LinkedIn “Ninja” Techniques / Best Practices
This is a living document, updated as LinkedIn evolves. Are you ready? Dive right in.
Key Facts about LinkedIn
- LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook or Twitter.
- Members have twice the purchasing power of average household.
- Members come to site with a business mindset – looking to do business, make contacts.
- Members want a consultative relationship, very willing to listen.
- 25% of profile visits are from co-workers.
- LinkedIn is much more used at home than at work.
- 2.8M business pages are online and growing fast.
Setting Up an Individual Profile
- Use Impeccable English, perfect spelling and grammar. Get help to proofread it. Use the “View Public Profile” feature to examine your profile as others will see it.
- Profiles with photos are 7 times more likely to be seen / noticed in search results.
- Look energetic, positive, professional in the photo – be aware of background, etc. Look busy, as if you’re getting something done.
- Use “customer benefit” language in your tag-line/headline, not a boring project description. When search results feature your listing, that tag line may be shown too.
- If you have recognizable industry certifications, use the certifications tool when possible. This helps your profile appear in more relevant search results.
- Get a personal LinkedIn URL – you can use this on your business card. It’s free.
- Be careful that you get the right company as your employers – some companies have similar names – I have seen CEO-level staff showing as an executive at the wrong company!
- Enumerate projects you’ve worked on one by one – don’t just use a blanket text for all of them. Stick with benefits language, things you learned, etc.
- Make it skimmable. Key benefits language at the start. Assume they read only the first 20% of your content and then get a phone call. “Inverted pyramid” style writing.
- Set your photo visibility to “Everyone” – there is no point in hiding on LinkedIn.
- Customize the “My website” links that LinkedIn gives you – don’t leave them set to default. Link the three you’re given to three different pages. Often this is your home page, your blog and your “about me” page on the company website. Some also link this to other pages such as Quora, specific tags on a blog they contribute to, or an awards page.
- Think hard before connecting other social media accounts with your profile. Quora and Klout may be fine, but don’t use Facebook and Twitter personal accounts. It’s too easy to forget their connected and embarrass yourself.
- During meetings, gather names and have conversations with as many people as possible – even if it’s a short one. Let them explain what they do, and that you are really interested. This allows you to refer to the conversation in your LinkedIn invite or introduction message.
- During conferences, gather speaker and/or panelist lists – and then make a point to introduce yourself in person. A week or so later, remind them of your conversation in the invite. E.g) “I’m very glad we met at the ABC conference – I know you put a lot of work into that presentation and it showed. I look forward to seeing what you do next!”
- Consider network value. When reviewing your network, think about how others at your company (even if not at the meeting/conference/etc.) could benefit from the same connection – and use an “introduction” to make that connection. The introduction text is a chance to look good. Use benefit-oriented language … “Jane Smith is our point person on heavy-lift industrial foundations – I thought you’d benefit from having her in your network – she’s great about answering questions and she’s been through a lot of these types of projects.”
- Cut down noise. Never “thank” someone for making you a connection. It’s just noise – they already were notified that you connected.
- Meet in real life first. Rarely invite someone you’ve not met or had some form of interaction with. If you really want to be introduced, figure out a way to meet them or make contact with them away from LinkedIn. You may only get one shot at connecting on LinkedIn!
- Be opportunistic about invites. When a company you’re following adds a new hire, or someone is promoted, you have a chance to send an invite, citing that as your reason. “Congrats on the new gig! I noticed we weren’t connected on LinkedIn.” People proud of new positions, promotions, expansions react positively to praise about that recognition, thus are more likely to connect!
Following A Company
- Following is public. Keep in mind that when you follow a company, it’s published that you have done so unless you’ve specifically changed that setting (most haven’t.)
- Always customize the request message, never use the default. Try to refer to a recent conversation, presentation, or work that you know they’ve finished.
- Start with colleagues, friends. When a network has just a few people, it looks odd. Flesh it out a bit.
- When writing recommendations, be authentic and brief, it reflects on you also! Refer to initiatives, projects and such you made successful WITH the person you’re recommending.
- Recommendations are a good way to get more recommendations. Think of how you can leverage one for another.
- Thank the person, in person, whenever possible, but never incentivize the review with money, etc. That’s just sleazy, but I’ve seen it done!
- Wait at least 3-4 months before retrying a failed request for a recommendation. Don’t spam people.
- If possible, create a section in your profile about the project you worked on which earned you the recommendation.
- The jury’s still out on whether endorsements are that useful – they take too little effort and are passed out a little too easily.
- Endorsements are not nearly as potent as Recommendations. If you’re going to request something, request a recommendation.
- Don’t continually endorse someone – it’s a little creepy, especially if you’ve not worked with them. Spread them out.
- If you are going to Endorse, start by endorsing those you’ve recently worked with on projects, and for the skills you witnessed in that project.
- Avoid using “Endorse All” the ultimate lazy button on LinkedIn … LinkedIn should remove that function!
Messaging (InMail and Group posts):
- Use InMails sparingly, LinkedIn members are intolerant of too many messages.
- Use a professional tone – LinkedIn is not Facebook – try to connect the message to some professional endeavor.
- Direct marketing messages sent via LinkedIn are a very, very bad idea.
- Have a clear call to action on your message – what do you want the person to do next? Be specific, try not to require much of their time or any clarifying replies. If asking for a meeting, give 3-4 time options.
Participating in Groups
- Listen more than you “speak” – get a sense for the group.
- Mass messages (e.g. network statuses with “post to group” checked) to groups should be rare and thoughtfully considered.
- Your post topics should be compelling, prompt curiosity. Use cliffhangers and questions to prompt following, clicks to your content and connections.
- Never, ever take an aggressive sales/marketing posture – take a solutions posture where products/services are tangential.
- Mix your posts with links to your site and other sites, only when it makes complete sense to do so in support of the conversation.
- If the group is an “Open” group, use keywords in your post titles, but don’t make nonsensical topics. Search Engines index these groups.
- Like any busy river of news, use post titles that are irresistible – they have one job, to get the post opened!
- If the group is completely dominated by recruiters, it’s unlikely to offer much advantage. Browse around a bit. Work the room.
- Keep your participation in line with the groups’ purpose. If the group is about SubjectX, you can post that you are doing research about SubjectX and will be publishing the results on your LinkedIn Page (or blog, etc.) The audience may follow you.
- Groups users are LinkedIn “power users” – treat them well and respect their time.
- Think about where your potential customer would spend time using LinkedIn search tool, join those groups in “listen” mode.
- Already active groups can be far better than newly started groups. Consider using existing groups before creating your own.
- Do not promote your product in the groups – these are places where expertise and insight are exchanged.
- Don’t hog the mic… try commenting on more popular threads others have created.
Research: Using LinkedIn’s Search/Monitoring Tools
- Advanced People Search is awesome. Learn every part of it.
- Follow other company pages and people, but be aware they may be able to see that you have done so.
- LinkedIn Signals tool can give you some additional insight and reduce the time you need to spend monitoring.
- “Connect the Dots” by using LinkedIn’s “people also following…” links. You can build a good picture of an industry by building a list of who’s following, watching, posting, etc.
- You can use LinkedIn’s poll feature to take surveys – but use it sparingly and with great questions only. Polls in Groups may offer better audience targeting.
- Plan LinkedIn Meetups… Search for people in a city to which you are traveling. Plan an extra bit of time and invite a group of your linkedin contacts together to buy them lunch – tell them you like to do little “LinkedIn meetups” when traveling. Many will say what a great idea this is. Use Google maps ahead of time to find an ideal venue and call ahead to see if reservations are needed. Learn about what each person has been working on and be ready to talk intelligently about their work. Your goal is to strengthen your professional network. Keep it casual, relaxed. Don’t try to pitch anything. If you’re asked about your work, keep it brief.
Setting Up a Company Page
- All company pages are indexed in Google and Bing.
- The description text is likely to appear in search engines, so write it as if people will read the first two sentences more often.
- Ask fellow employees to help you fill in LinkedIn Pages. Who’s insightful, understanding the industry well? Get them involved.
- Consider making a content calendar which includes events, holidays, and more. LinkedIn does not provide a scheduling interface, however. Hootsuite can do this if you use their enterprise level.
- Always set up products and services pages. These companies tend to have around twice as many followers as those who don’t set it up.
- Super Ninja: You can modify the content so that it appears differently to the different targets. I.T. professionals see different text than CEOs for example.
- Get your employees on with completed profiles, connecting to existing customers in their contacts list.
- Use cliffhangers and part 1, part 2 type posts. Give the visitor a good, immediate reason to follow the company.
Writing Status Updates (Individual and Company)
- Be Brief – 2 sentences – don’t dilute your message.
- Once per weekday is the best frequency according to research.
- Morning updates get the most engagement. But don’t neglect evenings. 2/3 of LinkedIn visits are from home.
- Link to great, supplemental, non-sales content which is irresistible to click through and never disappoints. Such links have the highest follower engagement according to LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn Today feature can help you with ideas of what is engaging and useful to the LinkedIn audience. (linkedin.com/today)
- Don’t put all of your content behind a gate (contact form)
- Don’t always immediately contact people with sales focus. It’s creepy …
- Target your status updates. At most 2 targeting criteria at a time.
- Use Geotargeting features to drive event content, etc.
Amplifying Status Updates
- Your content can reach far beyond the follower community. As high as 1/3 of all company updates occur via viral view (amplification.)
- Like, comment on and sharing posts is how to amplify. Get your team involved – send a message that you’ve posted content.
- Previously shared content has “social proof” – and followers/friends are likely to share it. Get your team to start the ball rolling, and let 2nd level connections keep it going!
- Encourage followers with a simple call to action. “Please share this content.” – some research shows that this alone boosts sharing by 20%!
- Link to “best of” lists. LinkedIn says these go viral often.
- Invite customers to recommend your products or services, especially at the end of a successful project, installation, or purchase.
- Post great video FAQs. One to two minutes long per video is fine. Ask questions that are irresistible, and then post to proper groups and have staff share them.
- LinkedIn dialogue is great fuel for creating FAQs or FAQ videos!
- Always respond to followers that leave contents – keep in mind that these comments are also viewed by the commenters 1st-degree network!
- Always put the share button on your site/blog. Each post is a possible share-able content package.
- Use “recommend” buttons on products or services on your website. Recommendations get amplified across recommender’s 1st-degreen network, which can be vast.
Metrics on Your Company Pages
- Follower Stats can help you gain insight.
- You can review status updates’ status – tracking individual posts.
- Put your post data in a spreadsheet so you can keep track of which types of posts worked best over a period of time.
- Engagement rate is clicks, likes comments and shares divided by number of impressions. Amplification rate is sum of all amplification actions divided by impression count. These are very good assessment of whether your status updates are striking a chord with visitors.
- Lead Gen – number of new leads you generate from the LinkedIn landing pages you’ve set up. You should make landing pages on your website that is unique for your LinkedIn traffic.
Do you need help getting your business’ LinkedIn engine up to speed? By all means, make contact.