a copycat.

Let’s say you sell sports shoes. We’re not saying you should head over to Nike’s Twitter feed and share the exact same tweets they do.

What we are saying is you should be keeping a close eye on the Twitter feeds of all your competitors, and of successful brands outside your niche. When you see them do something that’s getting them attention, or that’s not quite working but that you think has potential with just a few tweaks, incorporate that approach into your social media strategy.

The uniqueness of your strategy won’t come from having an original idea. Instead, it will come from the way you combine the ingredients you’ve picked from all over the place into your own tasty pie.

Remember – it’s not where you take things from. It’s where you take them to. And it’s how you mix them together to create something unique.

Here’s an overview of the copycat’s social media strategy:

  • Pay attention to what others in your niche are doing on social media.
  • Also keep in the loop about what brands outside your niche are doing on social media.
  • When you see a big success, or an idea that grabs your attention, note it down.
  • Think about how you can incorporate that idea into your social media strategy.
  • Ask yourself: how can I do this better? Take the ideas you’ve found, and add your own unique twist.

No more backing apple pies from scratch, which is an impossible task in any case.

A final word of warning. While it’s totally okay to model your social media strategy on what others are doing, it’s not okay to do anything that breaks copyright laws. Don’t steal content or images from others. It’s not clever or cool.

Now, go find some taste ingredients, and get baking!