LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network online, with more than 467 million members. It’s mainly where professionals put their CVs up online, to network within one’s industry and share mostly work-related stories and ideas.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn is social media but it really isn’t.

Before you rush into setting up an account and start connecting with everyone you know à la Facebook, there are some considerations to be made.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a powerful tool to build your professional identity online. Similar to other social media, it helps you connect with people but it is more specific – its purpose is really to stay in touch with colleagues and industry contacts.

Through LinkedIn, you’re able to discover professional opportunities, business deals and even new ventures. LinkedIn is getting used by so many people nowadays to seek jobs that traditional headhunters in industries such as finance are feeling the pinch.

It’s no wonder – professionals are signing up to LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second. Millennials are the fastest-growing demographic on LinkedIn with over 40 million students and recent college graduates.

Currently available in 24 languages in over 200 countries, it’s hard to believe it’s only been in existence for just over a dozen years.

To help working people in Singapore use LinkedIn more effectively to network and find a job, organisations such as NTUC have been organising LinkedIn branding clinics and networking sessions. Check out some of NTUC’s tips below to maximise your LinkedIn profile.

How To Use LinkedIn To Promote Your Business Effectively

How To Use LinkedIn To Promote Your Business Effectively
Source: NTUC U Future Leaders, powered by black marketing

Common etiquette on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is NOT Facebook

LinkedIn isn’t the medium to connect with every person you’ve ever come across. People are very selective about who they accept as connections on LinkedIn.

If you annoy people and try to expand your network without thinking things through, you might end up in what is commonly known as LinkedIn jail. If you’re unable to send connection requests and have been notified that your account is “restricted,” you’re likely in LinkedIn jail.

A surefire way to get tossed straight into LinkedIn jail is if more than a few people click “Report Spam” or “I Don’t Know This Person” button to your link requests – it’s not worth it, so avoid rampant linking.

Be respectful and professional

Be respectful, professional and considerate when asking to link with people on LinkedIn. Make sure you personalise your requests – don’t send out obviously copied-and-pasted generic messages in your link request messages.

If you want to ask someone to recommend or “endorse” you, word your requests carefully and always offer to reciprocate if appropriate.

Turn off notifications when you’re updating your profile

If you’re overhauling your LinkedIn profile, disable your notifications. It can be super annoying for your connections if they get emails on every little change you make.

The key to LinkedIn is maintaining a good relationship with your connections. So try to avoid annoying or irritating them at all costs.

Nurture and develop connections organically

Your connections are your assets. And you may feel a little threatened if you observe your competitors are linking with your connections via your contact list. This may tempt you to close your contact list to the public but this is a bad idea.

LinkedIn is all about connections – growing, nurturing and sharing them, too. Introduce your connections if there are good opportunities to do so – after all, what goes around comes around! The best way to gain referrals is to offer them to others, first.

Don’t sit on messages – respond ASAP

LinkedIn messages can almost be treated like work emails. You can probably get away with not responding for a day or so, but anything beyond a couple of days will probably raise eyebrows.

Don’t let unresponsiveness be the reason you lose precious connections. Be prompt in your replies and you’ll find that the same courtesy will be returned to you.

How can I promote my business via LinkedIn?

Now that you have set up a LinkedIn account for your business, you’re probably wondering what sort of ways LinkedIn could be used to promote your business.

As previously mentioned, LinkedIn is a professional social media network so you have to tread very carefully when you’re doing any type of promotional work. It has to be super subtle and be prepared to put a lot of effort into wording things carefully so that it looks doesn’t appear too self-serving.

  1. Understand your audience: Again, it’s all about research. Understanding your audience will help you tailor your LinkedIn profile to speak directly to them.
  2. Put a face to your name: Profiles with photos receive 14 times more profile views than those without. Include a professional photo to put a face to your business.
  3. Create a Company Page: This will be a one-stop shop for visitors looking to learn more about your business. Along with your photo, write a punchy headline for your Company Page as it is the first thing people will see on your company LinkedIn profile.
  4. Content stream development: Use your company’s updates to showcase your expertise and establish your brand as a thought leader. Remember – the rule of thumb is, for every promotional post about your company, you should have four posts focusing on thought leadership or industry trends. And as is the case with all social media, post regularly.
  5. Let your network speak for you: Try to get recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, ex-employers, and customers who can vouch for your abilities. This will do wonders for your credibility and help catch the eye of potential business contacts.
  6. Finding your list of potential clients: Build a pipeline of new prospects by searching LinkedIn with specific keywords and search filters. Once you’ve created a search for a target customer, save it and you’ll get automatic notifications when new results come in.

One last reminder…

LinkedIn is undoubtedly a great way to connect with potential clients and industry insiders. But this is a community where etiquette is truly important.

It’s what sets LinkedIn apart from all other types of social media. It’s a serious social network, about building professional relationships, promoting businesses and hiring good people.

Remind yourself of the delicate nature of this particular social media. Save personal experiences, anecdotes and photographs for Facebook or Instagram.

When you feel the urge to “lighten it up a bit” and be casual, stop yourself – there’s no place for any of that on LinkedIn.

Always remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you – be professional, considerate and courteous. Follow this basic rule and LinkedIn will be an exceptional marketing and sales tool for you!

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