My colleague Nadine Thomas wrote a series 3 Posts a while back which provide a good overview of how to get the most out of LinkedIn and I’m sharing them here for the benefit of candidates researching the benefits of Social Selling:
This is the final post in a 3 part series about getting the best out of LinkedIn for business.
Read part 1 here Read part 2 here
LinkedIn is not only the most popular social network for professionals but with more than 175 million users worldwide it is one of the top social networks overall. Other social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ may dominate the ‘buzz’ in the world of social media, but LinkedIn is one of the most powerful platforms available for business, yet is often not used to its full potential.
LinkedIn is extremely useful for business, and once you’re familiar with all the things it can do, you’ll wonder why you’ve not used it fully before. There are many ‘hidden gems’ that don’t get the exposure they deserve.
We’ve collected all the things we think will be useful to you when using LinkedIn, but there’s so much we’ve had to split it into 3 separate posts to help you digest the information.
1. Completing/optimising your personal profile
2. Company Pages
3. Using LinkedIn for Business/marketing/recruitment
Here’s Part three.
Using LinkedIn for Business/marketing/recruitment
LinkedIn offers different levels of membership (beyond the FREE version) and you can move from one to the other as often as you like. It also means that LinkedIn often change what they call them (and the pricing structure!). As at the time of writing this article for instance Rob Thomas (our MD) has a no longer offered membership level that was called “Sales Executive”, but is somewhat similar to what is now called just “Executive”. You should compare and contrast the features of each to see what best suits you (e.g. if recruiting, looking to grow your business, or find a new job!!)
Whether you’re looking for a job , advertising a vacancy, there are LinkedIn tools that can help make the process easier and may even reduce your recruitment costs.
1. Turn your profile into a CV
Did you know that LinkedIn has a resume builder tool that allows you turn your profile into a CV format in a short space of time? You just need to sign in, choose your template, make any edits and then export it. You can then print, email or share it.
2. Use LinkedIn Job Boards
Now you’ve completed your CV , use LinkedIn’s Job Board to find your ideal job. Go to Jobs at the top of your home page. You can do a general search or use the advanced search option to narrow down your search by geography, industry, function etc. The Jobs home page will even present you with suggested vacancies based on your LinkedIn profile content.
3. Advertise your vacancy with LinkedIn Jobs
You can advertise your jobs on Linkedin and get them seen more widely than perhaps the local press. The price for the advert reduces if you have multiple jobs .
4. Use LinkedIn Talent Finder to recruit
For a fee (approximately £65 per month at the moment) you can use Talent Finder to search the LinkedIn databases, find and contact on profile candidates to fill your vacancies. This can sometimes be more cost effective than using recruitment agencies.
1. Make your profile identifiable
Find out who’s viewing your profile and allow them to see who you are if you view theirs. When you’re on your profile page, if you click on ‘Who’s Viewed my profile,’ you can see who’s looked at your profile. On the free version you are limited to the last 5 people. If you are on a paid version, you not only see everyone who has viewed your profile, but also other statistics like, what level in the company they are, what keywords or geographical detail they used to find you if they searched etc. . To make sure your profile is visible go to settings and click on ‘Select what others see when they view your profile’
2. Use Openlink where appropriate
LinkedIn only allows you to send message to people that you share a 1st degree connection with, but there is a facility for premium members which allows them to receive messages from any LinkedIn member. Openlink members will have a small circle of dots alongside their name. Openlink is a useful facility, but remember, only use it if you have a valid reason for wanting to connect or contact someone. If you get reported back to LinkedIn for spamming, your account can be closed down.
3. Check your Network Updates
These can be seen on your LinkedIn homepage You should always scan them to see what your connections are up to. There can be some useful information posted here in addition to updates like job changes, promotions etc. that are relevant and give you an opportunity to get back in touch with contacts.
4. Make contact using LinkedIn groups
This is another area where the need to be a 1st degree connection is removed. You can view the profiles of other members in the same group and also send a message to them. Again, don’t forget the LinkedIn rules about contacting people – you should only contact people if you have a valid reason for doing so.
5. Set up Industry related groups and sub groups
You can use a group (and subgroups if appropriate) to establish yourself as a thought leader in your profession or industry, by posting relevant updates and information. You can grow a community of advocates and associates and generate marketing content, ideas and maybe even leads.
6. Poll and email your groups
used the polling and email facilities to find out people’s views or ideas on given topics or subjects. The results can be used to produce blog content. You can also email group members in the form of a LinkedIn Announcement which goes straight to the inbox of the group members email account. You can only send one of these a week to those members who have selected to receive such announcements. Whilst these can be very useful, use them wisely and carefully; weekly announcements that are of no real relevance to group members could result in them opting out of the group.
7. Use advanced search options
Using the advanced search options provides a much better search experience. You can specify parameters within your search that will help you find a contact. e.g if you’re looking for to contact someone from a particular company that you may already have a connection to in some way. Type the company name in your search and then specify results by relationship (1st, 2nd degree etc.).
8. Share your updates
Whilst you can no longer post your tweets to LinkedIn, you can keep your Twitter followers up to date with your LinkedIn posts – just check the Twitter box before clicking ‘share’ on your update.
9. Use the LinkedIn CRM System
(Note: Some of the places to edit may have changed since this article was first published as LinkIn frequently amends it’s User Interface [UI] however the UI is usually pretty intuitive.
This is one of those little gems that’s hidden away, but extremely useful because of the information you can store about your contacts. You can make notes about where you met someone, what you discussed or any other relevant information. On your connections page click on your contact and their profile details will appear on the right of the page. Click on ‘edit details’. Your contact’s profile information will appear in a new window. At the bottom of the window are 2 sections headed ‘Other Info’ and ‘Contact Notes’. You can type your additional information in here.
You can also tag your contacts by company, industry or other interests. When you click on the tag category on the left of your connections page all the contacts in that group will be shown. To tag your contacts, once you’ve clicked to open the profile, underneath edit details you will see tags. If your contact already has a tag allocated, that will also show. To allocate a tag, click ‘edit tags’ check the appropriate tag and click save. If you need to add a new tag, type the name of the tag into the box, click the + sign and then save.
If you can’t afford or just don’t have a CRM system, this can be brilliant for your LinkedIn contacts. Alternatively, if you already have a CRM system and don’t want to manually transfer the contact information from LinkedIn you can export your LinkedIn contacts as a csv file and then simply import them to your existing CRM systems (if they allow csv uploads).
To export your contacts go to your contacts page. At the bottom of the connections tab, click on export connections. You can export to a csv or vcf file.
One last tip is to remember to have your LinkedIn profiles (personal and company) linked to your other internet properties (blog, website, email signature etc.).
Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here
Hopefully, this post along with parts 1 & 2 has given you some useful tips about enhancing your LinkedIn presence and using it effectively for business. If you’ve got any additional tips for our readers, post them in the comments box.