How to Use LinkedIn as a Business of One
As an independent professional, LinkedIn is a great resource on which to promote and market your business. LinkedIn can offer a number of benefits to help you build your brand and promote your consultancy. Here are five tips for a business of one to keep in mind to succeed on LinkedIn.
1. Have a Complete Profile
Your profile is an excellent opportunity to showcase your education, experience, accreditations, and specialties. By leaving your profile incomplete—or not updating it—you are keeping valuable information about your qualifications hidden from people who may be interested in what you have to offer.
Take the time to completely fill out your profile. Though this may seem daunting at first, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Most resume formats can be easily uploaded and edited. Remember, whenever you take on a new client, complete a certification, or add a new skill to your repertoire, be sure to update your profile to reflect your recent accomplishment.
When filling out and updating your profile, don’t forget to include keywords to enhance search engine optimization (SEO). Adding keywords and phrases that are relevant to your skills and specialties optimizes your profile for search, meaning that your profile will be listed when someone searches on LinkedIn or Google for those words. Dedicating a few extra minutes to researching and adding applicable keywords can make a big difference in highlighting your value as an independent consultant.
2. Stay Active
Having a complete profile is a great start, but it’s important to take advantage of LinkedIn’s other social features as well. Use status updates to share valuable and interesting content with your network. Link to your own blog posts, give updates on recent developments, or share interesting and relevant news.
Join Groups to maintain an active and visible presence while making connections and sharing information with peers and colleagues. These groups provide another avenue to connect with new people, spread your reach, and build a powerful network.
As an independent professional, promoting your services on social media helps make it easier to find you online. Consider including a link to your LinkedIn page on your personal website, blogs, newsletters, other social network profiles, and even in your email signature. Using this integrated approach will also help improve your online search relevance, meaning your name will be closer to the top of the page when prospective clients run a Google search for someone with your qualifications.
4. Gain Recommendations
When someone gives you a recommendation on LinkedIn it tells those who view your profile that you are who you say you are, lending credibility to your skills and expertise. Recommendations also serve as references for those who want to know more about your reputation with peers, colleagues, and clients.
The key to getting quality recommendations is to be proactive. By writing recommendations for others, you give them an incentive to return the favor. And don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation, if appropriate. When sending a request through LinkedIn make sure that your message is professional, personalized, and informative. If it has been awhile since you worked together, include a quick reminder about who you are and what project you worked on.
5. Build and Use Your Network Connections
When you work as an independent, your business depends on your reputation and your reputation is based on connecting and working with the right people. Use LinkedIn to reach out to industry leaders and peers who may provide advice, assistance, or referrals, and to stay in touch with past and current colleagues and clients. Having these contacts in your network gives you an easy way to update them on new developments in your career, keeping you on their radar.
This strong network of contacts is also an effective way to market yourself. Don’t overlook opportunities to put your connections to work for you by asking them to share your status updates or latest blog posts. If you’re currently looking for referrals or a partner for a particular project, use your network to reach out. You never know how a connection may work to your advantage.
To learn more about using LinkedIn to take your networking to the next level, check out our webinar recording: LinkedIn for Independent Consultants: 5 Steps to Enhance Your Profile and Bring in More Clients.