I frequently get asked my by co-workers & peers for help getting started using LinkedIn. Everything from how to start a LinkedIn profile, to setting up a company page & finding connections. LinkedIn has personally for me resulted in several new business relationships, including new clients & sales. For that reason, I am a huge proponent of the platform & encourage many of my clients to begin exploring LinkedIn for their business by starting with a personal LinkedIn profile.
The following post is a short guide to getting started with LinkedIn & gives you some tips on how to get set-up & begin using LinkedIn for your business.
1. Starting a LinkedIn Profile
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to create a personal profile that includes personal information about you, the difference between Facebook & LinkedIn, is LinkedIn puts emphasis on information regarding your professional life over social. A LinkedIn profile asks for information such as current career position, previous position & educational history. It is in some ways, a resume tweeked for use on a social-professional network.
To create a LinkedIn profile, visit https://www.linkedin.com/start/join?trk=hb_join & fill out the simple form. The platform will then walk you through a series of set-up questions to help you populate your profile. Fill out as much information as you can now, but you will always have the option to go back a edit after.
2. What is on Your Profile & Why it is Important
The more complete & accurate your profile, the stronger & easier it will be for others who you may want to connect with to find you, so do your best to complete all the fields requested throughout the initial set-up. One of the most important fields is what is called your ‘Professional Headline’. This is the first field following your name & one of the most referenced field use by LinkedIn search.
What this means is that when someone is searching for people in your industry or profession, if the keywords that they are using to search for are found in your professional headline, you will more likely show up & rank first in their results. Consider what key words your clients may be using when searching for a someone in your industry or profession and make sure you use those keywords in your headline.
For example, a service that I may require & may search for is an accountant. When I type in ‘accountant’ into my search bar, these were the results that were returned:
Scott was returned first as he is one of my ‘1st connections’ (meaning we have directly connected on Linkedin), the search term that I used (‘accountant’) was used in his professional headline & we have many shared connections (meaning we have connected with many of the same people on LinkedIn). These are all things that will contribute to a users search-ability during a search.
One thing to keep in mind, is that this search ability works the other way as well. Optimizing your profile for LinkedIn search means potential clients will be able to find you faster, but it also means that you are able to find potential clients easier as well. Use LinkedIn search to find your targeted customers using the same keyword search (that is, use the keywords your clients use to identify themselves to find them).
3. A Bit About the LinkedIn Menu
There is a lot of different features that LinkedIn offers. Since this post is meant as an intro, here is a quick run-down of the LinkedIn menu items:
Home – the LinkedIn ‘Home’ screen is the screen you are directed to upon login. This screen is a newsfeed or stream composed of posts & information shared by members of your network (think of it much like your Facebook news feed). Here you can like and comment on the updates shared by your connections. It will also show you updates made by the groups or pages you follow, as well as suggestions for other connections. You can also share your own updates to be displayed to your network.
Profile – The profile tab will take you to your profile & give you the ability to add and make changes. You can also choose ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ which is a nifty little feature that allows you to see who has been on your profile recently. Full access to this feature is only available to upgraded, paid accounts, however free accounts come with a limited version of the feature.
My Network – This tab gives you access to your entire network & the ability to make other connections. From the drop down menu on the tab, ‘Connections’ lists all the members of your network who you have already connected with. ‘Add Contacts’ uses access to your email contact lists to find email contacts who are available on LinkedIn or who you may invite to LinkedIn. ‘People You May Know’ uses a LinkedIn algorithm to find connections in your industry or network who you ‘may know’ and may want to connect with. And finally, ‘Find Alumni’ will find LinkedIn members who have indicated on their profile that they have attended a similar university or institution as you.
Jobs – This tab is how it sounds; a tab which returns a list of jobs or employers who have positions available for people matching the information you have provided on your LinkedIn profile. The stronger & more informative you make your profile, the more accurate these postings become.
Interests – This tab will help you to find content, groups, companies etc. that you may be interested in & more opportunities to engage with those interests (articles to read, images to share, videos to watch etc.). It also gives you the opportunity to contribute new content by creating new groups or pages.
The notifications menu offers you a quick reference to messages or other interactions made to your account. They are generally pretty simple; the conversation bubble indicates if you have a new direct message waiting for you, the flag indicates an ‘interaction’ and could be something like a post ‘like’, page view or endorsement to your profile (among other things), & the silhouette with a + symbol means someone has requested a connection with you. A highlighted red number above any of the icons indicates a new notification.
5. Starting a Company Page
The final feature I am going to cover here is how to start a company page on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to create a separate page dedicated to your business. The ‘Company Page’ acts separate from your personal profile & allows you to operate as an administrator to the page. Company page updates are published under the company name and profile picture (typically this is a corporate logo) & instead of connections, company pages gather ‘followers’ who are direct audience members to the page. These followers will see company updates published in their news feed.
To start a company page, select from the ‘Interests’ tab ‘Companies’. This page is a feed of the most recent updates shared by companies that you follow. On the right hand side, you will see ‘Create a Company Page’. Select ‘Create’ and begin populating the information for your business.
There is so much more to the features listed here, as well as many, many additional features not listed available on LinkedIn, however this will hopefully be enough to get you started. As you get more and more use to the platform and begin exploring the other features, you will discover several other tools that may prove immensely helpful to your business (like for instance, ‘groups’ which gather alike members to share common interests).
And, if along your LinkedIn adventure you find yourself lost or with questions, feel free to connect with me! You can find me here.