LinkedIn isn’t a résumé site. Sure, when it first launched, we all signed up to get our résumés online and maybe grow our networks. Then, of course, LinkedIn added job listings, further positioning itself as the go-to spot for job seekers. But here we are a couple decades later and it’s become an influential platform where leaders inspire and drive action. Because thought leadership has taken off in this space, you can’t sit this one out. Your prospects are looking for you here. It’s an important place to build your brand, share your expertise, join the conversations, and get your true fans to raise their hands.
LinkedIn has hundreds of millions of monthly active users you could be reaching. Plus, LinkedIn profiles rank really highly in search engines so it’s a crucial location to storytell and share content.
Our founder, Stacy Havener, started posting on LinkedIn in 2020. It took consistency and vulnerability but within about a year, she racked up millions of views, generated over half a million in revenue, gained over 12,000 followers, and made connections that turned into “real life” friends and clients.
While you should maintain and work on growing your company page, the gold truly lies in people connecting with people. We used Stacy’s expertise to compile a cohesive checklist to get your personal LinkedIn page optimized and start actively posting and engaging. Your fans are waiting.
Optimize your profile
When people google you or look you up specifically on LinkedIn, they come across your profile, making it a key place to share what you want to be known for and build trust.
- Your profile photo should be a clear, high quality, approachable photo of you looking at the camera.
- Your headline should tell people the value that you offer. Only the first 45 characters of your headline are viewable in your posts so it’s important to be concise. Here are a few great examples. Note they’re concise and memorable.
- Challenging the way you use LinkedIn to reel in your true fans
- Helping small businesses write words that SELL
- Guiding entrepreneurs to launch, grow, and run new podcasts (with ease!)
- Your banner should include your tagline and contact details or call to action.
- Only the first 3 lines of your about section are shown by default so be sure to hook anyone that takes the time to read it. Write it in first person; this is not a testimonial. It’s you - talking in your own voice - to your true fans. Write like you speak, show your personality, explain how you help people, use bullets to break up long paragraphs, list your contact information, and end with a call to action.
- Your featured section can be an intro video, free resources, a client success story, or anything that helps your audience get to know and trust you.
People are more likely to see your content in their feed if they follow you. Connections automatically follow you by default, but you might not want to connect with everyone. You can change the connect button to a follow button on your profile if you prefer:
- Go to your LinkedIn Settings & Privacy
- Click Visibility
- Click Followers
- Change the “Make follow primary” button to yes
Connect with your true fans
Send connection requests daily or weekly to:
- Current and former colleagues
- Fellow members of associations, communities, groups
- Current and former clients
- Current prospects and investors
- Industry friends, partners, vendors
- People you know that fit your target market
- People that view your profile and fit your target market
You don’t need to send a message with your connection request, but be sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized so they can learn about (or remember) you. If you do send a message, make your message about them, not you. Take the time to read their content, engage, and comment. Then send a connection request with a note, telling them how their content helped you and that you’d love to be connected.
PRO TIP: NEVER PITCH SOMEONE FOR YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IN A CONNECTION REQUEST, NO MATTER HOW YOU WRITE IT.
Determine categories your posts will focus on
We only develop relationships when we let people see our authentic selves, meaning you’re more likely to grow a trusted audience if people have multiple ways to connect with you beyond the primary thing that you sell or do. Establish about five categories of content you want to focus your posts on. These can include your expertise, hobbies, and things you’re passionate about. Let people see you as a whole person.
At Havener, we work with our clients to develop signature content - categories of content, as well as the content itself. Need help with your signature content? Drop us a note.
Deliver value consistently
Once you’ve defined your categories, you can start creating valuable content, rotating through your categories. The most important thing you can do on LinkedIn is deliver value. Your posts should be educational, insightful, or entertaining. You shouldn’t only post links to articles. Your posts shouldn’t always be about you. Think of yourself as the guide, and your target client as the hero. Make your content about them.
The second most important thing you can do is post consistently, which builds momentum and trust. We usually see more success posting in the morning, but you can experiment to see what works best for you. Not sure when your audience is most active? Use a poll and ask them!
Don’t put a call to action in every post. Be a go-giver; shift your focus from getting to giving.. No asking, no pitching for at least a few months. Just serve and help. You will develop a more loyal following because your followers will see you are there to give, give, give.
PRO TIP: IF YOU WANT TO SHARE A HELPFUL PIECE OF CONTENT, ARTICLE, OR OTHER COOL THING, PUT YOUR CTA/LINKS IN THE COMMENTS, NOT IN THE POST ITSELF. THE ALGORITHM DOESN'T LIKE EXTERNAL LINKS IN POSTS.
Think about it: Most calls to action send people off the LinkedIn platform. Tsk. Tsk.
Mix up your post format
While consistency is important for getting in front of your true fans, variety is important for keeping them engaged. Take advantage of the rich media options to mix it up. You can add photos or videos, create polls, or go live. LinkedIn reports that videos get 5x more engagement on LinkedIn and Live Video gets 24x more engagement.
Don’t worry about getting any fancy equipment for posting videos. Just get in front of your camera, talk to your target audience, and add value. Never let perfect get in the way of good. Imperfections help build trust and connection because they’re human.
Hashtags are searchable on LinkedIn; users can click on them to find similar posts. So let’s say someone posts about venture capital and they include #venturecapital at the end of their post. A reader who is interested in that topic can click on that hashtag and find more posts on the topic. Identify 3-5 hashtags that are relevant to each of your content categories and use them in your posts. It will help your true fans discover you.
Engage with your true fans
Social media is called “social” for a reason. Remember that your role on LinkedIn is not to post and ghost. It’s to create conversation, spark interest. A good rule of thumb is to engage / comment on 5 - 10 posts before you post your own content. It also helps to post at a time where you can dedicate 30 - 60 minutes replying back to people who leave a comment on your posts. You can use that time to engage with other people’s posts as well.
PRO TIP: WHEN PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT 1ST CONNECTIONS COMMENT ON YOUR POST, CHECK IF THEY ARE RELATED TO YOUR TARGET MARKET. IF SO, SEND THEM A CONNECTION REQUEST.
As with everything we do, it’s important to analyze what’s working. Celebrating successes - even small ones - can help keep you going. Since LinkedIn only offers built-in analytics for company pages, not for personal accounts, we recommend Shield Analytics to keep an eye on your views and engagement. Find an app that works for you and don’t forget to celebrate small and big milestones.
Promote your LinkedIn
Help your true fans that follow your blog, newsletter, or other social media accounts find you on LinkedIn by adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in these places. Consider adding a link in your email signature too.
Allow for evolution
Feeling overwhelmed? Remember that you don’t have to do this all on day one. You can download our free checklist to keep track of your progress.
All you have to do day one is get started, then allow yourself to evolve. Of course it takes time and energy to grow your following and engage your true fans, but with work comes reward.