When I left University, I must admit that I didn’t really understand the point of LinkedIn. It’s just your CV online surely? Why would complete strangers want to know about the D I got in my General Studies AS Level at 17? Social Media is for my personal life, not professional.
I was very wrong. I am now 4 years out of University, working as a Marketing Manager, and can honestly say that I have no idea how I would have done my job without LinkedIn. I now tell every single career-focused woman that they have to be on LinkedIn – whether they have just started their first part-time job as a shop assistant, are still studying or have 20 years experience in their industry.
If I want to work with someone professionally, and I can’t find them on LinkedIn, I don’t really believe that they exist! That may sound silly, but I want to check their credentials, their experience and knowledge. Especially in particular fields – I once knew an owner of a marketing company who wasn’t on LinkedIn – how can I expect you to teach me social media skills if you aren’t part of it yourself? Read our points below to get you started.
Yes your LinkedIn profile, is essentially your CV online for the world to see. It’s important to keep this up-to-date and impressive for potential employers, suppliers and partners to find you and engage.
This is your place of the internet to really showcase what you can do – make sure you have a profile photo and cover photo, and include videos, projects, presentations throughout.
LinkedIn allows you to keep and maintain relationships any business contacts you make. I can’t stress enough how important this is! When you exchange business cards with someone, how many times does that card go into a bag or a drawer, never to be looked at for another 6 months?
Alternatively, if you connect with them on LinkedIn after that networking event, whenever you post on your newsfeed they are reminded of you and your services. Whenever you like one of their posts, you will be front of their mind. It’s a subconscious and extremely easy way to build touch points with potential customers and partners.
I have people on LinkedIn that I have never met, but we interact regularly on each others posts, so it feels like we know each other. When I am looking for a service – for example a printing company – I will go back through my connections to see who I know to contact. More so than googling a new company in the area.
In my final module at University, our professor made it 10% of our grade to sign up to LinkedIn and add all of our classmates. At the time I thought this was ridiculous, but now 4 years later I can scroll through and see which companies and industries people ended up, and get back in touch if I need too.
Similar to Facebook, your LinkedIn newsfeed contains statuses, articles, videos and images posted by your connections, usually about the company they work for, or their own career. It is always worth spending 5 minutes a day scrolling through and engaging with your connections posts. As mentioned previously, this enables you to be at the forefront of their mind continuously, leading to new work or referrals.
Furthermore, use your Newsfeed for your own benefit. I frequently post about my own business I run alongside my job, and gain on average 30 likes from my connections – as a result, they get over 300 views per post – 10x more than Facebook. The platform is very powerful for gaining new business, or finding a new job. It’s a very supportive environment.
Building Your Network
What I have found most beneficial from LinkedIn, is finding the people I want to talk too. It literally allows you to search for people by job title, location and industry – providing you with a list of your target market.
I used to run events and was often looking for new upcoming, speakers to take part. LinkedIn provided me with the opportunity to search for a “speaker specialised in digital”, look at their profile and drop them a message straight away. This works in any B2B industry to find who you want to talk too. You can even go onto a company’s page and view all of their employees, if you are unsure which job title you are after.
Joining groups of people within certain industries, or particular interests makes your networking even more streamlined. For example, I joined a group of “Marketing Managers in London” – a great way to post in their asking for advice or opinions on things I was doing. Alternatively, I could join groups of my target market and start interacting with them regularly.
The most important thing is to realise that LinkedIn is just human interaction. It is about connecting, networking and engaging with others to find out what they do, if you can help them and vice versa. Introduce your connections who can help each other, celebrate people’s achievements and be nice! Building your network is vital to your career – the more you put in, the more you get out.