One out of every three professionals on the planet is on LinkedIn and that includes a whopping 60 percent of Memphis area professionals. That's why, if you sell to other businesses or B2B, LinkedIn has the power to transform your company.
Despite the critical mass using this social networking platform, most users report not fully leveraging the tool with many professionals simply maintaining a profile and accepting inbound connections. Make 2016 the year you fully leverage LinkedIn as part of your company's growth strategy.
The mere act of adding a profile photo can increase profile views by 11 times according to LinkedIn. Select a photo that supports your personal brand by dressing to impress, looking at the camera directly, and getting close, ensuring your head and shoulders are in the shot but avoiding full-body images.
By listing skills on your profile, you can increase your views by 13 times. You can select up to 50, so don't be shy. If one of your connections agrees you have one or more of these skills, they can endorse you for them. In fact, LinkedIn encourages this engagement between connections, by prompting anyone visiting your profile, but only if you have skills selected.
Your network is the key to truly leveraging LinkedIn. The larger your network, the higher you will rank in LinkedIn's search rankings. That's why many LinkedIn professionals have adopted the LION -- LinkedIn Open Networker -- philosophy where you are open to connecting with any legitimate business professional versus just individuals you've met face to face.
One way LIONs grow their network is by joining groups. Some are private, so you will need to make sure your personal LinkedIn profile supports your reason for joining the group. Other groups are open to anyone who wants to join.
While most of the time you must indicate whether you have worked with someone in a previous role or provide their email address in order to connect, with groups, simply being in the same group allows you to request a connection with no additional information required. This strategy can allow you to aggressively grow your network. Keep an eye out for LION groups, which are specifically established to facilitate network growth.
With a solid profile and network in place, next focus on engaging your network. LinkedIn status updates are designed to grow awareness about your expertise, but the typical status update is only seen by about 20 percent of your connections. To ensure most of your connections receive an actual notification when you post an update -- versus just a small percentage having a chance to see it buried in their respective newsfeeds -- consider a LinkedIn blog post instead.
Fully leverage LinkedIn in 2016 as part of your B2B growth strategy. Not only can it help you increase brand awareness, but it can also efficiently support your lead generation efforts.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.