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LinkedIn Strategy for the Independent Professional

If you are a one-person business, the thought of online marketing is probably overwhelming. With the demands of business development, sales, and customer service, there is little time for exploring opportunities online.

Let me help you with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a social network your business cannot afford to ignore. More than 562 million professionals worldwide are on LinkedIn.

Once primarily a platform for professionals seeking their next position, LinkedIn is now a key place used for both personal and business purposes to validate the credentials of professionals, find professionals for key services, and to understand professional networks.

Share Your Message

Your messaging on LinkedIn should be consistent with your messaging everywhere else. Use the same value proposition. Speak to your target audience.

Carry your keywords into your LinkedIn presence. Use the same words and phrases that help people find you on search engines.

LinkedIn Profile Tips

For most independent professionals, a LinkedIn profile is all that is needed to have a credible presence. A company page is not required.

The key is to make that profile an accurate picture of your professional credentials and the work you do. It should speak to your target customer.

Images

Use a current professional head shot. When you meet people in person they should not wonder how you suddenly aged 🙂 Show who you are.

Don’t keep the default background image! Use a custom photo that better represents your business and expertise.

Intro Section

  • Don’t use the default headline of your title and company name. Use a headline that uses your keywords and speaks to the service you provide.
  • Make sure your summary section explains what you do and why your services are needed.

Experience Section

Include all experience that relates to what you do now. There is no need to include every job you have had. Focus descriptions on the things that you did that relate to your current audience and your current business.

Skills Section

You can list up to 50 skills. Add as many skills as you can find that are relevant to your expertise and your activities.

Accomplishments Section

List all relevant accomplishments, including certifications, publications, honors and awards and organizations.

Recommendations

Ask for clients and former colleagues to write a recommendation.

Contact Info

List all the ways that connections can contact you. Be sure to keep this accurate!

Engage on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social platform. You need to interact for your presence to be effective.

  • Connect your personal profile with all clients and business contacts.
    • For individuals, send a personalized connection request
    • For company pages, click the “Follow” button on the page
  • Ask clients to recommend you on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn tool for this.
    • Go to the profile of any connection>Select the … icon to the right of the profile picture>Select Request a Recommendation>Follow the wizard and customize the message
  • Join groups that are relevant to the types of business you want to work with, to your area of service, and to the services you provide. Comment on posts and consider making occasional posts.
  • Post a status update periodically. At least once a month, share an update:
    • Welcome a new client
    • Share a takeaway from an event
    • Post a link to your website or content you have posted elsewhere online
    • Be creative – anything your target client cares about is a good idea

These basics will help you to have a more robust, findable presence on LinkedIn that is in concert with your website and other online marketing efforts.

LinkedIn Strategy for the Professional

LinkedIn is an important platform for all professionals, and especially for those who need to build their own contacts. People who work in insurance, financial planning, personal training and more need to build a base of connections.

Once primarily a platform for professionals seeking their next position, LinkedIn is now a key place used for both personal and business purposes to validate the credentials of professionals, find professionals for key services, and to understand professional networks.

Know Your Keywords

Before you work on your LinkedIn presence, you need to know your keywords and your messaging. What words and phrases do people search to find people like you? What are your key differentiators.

Your profile needs to be an extension of your online brand. That means you need to have a laser focus on the keywords and message that represent you best.

LinkedIn Company Page

Creating a company page is helpful even if you are the only person on your team! A company page expands your presence and branding on LinkedIn.

Setting up a page is quick and easy. You will need to complete the following fields

  • Company name
  • Background image
  • Logo
  • Company Description
  • Specialties
  • Address
  • Website URL
  • Company size, industry, year founded, and type
  • Select up to three featured groups

Personal Profile

When you create an account on LinkedIn, you create a personal profile by default. However, you need to take steps to create a complete, compelling profile.

Profile Image

Use a professional head shot of you. This will help people to know they are connecting with the right person. Save the family shots, kids and pets for Facebook!

Background Image

Change the LinkedIn default photo! Use a custom photo that better represents your business and expertise.

Intro Section

  • Create a headline that goes beyond your title and company. Highlight your expertise using your keywords.
  • Use your keywords and messaging for your professional summary

Experience Section

  • List all your relevant jobs. No need for a complete work history. List the jobs that contribute to the expertise you use in your current position.
  • Connect your current job to your company page.

Skills Section

  • Add as many skills as you can find that are relevant to your expertise and your activities
  • Make sure your settings allow connections to endorse your skills

Accomplishments Section

  • Make sure that all relevant accomplishments are listed.

Recommendations

Ask for clients to write a recommendation. Few people will think to write a recommendation, but most will be happy to do so if asked.

Contact Info

List all the ways that people can reach you. Make it easy for them to connect.

Next Steps

This effort will help you to have a more robust, findable presence on LinkedIn that is in concert with your website and other online marketing efforts.

Generate Leads with Social Media

Social media can help you connect with your customers. This makes social media a powerful lead generation tool for businesses.

There are two main ways that you can draw people into your sales funnel.

Content Marketing

Great content attracts new followers and helps you to engage with connections. To get people into your sales funnel, focus on content that people will value so much they are willing to give you their contact information.

Consider:

  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Reports
  • Webinars
  • Email newsletters

People access the content by giving you their name, email address, etc. They get the information, you get a lead.

Use social media to get ideas for valuable content. What are people talking about? What questions are commonly asked?

Also use social media to promote your content. When a connection shares your post, you may just have another lead!

Campaigns and Contests

Everyone loves a freebie or a chance to win a prize. This is a great way to motivate them to give you their information.

  • Random drawing: In exchange for their contact information, entrants get a chance to win a prize.
  • Sign up forms: Let people sign up to get first notice of promotions, sales and specials.
  • Contests: Invite people to create and post photos, videos and other content around a theme.