It’s no secret that LinkedIn is another way to add a layer of engagement to your personal or company’s digital toolbox, but are you doing it effectively? At more than 347 million members worldwide, that’s a lot of eyeballs to leverage for targeted engagement, brand awareness and visibility for professionals and businesses.
Yumi Wilson, Manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, leads training workshops on how to best use LinkedIn, whether it’s from a personal or professional brand perspective. She spoke to ScribbleLive about how LinkedIn members and companies can best use LinkedIn and get the most out of its algorithm.
Optimize Your Personal Profile
Give your personal profile the biggest opportunity to be seen and discovered outside your network. Wilson recommends checking your profile strength, which is located in the upper right side of your profile when you’re logged in. She said if you want to improve to an advanced or all-star profile status, fill out more sections of your profile.
“No. 1, when your profile is optimized, you’re much more likely to be discovered and then No. 2, it’s a much higher chance that somebody will actually click on your profile and then scroll down and take a look at all the things you’ve added,” she said. “So it’s really a great brand opportunity.”
Make the most of the algorithm. She said two places on your profile that weigh heavily with the algorithm are the headline and the summary. The headline is what a lot of people refer to as their title. Those are the two lines of valuable real estate to talk about what you do.
“What we suggest is using keywords that reflect all of the different areas of expertise that you may have, or what we’re seeing from a branding perspective, when I’m working with companies and people want to promote that company, you’re seeing them add a tagline,” she said.
Add keywords to the summary to help raise your profile’s visibility to make it easier for people to find you. For example, it’s much easier for people to find you when you use keywords with sentences such as: I’m really good at production design or I’m really good at content strategy.
“So in terms of optimizing your profile, I definitely recommend taking time not only filling out that title, but what you do in the headline, taking time to write a summary that tells your story — what you’re passionate about or what you’re excited about doing. Maybe [include] some of the projects you’ve done so you’re not regurgitating the rest of the profile,” she said.
Tips to maximize your personal profile for LinkedIn’s algorithm:
– Add a photo — increases profile views 14 times
– Add your two most recent work positions — increases profile views 12 times
– Add keywords to the headline and summary
– List your skills — increases profiles views 13 times
– Fill in headline with different areas of expertise
– Fill summary with at least 40 words; use keywords
– Use storytelling to fill out summary and tell your personal story
Optimize Company Pages
LinkedIn has an estimated 3 million company pages. Companies can use them to get their brand in front of those estimated 347 million members or narrow it down by targeting groups by industry or other criteria. Messaging and optimizing for the page is key to growing followers.
Wilson recommended posting useful content that may not always be about your company or product. “So anything you can do to help people. … even if that particular content isn’t talking about their product or services, it’s a great way for people to turn to a company,” she said. “[It’s about] providing great information to those who are following with the hopes that more people will follow them.”
For best practices for company pages, Wilson suggested looking at LinkedIn’s top 10 pages list. She pointed out, for example, why NPR made it as a top page in a previous year. “What NPR did well is they had brilliant and vivid photos and a big banner image at the top to attract people … they were also posting regularly,” Wilson said. NPR uses the company page to share updates about what NPR affiliates were doing and bring traffic to those affiliate websites. “It was a great strategy,” she said.
Company pages allow for more niche targeting with your followers. For example, Wilson said if your company page has 300,000 followers and you want to craft an update that speaks to software engineers, you can target that update by the work they do or by industry within a company page. If a company page wants to reach LinkedIn members beyond the followers of its company page, she suggested using sponsored updates.
Wilson and LinkedIn’s tips for best practices for company pages:
– Include an image with a status update
– Include a link with an update to increase views
– Post consistent updates throughout the week
– Provide a variety of content
– Optimize introductions and headlines
– Test to understand your audience
– Avoid hypertargeting or only focusing content on narrow audiences
– Post job openings with your company
– More tips for compelling company updates
Leverage Groups for Engagement Among Members
LinkedIn Groups are a way for members to interact with other members around a topic, profession, industry or other interest. Members can also create their own groups. Just by participating in groups, you can raise the visibility of your personal profile.
“So statistically, and this came out a few months ago, … when you engage in groups, more people look at your profile. So there’s a four-time increase in the number of profile views based on your engagement in groups,” Wilson said.
When it comes to groups, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. That means quality interaction, such as seeking feedback or crowd sourcing, not promotional posts. Wilson pointed to some examples of successful groups such as CitiConnect, where business women can share and exchange ideas.
“Let’s say the goal is brand awareness. Then it’s really a great opportunity for those who want to raise that awareness to be involved in the right groups that are talking about things that are relevant to, let’s say, their company or organization, because they may find the connections, consumers [or] fans through groups in a really organic way,” she said. “So it’s like engaging with people who may not know about what you do, [but] because you’re providing information — you’re informing, you’re helping in some ways — providing value to the people in the group.”
Raise Visibility with Long-Form Publishing
LinkedIn has rolled out long-form publishing as a tool to 100 million members in the U.S. and globally. The tool lets members publish long posts and be followed by other members outside their connections. Being useful and giving something for followers to think about can go a long way. Wilson said what works best on the member publishing platform is when people share their insights. For example, a post that typically draws interest might be about someone failing at something two years ago and not thinking he or she could overcome it, but that person did and shares the lessons he or she learned. More tips here.
Long-form publishing tool features and uses:
– Companies select experts to use the long-form publishing tool to bring higher visibility to the
company using content
– Follow LinkedIn member posts without being a connection
– Get notified when member you’re following publishes new post
– Long-form posts show up as part of your LinkedIn profile
– Published posts go out to your connections and feed
– These posts are public, carry SEO benefits and are searchable on LinkedIn
Publishing long posts can help companies get more visibility on LinkedIn. Wilson said companies saw increased engagement and more people going to their company page, when they made a concerted effort to get the right people in the company to start posting on the long-form publishing tool. LinkedIn recommends identifying at least five authors from a company to post, cross-promoting posts and employee sharing and amplification. More tips here.
Posts that hit home reinforce why LinkedIn members are on the platform in the first place. Wilson said insightful posts that offer opportunities to learn can resonate with other members.
“That type of story will connect with people as opposed to saying, ‘I’m really successful and everything I do is really successful,’ That doesn’t really help any of our members become productive and successful. At the very end of the day, that’s what it’s about,” Wilson said. “Members are on the LinkedIn platform because they want to be more productive and successful. They’re not just looking for jobs, they’re looking for insight that can help them, maybe, with the next career move or maybe take their game to another level within the company they’re working currently.”