The Microsoft-owned social media platform LinkedIn has surprisingly been around for a longer time than both Facebook and Twitter. Founded in 2002, the platform was ahead of its time and has from the get-go focused on connecting professionals all over the world.
Even though LinkedIn has been around for a long time, it's not until recent years the platform has experienced significant growth, bringing the total amount of profiles to over 500 million. Now 25% of U.S. adults have a profile and 70% of the platform's users come from outside the U.S.
This blog post dives into what makes LinkedIn so helpful for professionals and provides you with some practical tips and tricks for optimising your LinkedIn use in an insightful infographic.
What is so special about LinkedIn?
Make your personal brand stand out.
Just like companies have to focus on establishing a strong brand, so do you when it comes to your personal, professional brand. In today's world, the professional competition is fierce. You need to showcase what makes you stand out and what makes you the best in the business.
You could choose to create your own portfolio website, which costs money, time and effort. Or you can use your LinkedIn profile to showcase your professional side, so recruiters and potential employers find you.
Using LinkedIn as your personal site also lets you piggyback on others within the same industry or other professionals you admire. You can share industry leaders’ articles and comment on their posts, associating yourself with their brand or company.
If your company is considering creating or strengthening its LinkedIn presence, it’s worth considering that 50% of LinkedIn members report that they are more likely to buy products from a company they’ve engaged with on LinkedIn. The same report shows 64% of companies mention LinkedIn as their primary marketing channel and state that the platform drives 80% of B2B social media leads.
Keep track of your professional contacts
LinkedIn is basically a Rolodex of all your contacts that automatically gets updated with the newest information. Through LinkedIn you'll always be able to find out where your old friend or colleague currently works, find their details or keep up with your network.
Research has also shown that professionals who are active on the platform generally have higher paying jobs, with 45% earning over $75,000 a year. You can assume most active LinkedIn users are CEOs or have a management-level position. In fact, two-thirds of the world’s millionaires are active on the platform.
Brings you and companies closer together
Let's say you dream about working in a specific company. Most company websites don't allow for much interaction but finding the company on LinkedIn can allow you to interact with the company profile. You can also interact with current and former employees, creating the perfect introduction and gateway to an interview.
Research has shown 75% of people who recently changed jobs used LinkedIn to make their decision. The same research also shows that 64% of social referrals to corporate websites come from LinkedIn. Clearly, positive branding on the platform is crucial. If you get people from LinkedIn to visit your website, you can get leads for potential clients or partners.
Meet likeminded people in LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn hosts thousands of online groups, enabling professional and like-minded people to network and share content within a closed space. These groups are often centred around professional niche topics or interests.
In the following section we’ll present some practical tips on how to improve your LinkedIn activity and use the platform’s potential to the fullest.
You should view your LinkedIn presence in thirds
If you struggle to figure out how to spend your time and which content to share on LinkedIn, the rules of thirds created by LinkedIn is a principle that might help you.
Each third represents a focus area and topic, so it’s easier for you to find content to share. It also ensures that your profile is balanced and doesn’t simply feel like one big advertisement for your current employer.
- 1/3 your brand. Here you can share news, promotion material and more from your job.
- 1/3 your industry. Become a thought leader or at least show your knowledge by sharing content related to your industry.
- 1/3 you. Last but not least, it’s all about you! Share content about you. Do you have an opinion, a hobby or an insight? Share it with others. This is probably where people hesitate the most, but it’s perhaps the most important.
Time is money
Make sure to post in primetime and not downtime. In general, the best times to post are between 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Tuesdays – Thursdays. People are likely to open LinkedIn in the morning – just like a newspaper.
It is also recommended that you post, like or comment on content at least 1-2 times a day and do it before or after working hours.
Target the newest member of the pack
If you’re trying to sell a product or service to a specific company, it might be worth targeting the newest member. Research has shown that people who started their job within the last 90 days are more open to change and therefore easier to approach.
Original is always the best
This is probably no surprise, but original content is always more effective. Even if you’re sharing a piece of content created by someone else, remember to add your own personal text to the post. The average LinkedIn member only spends 17 minutes a month on the platform, so you need to be original to catch people’s attention.
Show your true colours
Adding a profile picture and cover photo might sound basic, but it has been proven to make a massive difference. On average, profiles without a picture get five times less views, so you can guarantee more clicks with a profile pic.
Recommendations help others understand your professional and individual values. Instead of asking former colleagues and employers to write a classic A4 page recommendation, it is equally relevant to ask for a LinkedIn recommendation or endorsement of your personal skill set. LinkedIn recommendations are publicly available and help draw a quick picture of you as a professional.
Improve your ranking on Google
Often, the first thing you do as an employer is to Google the candidate. You don’t want to search for too long before finding the right person, so it’s important to be high up on the search results – and this is not an easy task.
It’s typically easier to get your LinkedIn profile ranked high on Google than homemade website portfolios.
Aim to get more than 500 connections. Once you pass the 500 mark, your profile simply states '500+' which shows you have both presence and reach on the platform. You might think of LinkedIn connections as Facebook friends, but they aren’t the same. Professional connections don’t necessarily have anything to do with friendship, but instead show a professional interaction and information exchange.
If you’re a CEO, it’s worth noting that the average CEO has 930 connections on LinkedIn.
The final tip: Network, network, network
This is what LinkedIn is all about, so it can't be emphasized enough.
The advantage of LinkedIn, as opposed to face-to-face networking events, is that you can foster meaningful professional relationships even if you're the introvert type.
Don’t forget the infographic
Now you know how to get the most out of LinkedIn. To help you remember our tips, use this handy infographic, which highlights the key points from this blog post.