Suppose you’ve been reading any of our simply gorgeous quality content for the past however long you’ve been doing so (humour us). In that case, you’ll be quick to realize we’re particularly adept at quite a handful of things: Online marketing, analytics, design, app development and a smorgasbord of other such topics. But our favourite so far would have to be social networks, search engine optimisation and brand building. And you wouldn’t believe how much a LinkedIn account can fit all of that at once.
Yes, LinkedIn is a social network with a strong emphasis on professional networking over adorable cat videos (their loss really). It has had quite a healthy following over the years since its inception. So, what use can you get out of having a LinkedIn account? A better question is to ask what you have to lose: nothing.
With a LinkedIn account, you can quickly start your professional journey and make connections left and right to get in the proper circles you need. With some help and SEO magic, you can get much more bang for the buck out of your LinkedIn account. So, pull up a metaphorical bar stool and lend us your eyeballs as we delve into why you should own and hone a LinkedIn account.
Table of Contents
What Is LinkedIn?
Founded on 28 December 2002 by Reid Hoffman & Co. and launched on 5 May 2003, LinkedIn is a business and employment-centric social networking service mainly operating via the website and a suite of mobile apps and primarily used for professional networking purposes such as employers listing jobs, would-be employees taking on said jobs by presenting their respective CVs and so on.
When you take a look at LinkedIn, you’ll find it isn’t too dissimilar from other social networks such as Facebook; you flesh out a profile as you would in any other network, you make friends in the form of “connections” to imitate real life work relationships, and you can join groups for various niches and industries to start widening your circles far enough to find what you’re looking for professionally.
With close to 500 million people having a LinkedIn account and 106 million active monthly, it’s no wonder LinkedIn managed to catch the eyes of multinational technology giant Microsoft, having acquired LinkedIn on 8 December 2016 for the (exceedingly) hefty sum of $26.4 billion in a cash merger consideration (we don’t think we can count that high).
LinkedIn has achieved some acquisition of its own, however, Having bought out both SlideShare and Lynda to facilitate users discovering each other and offer a suite of learning material for all sorts of categories such as tech, business and creative skills.
And anyone with an interest in braving the professional world can make a LinkedIn account and start networking. Whether you’re an eager fresh graduate, a mid-level manager or a marketing exec with years of experience, having your very own LinkedIn account and access to all of LinkedIn’s neat features opens up a host of networking and career options.
What’s a LinkedIn Account Good for?
You know the history; hopefully, you at least saw the site by now. We could go into detail about what the interface generally entails, but we’d like to think our average reader doesn’t like everything spoon-fed to them (although there’s nothing wrong with that). So let’s assume you made your very own LinkedIn account and want to start using this thing; we admit it can get a bit overwhelming at first, but try to take a deep breath and go over the things you can use it for with us, yeah?
Reconnect with the Past
Say you want to get back in touch with your friends and mentors from school or university, see how they’re doing and where life took them nowadays, and maybe even see if they are in a specific professional circle you want to be a part of.
LinkedIn makes that simple for you; simply by syncing your contacts or plugging in your email to LinkedIn, it’ll scour its database and find you as many viable connections based on that info you to connect with; that way, you can get back in touch with your old mates and professors and see what’s what in their neck of the professional world.
Connect with the Present
Getting back in touch with figures from the past is certainly warm and dandy, but chances are you’re looking to connect with a newer circle of people to further your professional endeavours. Thankfully, LinkedIn allows you to connect with people far and wide all over the globe,
Show Your Skills
With a LinkedIn account, you not only have access to all of LinkedIn’s snazzy features and helpful groups, but you also can preview your professional skills to users far and wide; your LinkedIn account acts as your very own Curriculum Vitae, except with the added benefit of interactivity.
You can add all of your previous and current work experience, your actual CV, your credentials and certifications, as well as cover letters, and with more and more websites allowing you to use your LinkedIn account to import all your information and apply straight away, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a LinkedIn account.
One of the best ways to relay to others that you know what you’re doing (or at least have a very good idea of what you’re doing) is by blogging about it. And with LinkedIn, it’s even easier.
A LinkedIn account gives you access to LinkedIn’s publishing platform, allowing you to start publishing your content to thousands of other like-minded individuals in whatever field you’re trying to break into. More people looking at your stuff means more people are likely to share it, and more exposure will surely net you something pretty rewarding.
Get a Job
It’s LinkedIn, after all. With a LinkedIn account, you can get jobs recommended according to what you put in your profile and your activity and preferences. With jobs for almost anyone and in every conceivable professional field, you’d be amiss not to invest in your very own LinkedIn account. And hey, if you have a specific field of work you’re interested in, LinkedIn allows you to search specifically for whatever position your heart is set on.
Additional LinkedIn optimization best practices and examples:
- Keep it concise at 2-3 paragraphs, but make every sentence count.
- Lead with your current job title and professional brand
- Use keywords related to your expertise, but don’t keyword stuff.
- Give a snapshot of your background, capabilities, accomplishments
- End with what you’re seeking – networking, collaborating, job apps.
- Focus on quantifiable achievements vs generic duties
- Use metrics to demonstrate the business impact of your work.
- Tailor bullet points to each role vs copying and pasting.
- Explain gaps in experience or short tenures logically
- Include volunteer work and internships, especially early career.
- Prioritize skills related to your target job or field
- Mix hard skills like coding languages or CRM platforms with soft skills
- Ask colleagues to endorse you for relevant skills
- Remove outdated or irrelevant skills over time
- Consider adding multimedia samples of work where possible
We thought you’d never ask. With the time, investment and effort you ought to put into your LinkedIn account, you should get the most bang for your buck out of the whole process, squeezing that proverbial fruit for all the juice you can get your professional mitts on.
And seeing as we have a thing for search engine optimisation (who would have guessed it), there are a handful or two of some pretty neat SEO hacks you can employ in your LinkedIn account-building endeavour. So try to keep up.
Leave No Stone Unturned
During the not-so-arduous process of fleshing out your LinkedIn profile, you need to make it your goal to fill out as much as humanly possible to reap the full benefit of your LinkedIn account. It’s good practice to try and use descriptive keywords during this process to add a bit of SEO zing to the mix. It’s not exactly applied quantum physics to understand.
You’ll be exponentially more relevant in LinkedIn’s searches if your profile is full of valuable and worthwhile information, even more so if it contains relevant and smart keywords, but try to avoid stuffing it full of them so as not to turn people away when they look at your LinkedIn account because you better believe that most people will judge you based on what you say and do there, much like in real life (nobody wants to sit next to the laughing lizard man in public).
A pivotal part of this process, although deceptively simple, is to claim your custom URL. Perhaps the easiest thing LinkedIn offers is that it can substantially boost your SEO. This URL can be used to put on your CV or website, all the better because most employers nowadays tend to look at your LinkedIn at some point or another for reference. A good rule of thumb is just to use your full name in the URL to make it look more professional and neat, and it’s not the end of the world if somebody claimed your name before you did; make a variation of it while maintaining the original, just avoid a long string of nonsensical numbers.
And don’t forget to add a bit of personality to your profile. Ever since LinkedIn decided to follow suit with most other social networks and adopt cover photo functionality, almost everyone has been using this by adding more flair to their LinkedIn account. Of course, LinkedIn is a professional network, and you want your choice of cover and profile picture to reflect that, so keep that in mind while you browse your gallery.
We mentioned adding keywords to strengthen your LinkedIn SEO, but we think expanding on that is prudent to avoid mishaps. Take your job title, for example; without too much embellishing or blowing anything out of proportion, you can add an element of SEO by adding a few strategic keywords. “On-Site Hardware Sales Representative” sounds more professional than “Tool Salesman,” right? It’s a vague idea, but hopefully, you get what we mean: spice up your title while trying to stay grounded to present yourself better and show up in more people’s scope.
It’s a Social Network Still
Although LinkedIn is more geared towards learning about whatever industry you’re into and maybe trying to get an opportunity more than it is about sharing deep-fried squid recipes and videos of your cat, Prince Puffins, it’s still a social network where connections should be made, discussions should be started, and participation should be a given.
The first and perhaps simplest thing you can do in that regard is to connect to as many people as you can. LinkedIn’s search results rely on your network of connections and contacts, and its search results either show people you’re acquainted with or people who are connections to others you may know. Put simply,
The wider the net you cast over the denizens of LinkedIn, the more relevancy your profile will attain in other people’s searches, thereby expanding your network of contacts. So, even if it’s kind of strange at first, try to vigorously connect with as many other users as possible to start reaping even more benefits from your LinkedIn account.
Similarly, you’ll want to get stuck into as many relevant groups as possible; this also adds to the visibility you’ll get when it comes to LinkedIn’s searches; the more groups you’re a part of on your LinkedIn account, the more relevant search results will be coming your way. Apart from simply popping up on people’s radar, you’ll also be a part of active and rewarding communities filled with like-minded people who can share some quality insights at no cost other than your time investment.
Having access to multiple platforms where you can learn, share, ask, answer, and just participate in an ever-growing community of industrious individuals not only gives having a LinkedIn account more merit but also helps others identify you as a fine contributor and upstanding member, meaning your networking will be silky smooth.
And if you’re confident enough in your prowess and expertise, you can start your group and grow your thriving community full of entrepreneurs and moguls. Create one around a specific industry-related topic, start producing high-quality content and share it with your members and followers and establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche, generating more and more potential leads with each new bit of content as you go.
Build Your Image
LinkedIn is a pretty strong platform for building a reputation and propagating your content. If you establish yourself as a key opinion leader, you can make your brand soar through the virtual skies. LinkedIn sports a couple of neat endorsement and recommendation features, allowing first-degree contacts to endorse specific skills you have and even write up a recommendation for you, which can boost your credibility in your field, although the consensus about whether or not it affects your LinkedIn account’s placement in searches seems to point in that “doesn’t matter” direction.
However, people who manage to find your LinkedIn account will be pleased with your impressive collection of endorsements and recommendations, potentially giving you substantial credibility regarding recruiters. You can pay it forward and be a team player by doing some endorsement and recommendation of your own; just try not to expect anything in return and give it a personal touch. It can go a very long way.
If it isn’t readily apparent by now, you should be shoving your LinkedIn profile anywhere applicable to give yourself some more exposure; put it in your email signature, include it in your Facebook profile, and maybe even stick it into Twitter and Google+ (if anyone still uses that). Going along a similar vein, Try not to feel too ashamed when it comes to self-promotion; you’re spreading your brand positively and productively with some high-quality content that can prove to be useful to those interested, all the while increasing your brand’s online footprint, be proud of your custom little URL and show it to the world (like Simba but less cute).
Statistics on how optimizing your LinkedIn profile can improve job prospects and networking:
- LinkedIn members with complete profiles are 40% more likely to receive opportunities through the platform (LinkedIn)
- 89% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet and evaluate candidates during the hiring process (CareerBuilder)
- Nearly 80% of professionals consider professional brand visibility on LinkedIn important (Moz survey)
- LinkedIn profiles rank on the first page of Google search results for your name over 91% of the time (Moz)
- 66% of social media traffic referred to company websites comes from LinkedIn (Social Pilot)
- Senior-level executives see a 45% increase in inquiries from recruiters after optimizing their LinkedIn profiles (ZIPpia)
- 93% of sales reps use LinkedIn daily to connect with potential leads and build relationships (LinkedIn)
- Companies are 7x more likely to engage with employees who post content on LinkedIn regularly (Social Sprout)
Optimizing your LinkedIn presence and activity boosts exposure, authority, job-seeking, and professional networking opportunities. The data indicates a well-crafted profile delivers tangible benefits.
Tips for customizing your LinkedIn URL:
- Go to the Public Profile and URL page in LinkedIn account settings to edit it
- Choose a URL that includes your name to make it easy to remember and share
- Use a hyphen to separate first and last names rather than underscores or numbers.
- Keep it concise – LinkedIn allows up to 100 characters, but shorter is better.
- Add keywords relevant to your profession, like “marketing” or “design”, if space allows
- Set your customized URL as the contact website link on your profile
- Make sure the old generic URL redirects to your new custom URL
- Check for typos before saving – edited URLs can’t be changed again
- Use the customized URL consistently on websites, resumes, business cards, etc.
- Request endorsements containing your URL to increase exposure
- Monitor profile views and Google search results regularly for your new URL
Having an intuitive, professional username increases your LinkedIn profile visibility and makes it easier for the right people to find you.
LinkedIn feature updates:
- LinkedIn added new profile badges you can add to highlight achievements like volunteer work, publications, and courses completed.
- Users can now add pronouns to display on their profile to specify how they prefer to be addressed.
- LinkedIn expanded their cover story feature, allowing users to post video clips to their profile.
- Users can now cross-post blog content directly to their LinkedIn profile to showcase thought leadership.
- LinkedIn introduced Creator mode, which provides analytics for profiles focused on building their audience through regular posting.
- LinkedIn acquired CoachHub, an online coaching platform integrating coaching and mentoring tools into LinkedIn Learning.
- LinkedIn upgraded their Salary insights tool to allow viewers to estimate their earning potential based on profile details.
- LinkedIn launched “Business Manager” profiles that allow the creation of separate work and personal profiles under one account.
Best practices for content marketing on LinkedIn:
- Publish long-form posts (1500+ words) as LinkedIn favours in-depth articles. Include research, data, and expert perspectives.
- Optimize posts for SEO with keywords in titles, subtitles, and meta descriptions. This expands reach beyond your direct connections.
- Leverage LinkedIn’s built-in blogging and newsletter tools like Publisher.
- Promote new posts through status updates, LinkedIn Groups, and email newsletters.
- Interact with other thought leaders by commenting on and sharing their content.
- Use rich media like images, videos, presentations, and links to make posts more engaging.
- Post consistently 1-2x per week. Vary long-form with short inspiring quotes, questions, etc.
- Monitor post analytics for engagement and optimization opportunities. Pay attention to CTRs.
- Repurpose owned media assets into multiple formats – blog posts into video summaries, etc.
- Follow LinkedIn’s rules and etiquette around self-promotion. Please don’t overdo it.
- Consider sponsoring posts once you build a loyal audience for additional exposure.
All In All
Having a LinkedIn account doesn’t just give you access to a vibrant and lively professional platform full of all sorts of employment potential; it also allows you to fortify your brand’s image. It allows you to potentially reach places and people that can take you to the next step in your career, and it gives you valuable insight into whatever niche you see yourself in, share all sorts of neat info with like-minded users and gain a pretty hefty amount of experience along the way. So maybe try to find the time to invest in a LinkedIn account. Would we try to waste your time?
Think we have a point? Do you have anything to add? Please share with us in the comments and get in on the conversation.
Q: How often should you post on LinkedIn?
A: 1-2 times per week is ideal. Post consistently, but avoid spamming your network.
Q: What’s the ideal length for a LinkedIn summary?
A: 2-3 well-crafted paragraphs or about 700 words maximum is recommended.
Q: Should you connect with everyone who sends an invite?
A: Be selective and only accept invites from those you know or relevant to your goals. Don’t just connect randomly.
Q: Can you have multiple LinkedIn profiles?
A: LinkedIn only allows one personal profile tied to your account. You can create company pages.
Optimizing your LinkedIn presence is important for professional branding and opportunities in today’s digital era. Ensuring your profile is completely focused and highlighting achievements will make you stand out. Regularly posting valuable content builds your reputation as a thought leader.
With a strategic approach, LinkedIn can expand your network and visibility among relevant decision-makers in your industry. By implementing these LinkedIn profile and content best practices, you can showcase your brand and accelerate your career growth.