In the sea of overwhelm with information, it can be hard to know what to do with LinkedIn for specific industries. Thought Leaders have a unique opportunity to showcase themselves and their perspective on LinkedIn far more than any other profile. By ‘Thought Leaders’ I mean speakers, authors, trainers, coaches, mentors, facilitators and consultants.
The game of LinkedIn is a great opportunity and can be highly leveraged by a Thought Leader. The challenge is that the site looks easy but when you get into it it’s hard to know what to write so it doesn’t look like an obituary. This leads to procrastination and not doing anything or sticking with old ways of doing business that are fast becoming outdated. In a sea of faces you become like stock on a supermarket shelf look the same as everyone else and therefore compete on price.
So there a few ways to stand out on LinkedIn so that you get meetings with decision makers sooner, traction in meetings happens quicker and grow your business faster. Your profile works for you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You only have 4 seconds to have impact with your profile though, so you need to make it count!
1. Headshot-Be consistent with your expertise, message and brand. For example if you’re an explorer or an adventurer then don’t have a shot that’s overly corporate with a suit and tie, the message will be too incongruent with what you’re an expert in and confuse the audience. If you’re a leadership expert though, then look like a leadership expert (i.e suit etc). You should always look one level above the highest level of your clients, I don’t mean in just how you dress but the quality of the shot. Your photos are a high ROI activity and deserve the priority in spend. They should last you about 3 years. Spend about $1500 on a good range of quality shots for LinkedIn, media and press release Skype, brochures, website banners etc. Don’t just get a headshot when you invest in good photography. If you are the best you need to show that you are the best and a picture speaks a thousand words.
2. SEO– The biggest mistake we see people make is not realise that their profile needs to be Search Engine optimised as it affects your google ranking/. Your profile needs to be found by your ideal client. You can test this by doing aBoolean search in Google. It also needs to sing when they land on your page. When I say sing, I mean sings their language and their problem. You have lots of ‘know, like and trust’ factor happening. That is, companies you’ve worked with and testimonials. Don’t leave your best ones hidden in the recommendations area. Get your top ones into the summary.
3. Posting your articles– Be consistent and you’ll hit a tipping point where you start selling or having at least one enquiry for each one. Your posts need to be strategic and linked to what your current projects are. You may have even write for a particular client you have in your sales funnel.
4. Premium account– Yes I recommend it. You get more access and visibility. It should cost about $25 per month. This gives you access to three InMails per month and you can buy more if you need to.
5. Banner image– This can be hard to get right as it’s an awkward shape as it runs around the header. I believe the best way to position yourself as a Thought Leader is in a hero speaking shot. You can see mine, Keith Abraham’s to get the idea. If you can get speaking events the rest flows, so to me that’s the biggest priority with this image. Get a photographer to go to your next speaking event or create the image itself by booking a stage, theatre etc. Make sure you tell the photographer this is the shot you want. Books can be hard to position across the banner unless you create a mosaic or tiled effect. The banner has lots of “boom” factor for your first 4 seconds, so use it well!
6. 80/20 rule. You need to be posting every day, whether it’s a like, comment or curate, so not original content every day. Your original work should be once per week. Remember the goal is consistency and in LinkedIn that means visibility. To like and comment is increasing your visibility in the feed and adding value to your audience…. and it’s not about you. However, your article is about you though and should only account for 20% of your posts. Be consistent every week if you can and you’ll start to get to a tipping point.
7. Introductions are your biggest priority– targeting people who don’t know you can be hard work. Look for introductions first. Around 80% of those people you are introduced to should agree to connect with you. If they agree to connect you can start your campaign marketing. If they don’t respond, then the priority is to keep your visibility up so make sure you like and comment on their feeds as well.
8. Use the plugins– your whitepapers, speaking kits, show reels, brochures, links to webpages are all opportunities to attract and sell. Don’t just leave them on your website.
9. Be easily contactable– a basic one but I find time and time again it can be hard to contact you. Ensure your phone number and email are in your summary. Most people don’t know you can click on the “Contact Information” area to get that information.
10. Benchmark– if you do all this only about 10% of your enquiries will come to you through your attraction strategy. Of the 90% of those you approach directly and get in front of you should be getting in front of about 25%. So it’s simply a numbers game, keep going!
So don’t waste the opportunity. LinkedIn is a great insurance policy for your branding and positioning so add it to your “TO DO” list for 2015. You’ll make more connections, attract more of those you want to work and position yourself as the leader in your field.
Love to know your thoughts……
Jane Anderson is a Speaker and Author who works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
To inquire about Jane speaking at your next event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org