LinkedIn Best Practices For Business
16 Pro Tips To Help You Shine
By David Erickson | UPDATED: 5/6/2020
LinkedIn is a killer business app.
In addition to networking, it is a wonderful tool for both business intelligence and business development. But LinkedIn is, first and foremost, about individuals.
So, many of these points will address how individual people can use LinkedIn for business purposes rather than how a business itself can use LinkedIn.
Companies can make the best use of it through their employees. That is because LinkedIn is a superb tool for creating, developing, and maintaining business relationships.
It can be used to create awareness of yourself among those who do not know you but whom you'd like to know, i.e. potential clients or customers.
And it is a superb tool through which you can demonstrate your company's competence and expertise in order to establish the trust upon which business relationships depend.
16 Tips For Using LinkedIn For Business
This, then, is my list of LinkedIn best practices:
1. Find Who You Know
Start with your existing contacts by letting LinkedIn sync your email address book to find out who you know is on LinkedIn. Don't worry, LinkedIn won't automatically send requests to your contacts; you can choose to whom you want to send a request.
This also helps get you visitiblity though LinkedIn's suggestion algorithm of who you might want to know.
As you add more contacts to your address book, LinkedIn will recognize them and likely recommend you to those contacts.
2. Personalize Your URL
Change your LinkedIn profile URL from the default of your name followed by an unsightly collection of numbers to just your name. This helps people find you when they search for your name within LinkedIn as well as in Google and other search engines.
3. Email Signature Marketing
Include your LinkedIn URL in your email signature to make it easy for people with whom you correspond to connect with you on that platform.
4. Picture Yourself
As I stated above, LinkedIn is about individuals so it looks dodgy when someone's LinkedIn profile has a faceless silhouette rather than an actual photograph. Photographs personalize your profile.
5. Ask & Ye Shall Receive Connections
Whenever you have interactions with people, ask them if they're on LinkedIn and if they'd like to connect.
I often send LinkedIn requests shortly after a business meeting in which everyone swaps cards. You've got their name and contact info, so it will be easy to find and connect with them on LinkedIn. Considering you've just met with them, they likely have an interest in creating a relationship.
6. Complete Your Profile: The More You Give, The More You Get
Fill out as much of your profile as you can.
The more information you put in, the more relationships you're making in LinkedIn's database and by doing so, you're creating more opportunities for people to find you.
For example, by including former employers on your profile, you will be connected to other LinkedIn users who have worked for that company. Same with colleges: by including the colleges you attended, you'll be connected to others who have attended the same college.
This gives LinkedIn more insight into when to recommend you to relevant people.
7. Think Like Your Prospects
If they know you or know who you are, people will search LinkedIn by your name in order to find your profile.
But if people are looking for expertise, they will likely be using topical searches such as "public relations professional" or "SEO expert."
Think about who it is you want to attract and how they might be using LinkedIn to find someone like you.
8. Research Keywords
As you put yourself in the mind of the people by whom you want to be found, think about what searches they'd perform on LinkedIn in order to find you.
Build up a list of those keywords and search phrases that are relevant to who you are and use them throughout your profile.
9. Don't Hide
All your search engine optimization will go to waste if you hide your profile.
The two things that people do when researching business associates they have not met is Google them and search for their LinkedIn profile.
Change the settings on your profile to "Full View" so your profile can be fully indexed by the search engines.
10. Link To Your Profile
If you have a Web site or a blog or a Twitter account or other social media profiles, link to your LinkedIn profile from them.
If possible, use your name in the text of the link. This helps the search engines find you and, if you've got a fairly common name (like David Erickson is here in Minnesota), it can help Google identify the right profiles for name queries.
11. Link To Yourself
LinkedIn lets you include links to three Web sites on your profile. The drop-down menu offers options such as "My Website" and "My Blog" but you'll want to choose "Other" so you can use your own text for the link.
In addition to pointing people to your LinkedIn profile, you'll also want to point people to any other online presence you may have. Think about the keywords to use in those links to adequately describe the site you're linking to.
12. Make Recommendations
Give and ask for recommendations.
But be sincere or it will not sound authentic. When you recommend someone and when someone recommends you, that fact is displayed on your profile for all to see. (Don't worry, you can control which recommendations appear on your profile).
Don't be afraid to ask people who you think have a high regard for you for a recommendation. Recommend those you think are worthy before they ask you to recommend them. They will often return the favor.
Recommendations are yet another aspect of LinkedIn that helps to establish trust.
13. Update Your Status
Update your status regularly and strategically.
Use your status update to remind your network what you do and what you know by sharing relevant and interesting industry articles as well as your own content.
If you provide interesting links the people in your network will be much more likely to pay attention to your updates, which keeps you top of mind and also positions you as knowledgeable in your area.
That trust in your ability will make it much more likely that people will consider you as an expert to whom they can refer their contacts. Use a URL shortener like Bitly to to track how many click-throughs a given link garnered.
That will give some data on what kinds of content perform well.
14. Learn Advanced Search
LinkedIn's Advanced Search is extremely powerful. LinkedIn's Advanced Search helps you find very targeted audiences. LinkedIn's Advanced Search is your friend.
15. Join Groups
Search for and join industry-related LinkedIn groups, even if there is no activity within them.
The icons for those groups will show up on your profile, which tells people at a glance that you are involved in your industry and presumably knowledgeable about it. It also creates a connection between you an anyone else who is a member of that group.
If the group is active, join in the conversation when appropriate. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.
16. Post News To Groups
Many groups allow you to post links to news articles intended to spark conversation.
More often than not, conversations do not arise from these links but that doesn't mean that no one pays attention to them. Like status updates, this function can be used to position yourself as knowledgeable in your field.
But think before you go down this route. Before you post anything, ask yourself if what you're about to share is truly valuable to the group. If it's sheer self-promotion, don't do it.
Only post content that you sincerely feel will be of value to your fellow group members. I have shared some of my blog posts and, because the pieces were useful to the group members, I got a lot of traffic to my blog because people genuinely wanted to read it. If your article is not going to add value, it's spam; don't post it.