Learning 5 New Ways To Make LinkedIn Work For You

 This year, LinkedIn turns 20 years old - marking a milestone in the development of the number one social network for business. With 36 worldwide offices and 21,000 employees, LinkedIn serves nearly a billion members - and an even greater number of opportunities, for those who understand how to leverage the power of the platform. Accessing organic engagement (the kind of connection that can make a meaningful difference in your career) happens at least once a week, for 40% of LinkedIn visitors. Here are five ways to improve your presence on LinkedIn - creating greater professional impact, right now.

Upgrade Your LinkedIn Profile: Start Here

“LinkedIn is really the only social media network that is meant specifically to network with other business professionals and to share valuable content,” Mandy McEwen says, from a quiet cafe on the sun-kissed island of Santorini. A digital nomad, McEwen has become one of the leading influencers on LinkedIn - from all four corners of the globe. She’s the founder of ModGirl Marketing, and Luminetics - a platform for companies and individuals who want to get more from the LinkedIn network. In our conversation, she shared five simple and straightforward strategies that anyone can implement, right now, to learn to leverage LinkedIn.

  1. Don’t Just Describe, Engage: Don’t just put your job title in your headline, McEwen advises. “You have to talk about the value that you portray - who you’d like to help and the benefits of working with you,” she says. Offer value at that SEO-friendly spot, your LinkedIn headline. “What I’d like to accomplish is to make you a trusted industry resource,” she explains. Literally putting your job title in your headline is a missed opportunity. Share the value you create, and you can create engagement with your page.
  2. Go Beyond Your Job Description - what’s more important than your work experience? The answer is service. In other words, how you can help others. The service you provide might not be completely captured in your job title. McEwen says it’s important to let people know exactly what you do, but even more importantly, “here’s how I can help you.”
  3. Provide a Piece of Personality: “One of my clients calls himself a ‘pizza snob’ on his profile,” McEwen says, with a chuckle. “My profile says that I’m a nomad.” A piece of personality creates a built-in ‘‘tell me more’’, online. Aren’t you curious what makes someone want to be a digital nomad - or a pizza snob? “Then, in your ‘About’ section, you can weave in some personal stories,” she suggests. With a piece of personality in your profile, you achieve two very important things: 1. Create an authentic way to stand out, and 2. Provide a point of connection that goes beyond your résumé.
  4. Stop Pitching, Start Connecting: We all know that there are a lot of over-enthusiastic folks on LinkedIn. If you don’t believe it, check your inbox. “Coming right out of the gate with some sort of pitch is a big mistake,” McEwen cautions. She points out that a better strategy is to engage with someone’s content ahead of time, leave some comments, and find a point of connection. After all, common ground can be the first step in creating uncommon results. Look at someone’s profile and find something unique to mention, before you start selling yourself (or anything else). But what if people don’t appear to be very active on the platform? McEwen calls these folks “zombies”, on her Instagram - referencing people who aren’t very active. But there’s a simple way to find folks who use the platform regularly.
  5. Sign In to Sales Navigator, on LinkedIn: SalesNavigator is the pay-to-play service within LinkedIn. “It’s pretty obvious to see who’s using the platform with Sales Navigator,” McEwen says. The opportunity to engage with people, prospects, and possibilities is increased with the insights found in Navigator’s advanced search functions. And you can try it out for free. “I just did a video,” McEwen shares, “on how you can search to find common interests, like ‘golf’ or ‘cooking’”, something that the standard search bar won’t allow you to do. McEwen continues, “If you do prospecting of any sort on LinkedIn, you are hurting yourself if you do not have Sales Navigator.” It's the only way to get super granular with your target audience, she says - and to stop wasting time trying to find the people who can help you move forward in your career.

Learning LinkedIn modifications isn’t difficult, and being deliberate about your personal brand is always a good strategy for career advancement. Consider the way that you are communicating your story - and your service - online. When it comes to your career, LinkedIn is where business gets personal. A personal opportunity to find the resources you need, access new guidance, and expand your professional network.

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