Is 2022 your year to figure out LinkedIn?
I’ve heard so many people say that this is their year to make LinkedIn work for them. I applaud their enthusiasm for a platform that has allowed me to grow my business over the past two years. But I also want to ask, “what’s your strategy?”
Personally, I’ve made a lot of pronouncements like, “2022 is my year to figure out LinkedIn,” and most of those pronouncements have ended up lost in the aether with my new year’s resolution from 1996. I know that without a strategy, any pronouncement like this is nothing more than wishful thinking.
So, let’s take a moment to strategize about building your strategy.
You Already Have a System, You Just Need to Identify It
Are you a systems thinker? If you shouted “yes,” while pumping your fist into the air, that’s awesome and you probably already have your system for LinkedIn all mapped out.
If, alternatively, the above question makes you squirm in your chair, then you’re in good company. I may be one of the least systems-oriented people I’ve ever met. I HATE planning, so I prefer someone else to give me a plan. The only problem with that is I’m also a rebel, so there’s a high probability that at some point, I will want to scrap whatever plan I’m given.
This trait makes it tough to create (and commit to) systems for my business. And as much as I wish I were the kind of person who felt a great deal of urgency simply by setting some goals, neither internal nor external deadlines carry that much weight for me.
But there is hope for us non-systems thinkers! During a virtual conference all about building systems, one speaker suggested that we all have systems that we are not aware of. It’s such a simple concept and yet, it basically blew my mind.
Do you know what this means? It means you don’t have to hem and haw over building elaborate systems. All you really need to do is (1) identify the systems you’re using now and (2) build off of what you’re already doing.
And you can use this two-step process to build your strategy for figuring out how to make LinkedIn work for you. Let’s dig a little deeper.
1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
If LinkedIn is on your radar, you likely already have a profile. But you may not have updated it in a minute. You’ll want to start here. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most valuable pieces of digital real estate you have. It pays to take your time and create a profile that represents your current personal brand and business goals.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your profile:
- Do you need to update your photo?
- Do you need to update your cover?
- Is your headline SEO friendly (Hint: Type whatever title you’ve given yourself into the search bar with a # then click on the suggested hashtags to see how many followers each one has. For example, #speaker has 10,174 followers, while #coach has 20,224 followers)?
- Is your About section written in first person (I, me, my)? If it’s written in third person (she/he/they, her/him/them) like a professional bio, then you’ll want to rewrite it. Use this section to tell your story in your own words.
- Headline (Desktop): 220
- Headline (Mobile): 240
- About Section (Previously called Summary): 2,600
Should I turn on creator mode? I get this question a lot. Whenever LinkedIn rolls out a new feature, there’s typically a period of growing pains and I’d say we’ve gotten beyond that period with creator mode. So if you’re a creative entrepreneur, creator mode could work for you.
Here are some tips about using creator mode:
- Feature at least 3 posts per week on your profile.
- Choose 5 hashtags to add to your profile and make sure to use at least one of those hashtags in every post you write.
2. Analyze How You Currently Use Social Media for Your Business
You want to make LinkedIn work for you, so you’ve got to look at where LinkedIn fits in with how you’re currently using social media for your business. Are you having success on another platform and think adding LinkedIn to your repertoire would help you reach another audience? If so, can you transfer some of your time on one platform to LinkedIn? Have you taken a break from social media and are ready to dip your toes into the LinkedIn waters?
If you’ve been using LinkedIn sporadically and you’re ready to commit to being more consistent, look at when you’re most likely to open up that app. Maybe it’s when you’re waiting in the carpool lane doing school drop off. Maybe it’s when you’re traveling or networking and want to research new contacts.
Wherever you are, start with the systems you already have in place. What’s working for you now is a good starting point.
Once you have your data points, challenge yourself to build on what you’re doing already. Remember, sometimes the biggest difference between using a tool and using it effectively is the intention that you put behind that tool. I think of myself as a strong networker, for instance. But this year I’m challenging myself to create specific goals around networking to make the time I spend building relationships feed into my bigger business goals. I’m already noticing a difference.
3. Give Yourself a Networking Score
Above all, I encourage you to think of LinkedIn primarily as a networking tool. You probably don’t think of other social media platforms this way. You may think of Instagram as a great place to showcase your offers or products. You may think of Facebook as a good place to showcase your expertise in groups where you have a captive, warm audience.
On LinkedIn, you’ll want to focus on building relationships before you jump into selling. Just as you wouldn’t go up to a perfect stranger at a networking event and launch into a sales pitch, you shouldn’t do that on LinkedIn.
How do you measure success at an in-person networking event? Do you go in with the intention to meet a certain type of professional or to connect with a certain number of leads? How would you rate your networking prowess? This is the mindset you want to be successful on LinkedIn.
My advice: Before you start posting on LinkedIn, take a couple of weeks to build up your engagement muscle. Spend 10 minutes per day scrolling through your feed, stopping on whatever grabs your attention, and taking some notes about why. Then challenge yourself to leave a substantive comment on five posts per day.
Once you get involved in some conversations on LinkedIn, you’ll start to see why it’s the best social media platform for building your business. This will give you a solid foundation from which to develop your strategy.
Still not sure where to start? Why not let an expert give you a roadmap? My LinkedIn Roadmap provides an audit of your LinkedIn profile, recommendations tailored to your needs, and a one-on-one consultation where you can ask me anything.
Let’s make LinkedIn work for you!
Photo credit: https://www.123rf.com/profile_mimagephotography