Why You Should Be Using LinkedIn
And how you can make it work for you. 8/19/2021 | Jessica Onions, Designer Patch
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I’ve always considered LinkedIn the oddball of the social network family. A platform so many created accounts for and then abandoned because they didn’t receive the same amount of interaction as they do on Facebook or Instagram. Sure, it may not be as “trendy” but if you’re a business professional you should be on it.

To help me dive into this topic, I had a discussion with Kirby Hasseman (Hasseman Marketing) to chat about tips he’s found helpful while using LinkedIn. “Like a lot of others, there was some trepidation when I first started using LinkedIn. But the more I dove into it the more I realized it’s not that dissimilar to any other social network.”

What exactly is LinkedIn?
Straight from their site, LinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network with 774+ million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.” While their purpose is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”

What does this mean for you?
Connections. LinkedIn is a great networking platform that allows you to connect with professionals in your field, like our vast Promotional industry, so you can share or read/watch/listen to topical information that impacts you.

What should I share on LinkedIn?
Did you write an article or create a podcast/vlog about sourcing or trends? Post it! Your content will appear in your connection’s feeds and could help them learn something new. Kirby adds, “If you create and curate content with value, good things will happen...you will be established as an expert.”

  • When sharing content, don't just post the link. Make sure you include a synopsis of the content you’re linking to so others are enticed to actually read/watch/listen.

My next point was going to be about treating LinkedIn as a fully professional platform and how you should save cute puppy photos for the ‘gram, however, in my conversation with Kirby, he made an excellent point about these types of posts. “I’m a firm believer that people do business with those they know, like, and trust. So if you are known as a puppy person (ex. have an office dog) then sharing a puppy photo is appropriate. Just make sure what you’re posting is consistent with your own personal brand and you’re doing it for a reason.”

How can you make LinkedIn work for you?
Like any other social network, be active! Participate in conversations by sharing your thoughts and experiences. Like posting topical information, this will help enhance your professional reputation. Through experience, Kirby has found that “engaging with customers (comments, likes, shares) will establish you as a thoughtful human, people like thoughtful humans.”

Another important thing to do is to be selective with who you accept as a connection, always vet requests. This way you are keeping your feed curated to the content that will benefit you. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Are you in the same industry?

  • Is there some way you can work together?

  • Have you worked together in some capacity in the past?

On the flip side, don’t send out invitations in hopes of making an immediate sale. Grow the relationship first. To paraphrase one of his favorite entrepreneurs, Gary Vaynerchuk, Kirby adds, “Don’t try to close on our first interaction. Get to know me first.” (Watch Gary V’s video, Don’t Be This Guy.) 

Send a message with your connection request that introduces who you are, how you found them (they’re a first connection with one of your well-developed connections or you’re in the same LinkedIn Group), and why you want to connect with them. Remember, the purpose of LinkedIn is to network and get your name out there in your industry (or the industry you want to be in), not to collect connections like trading cards.

If you’re looking to change jobs, think of LinkedIn as your online resume. That is if you have fully completed your profile.

  • The About Me section is equivalent to a cover letter, a place to shine a light on yourself by summarizing who you are. If you’re stuck on what to write, check out these 10 LinkedIn Profile Summaries.

  • If you’ve written an article or create vlogs/podcasts or have been a guest on one, make sure you add them to the Featured section.

  • Did you win an award for something in your field? Add it to your bio, under Accomplishments.

LinkedIn may be “a platform everyone wildly overthinks”, as Kirby puts it, but it’s really quite simple if you put the leg work in.

Jessica is the Art Director at PromoCorner and has been in the promotional products industry since 2010. With a degree in Graphic Design, she has been working in Marketing since 2006 creating advertising of all sizes; from social posts to billboards. Jessica shares her passion for design in her monthly blog, Designer Patch. She can be reached at jessica@promocorner.com.
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