What’s LinkedIn & Why Should You Use It?
Most people start their journey on LinkedIn because someone told them that they should have a LinkedIn profile. The problem is most people don’t know why they are using it and therefore don’t know what they should include on their LinkedIn profile. To boot LinkedIn can seem unfriendly, not very intuitive, even (dare I say it!) boring and as a result don’t tend to get very far.
To help you answer why use LinkedIn, let’s look at what LinkedIn is.
LinkedIn is often grouped together with other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but for me, its not so much a social media platform but an online networking tool. Basically, it’s one big database of professional & business people. Where else will you find 24million plus people in the UK alone in one place?
Not only that LinkedIn gives the tools to drill down and find exactly who you want to meet . . . for free. Yes free!
As the #1 business platform, its where people are generally in business mode, so they are in the right mindset.
It’s free marketing . . . (did I mention its free :o) Google loves LinkedIn, so if you have a LinkedIn profile it will come up on page 1 of Google search results.
Now we know LinkedIn is an online business networking tool, why should you use it?
What’s Your Why?
You need a reason for using LinkedIn otherwise why spend your valuable time on it? Think about what you want LinkedIn to do for you.
It could be just to have a professional presence online should anyone be looking for someone like you for their business, perhaps you want to get head hunted? You could have your own business and need to find and get in front of potential clients. Or find someone to partner with on a new project, or raise your profile as an expert in your niche . . . and so on.
Who do you want to meet?
With your ‘why’ in hand, the next step is to think about your audience. Who is it you want to meet? Are they in any particular location, industry sector, job role? What do they want to know? What challenges & pains can you help them solve? Where do they hang out? Are they likely to be in business or working professionals? If so you can probably guarantee they are on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is not a panacea, but it is a free marketing tool that you can use to find and get in front of people who you would not normally be able to meet, which is what makes LinkedIn such a valuable tool.
What impression do you want to make?
Whether you are looking for a job, in a job and looking for another one, or in business, LinkedIn is your professional brand online. It’s where potential employers and customers will come and have a look at your profile and decide whether you are a good fit for them.
The question is . . . what impression will you make? What do you want people to think, know and feel about you when they come to your profile? What do you want them to do? Connect with you, email you, go to your website?
In the next blog we will look at building your professional brand online, what you should be saying on your profile and having the right profile image.