Lots of people you know are on LinkedIn, but you’re not sure it’s really necessary… do people actually need a LinkedIn profile these days? Should an SME or local company have a LinkedIn page? Is this just for large/multinational brands? (Scroll down for our free infographic!)
Why should you have a personal LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn is THE social network of choice for professionals. With 467 million users worldwide, it is a great place to network – for both individuals and businesses alike.
A strong LinkedIn profile is like an extended CV that anyone can find. It helps you to demonstrate your skills and achievements, recommend colleagues or clients, share your content and help you find interesting opportunities (such as volunteering, joining interest groups, etc.).
Because your profile links through to the companies where you work, it’s also a great way to promote your employer or business. By having a presence on LinkedIn, you can help to generate leads for the business, and generally contribute to its brand voice and positioning.
It’s easy to create a personal account with LinkedIn. Once you have filled in your name, email address and chosen password, you will be asked for some basic information about yourself – location, job title, etc. Once this is done, the real fun begins…
1) Profile photo
LinkedIn is primarily used as a networking platform for professionals and jobseekers. Therefore, your profile picture for LinkedIn will be different from your profile picture for Facebook.
Here are some helpful guidelines:
- It should be a recent picture of you
- You and only should be in the picture (no dogs, no cats, no group shots!)
- The photo should be a headshot, showing your face clearly (and not a selfie in the mirror!)
- The background should be muted and neutral (and no crazy filters, this isn’t Instagram!)
- Your clothing should reflect your job title and the company you are associated with (unless you’re an Olympic swimmer, no swimwear!)
Profile images must be:
- JPG, GIF or PNG files
- File size – 8MB maximum
- Your photo should be square
- The ideal pixel size for your photo is 400 x 400 – if either the width or height exceeds 20,000 pixels, your photo will not upload
This is a short introduction that appears right under your name at the top of your LinkedIn profile. It should give a flavor of who you are as a professional and your field of expertise. But this does not mean simply repeating your job title! Show off why you, in particular, are good at your job by highlighting your skills, characteristics, what you’re passionate about and what your goals are. This headline is your first opportunity to catch someone’s attention, so make it count. You’ll need to be concise, however, as it can be only 120 characters long.
3) Cover photo
This is a great place to represent your industry with a sleek company photo. It is an advertisement not only for the company but for the skills and expertise associated with it.
Cover images must be:
- JPG, GIF or PNG files
- No larger than 4MB
- Recommended pixel dimensions are 1536 x 768px
Like an Executive Summary on a CV, the summary is where you can write an overview of yourself as a professional. You can touch on career achievements, your experience and top skills, your ambitions… This is where you can really push home your value proposition – what makes you you and why are you different?
Start adding the places you have worked. You don’t have to specify the month you started or finished a job, the year on its own is fine. If a past or current employer has a LinkedIn page, you’ll see this appear in a list of suggestions as you type the name. Select it from the list, and now the company logo will appear next to your job title, allowing people to click through to the company page.
6) Show off your skills
Adding skills is a great way to showcase your expertise – they show in the Featured Skills section of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows your connections to endorse your skills, and of course you can endorse them back if you want.
7) Contact information
As well as your own social network profiles, you can include your company’s website here. For your own peace of mind, specify which contact information is personal and which is work-related.
This is a section in which you can really show off what you are good at. LinkedIn gives you the option to include Certificates, Courses, Honor Awards, Languages, Patents, Projects, Publications, Test Scores and any Organisations you’re associated with.
This is where any groups you are connected with on LinkedIn will be displayed. Groups are a great way to widen your network, by connecting with people who have similar interests and expertise.
As you have linked to the relevant company page in the work experience section, it’s now easy to click through to the company’s employees and connect with your work colleagues. This will not only help you all stay in contact and make it easy to share each other’s content, but it also strengthens the company’s profile and in turn will instil confidence in potential clients.
Connect with all the people you have a professional relationship with in real life. You can use LinkedIn’s excellent search function to find people: start by typing a name in the search field next to the LinkedIn logo in the top left of the browser, and if you need to narrow the search you can use a variety of filters such as location, industry, school, language or even keywords. You can also import contacts from a webmail service such as Gmail.
As your network grows, LinkedIn will suggest other people you may wish to connect with, based on your mutual connections, similar profiles or experience, because you work in the same industry, etc.
There is no point setting up a lovely LinkedIn profile and then leaving it to stagnate. The best way to have a strong presence is to be active – post updates, share interesting content (not forgetting your company’s content!) and like or comment on the things that interest you in your timeline.
However, while LinkedIn is the perfect place to share professional content, photos of your stag party are best kept for Facebook. Other topics that don’t go down well are politics and religion; be mindful that this is a professional network.
We encourage honesty on social networks, but stay respectful of others and remember that all kinds of people use LinkedIn and not everyone is a native English speaker and may therefore not understand jokes or irony in the way you intended.
Why should your company have a LinkedIn page?
In today’s digitised world, social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are the new store-front for many companies. It is now second nature for potential clients to turn to these touchpoints to engage with what interests them. If your company is missing from one of these main channels – and with those 467 million users we mentioned above, LinkedIn is definitely one of them – then your company is invisible to many potential clients. But there are many more benefits LinkedIn gives your business. Have a look:
When a potential client wants to know more about a company they are considering engaging with, they tend to look for digital proof that the company exists, that it is a reputable company and that they can feel safe when making financial/data exchanges with them. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile which has regular activity, contact details, professional content and real employees provides the potential client with the reassurance they are hoping for.
LinkedIn is a great space to show off your brand. Your LinkedIn company page should be a branded bubble for your clients to enter into, with a sleek branded cover photo, a branded profile picture and all your content. By also concentrating on brand voice – your style, tone, point of view, and PERSONALITY – you make it easy for people to hear you above the noise, and to identify with you.
LinkedIn provides many easy ways for your company to show off their expertise in a way Facebook and Twitter are not designed to do as effectively. The main section of the company LinkedIn page will be ‘About Us’. Here you write a summary of what your company specialises in, why you are the best at what you do, who your employees are, what your business ethos is, etc. This is basically a mini advertisement for your company.
Your company’s LinkedIn page will also include a section called Articles where you can publish posts to show off your expertise in your industry. However, you do not have to do the all the hard work all the time – if you see an interesting article relating to your area of interest on someone else’s page, use the ‘Share’ button to let your followers have a look.
What about selling?
As you may have already guessed, the Article section is also a great place to display your products and services. However, remember that LinkedIn is primarily an information network. Therefore, you should construct these kinds of posts so that they are informative rather than giving your audience the hard sell. LinkedIn also has their own advertising portal that can personalise ads to the extent of your clients receiving a message directly to their inbox.
Building your client base
When used effectively, LinkedIn can expand your client base. This will happen by:
- Connecting with your client email list via LinkedIn so that in turn their connections will become aware of you.
- Having extra visibility on the internet.
- Sharing engaging content so that your connections Like and Share, and by doing so their connections will also see them and, more importantly, they will come to recognise your company.
- Joining relevant LinkedIn groups and participating in them. You will find ready-made networks of people already interested in your industry.
- Having all your employees connected with the LinkedIn page so that they can engage with company content and share it with their own individual connections.
LinkedIn is an ideal way to headhunt great talent for your company. On a jobseeker’s LinkedIn profile, you will be able to view their credentials, their career history and get a general sense of who they are. Through LinkedIn, you can connect personally with potential employees and build a relationship from there.
Setting up a Company Profile in 7 easy steps
- Click the Work icon in the top right corner of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click Create a Company Page.
- Enter your Company Name and choose a URL. All Company Page URLs will structure as linkedin.com/company/[YOUR COMPANY NAME].
N.B. While the name of your Company Page doesn’t need to be unique, the public URL for your page cannot be the same as one that exists on LinkedIn. LinkedIn members and search engines will use this unique URL to find your page.
- Check the verification box to confirm you have the right to act on behalf of that company in the creation of the page.
- Click the Create page button.
N.B. If you don’t have a confirmed email address associated with your LinkedIn account, you’ll be prompted to add and verify your email address.
- Click Get started on the welcome screen to begin editing your Company Page.
N.B. A red error message may appear if you have problems adding a Company Page.
- To publish your Company Page, you must include a company description (250-2000 characters including spaces) and company website URL. Keep in mind that a preview of your Company Page is not available. When you publish the page, it is live on LinkedIn!