How to grow your LinkedIn network
LinkedIn is noisy and it's busy.
500 million global users all in one place.
How on earth can you stand out and be seen?
It starts with your photo, your headline and your summary.
Yet, in all my years of training on this subject, I never cease to be amazed by the number of people not using LinkedIn to their advantage.
Unprofessional photos, bland headlines and boring summaries. Dull, dull, dull.
When it comes to social media,
dullness is a cardinal sin.
What is the first thing people see on LinkedIn when they search or if you appear in their feed?
They see this:
Think about your own browsing habits.
You see something of interest and you click on it right? You need to find out more...
It’s the same with LinkedIn.
Your photo, your background photo, your headline - that’s the hook. And you want people to find out more about you surely, otherwise why are you even on it? Remember our parents telling us “do it properly or don’t do it at all?’ It’s good advice...
Human nature is to judge, rightly or wrongly, there is no escaping this. When people see your LinkedIn calling card (that’s what this is), they make a judgement call on who you are. Want to know something scary?
You have just 1.4 seconds to enage your audience.
You simply cannot afford to waste this space.
So how on earth do you do this?
You have to think like a marketer, selling a product. It just so happens that the product is you.
Firstly, figure out what you want from LinkedIn:
Are you actively seeking a new opportunithy?
Are you wanting to build your network?
Are you passively job seekeing?
Are you wanting to raise awareness for your business?
Whatever it is, figure it out because you have to work out who your customers are. You need to decide who you want to speak to and influence.
It’s about understanding what customers want and speaking to them in terms that they can relate to.
You are asking for people to buy into you and it’s going to be an emotional purchase.
People make decisions based on emotional impulses. That part of the brain that instinctively knows when something is right or wrong and logic doesn’t always apply.
And buyers have egos, human beings are naturally selfish people, before making a ‘purchase’ we want to know 'what is in it for us?'
So, why should people connect with you?
What is your offer of value?
People buy from people that are like them, shared values, shared experiences, shared interests, so you have to tell your story and it starts with your photo, your background photo and headline.
Let's start with your photo.
What does it say about you? Think of 3 words that you want to be known for and ask people what your photo reveals to them.
My photo shows warmth, compassion, happiness; key values that I hold dear and want to be known for.
Have you got an interesting background image that starts to tell your story? Maybe you have won an award, maybe you can show you in your work environment - show this.
Moving onto your headline.
What does yours say about you? LinkedIn defaults to your job title.
What a waste of 120 characters.
It’s dull (remember this is a cardinal sin!) and tells me nothing about you. I want to connect with people that interest me, or that I can personally benefit from having them in my life (selfish I know, but it’s a fact).
Use these 120 characters wisely.
Use keywords that people will search for but avoid buzzwords, such as passionate, driven, motivated. They're so overused and yep, you have guessed it, they are dull.
You need to stand out, so make your language exciting The English language is rich and we have so many choices, so dare to be different.
Consider your values, think about your Unique Selling Point (USP) and get it in that headline.
My USP is that I make training fun, I can make boring subjects interesting and a result inspire people to learn. I know this because people tell me, and I am not afraid to share this.
Don’t hide your talents.
You have to be able to really shout about who you are and what you are amazing at.
So, get out there, be bold, be brave and be confident. Make people want to find out more about you.
The next article will look at creating a kickass summary that shows off who you are.