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It’s easy to treat LinkedIn like a RonCo Rotisserie. Join the network, complete your profile, add a few connections and then…nothing. Just set it and forget it.
Let’s look again. LinkedIn members – affluent, ambitious and influential professionals – are the sweet spot for many of us service providers.
Don’t abandon LinkedIn to the job seekers and recruiters of the world. It’s too powerful to languish alone and forlorn while you’re creeping on Facebook profiles or buying Google Adwords.
Surf the interwebs and you’ll find advice o’plenty on LinkedIn basics like setting up your profile and showcasing your expertise with Applications. The real question is how you can leverage LinkedIn to bring in the benjamins?
Here are three ways that you can strategically use LinkedIn to grow your business.
1. Drive more traffic to your website.
Social networks are fantastic for well, networking. But they shouldn’t be the final destination for your interested prospects. (FIYF Rule: Never build your empire on real estate you don’t own.) Instead, draw more LinkedIn members to your website.
Create a custom url. Upgrade that randomly generated string of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns when you sign up and boost your personal brand awareness with a custom url.
- Go to Settings and click “Edit your public profile.”
- In the “Your public profile URL” box on the right, click the “Customize your public profile URL” link.
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click Set Custom URL.
Customize links to your website(s) with calls to action. LinkedIn lets you display links to three websites on your profile. And while LinkedIn offers several selections for you to designate the website content, you can juice them up even more with calls to action (that’s marketer speak for “tell ’em what to do.”) For example, instead of the LinkedIn-provided label “blog” I’ve customized my blog link: Weekly fame-boosting biz tips . This gives visitors a reason to click the link.
2. Get your good stuff out there.
LinkedIn provides lots of ways to pimp your profile with reading lists, events, polls and more. These profile accessories, known as Applications give visitors even more insight to who you are and what you could do for them.
Add your blog to your profile. Let your connections know about the great content that you’re publishing! To feed your blog into your LinkedIn profile, select More on the main navigation bar, then select Applications. On the Applications page, choose either the WordPress or the BlogLink application and enter the link to your feed.
Add Projects to your profile. LinkedIn has quite a few cool ways to customize your profile with add-on sections like Certifications, Languages, and Honors and Awards. The Projects section lets you take your current job or company profile and put it on steroids with more skills and details.
But here’s a powerful tweak: make your project a case study of some really awesome feat you accomplished for a client. Have you just published a book like my friends Kelli Gilpin and Josh Miles? Add your book as a project. Be sure to include the url to either a dedicated book page on your website or to Amazon.
3. Competitive research.
Love stalking like I do? Put that passion to work in your business by conducting a little cyber research on prospects or competitors.
First, go incognito. Want your research to remain on the down low? Go into stealth mode before you start. Make your profile anonymous by going to your name in the upper right corner of your screen. Choose Settings>Privacy Controls> Select what others can see when you’ve viewed their profile.
From there, you’ve got three choices – name and headline, industry and title or totally anonymous. Change your setting, do your stalking, but don’t forget to change it back when you’re done!
Stalk your competitors. Check out their profiles, their connections if you can (it’ll depend on that person’s profile settings), the groups to which they belong.
Find Prospects and Influencers. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s much overlooked Advanced Search function to find prospects in your geographic area, or by job title or industry. In the Search bar on the upper right of your profile, click on the Advanced link. At the next screen, you’ll be able to search using keywords, titles, companies, geographic locations, industries, seniority and more.
Voila! Three ways to use LinkedIn strategically for your business. Got a tip that blows these away? Leave it in the comments below. And if we’re not connected on LinkedIn, let’s remedy that!
Your fame boosting assignment:
This week, jump back into LinkedIn and try one of the three ideas I shared. You can make it happen in your business!