A presence on LinkedIn is now a requirement for relevant businesses. An active, growing audience is a goal to aspire to.
Navigating the digital landscape is a new frontier for many professionals, but it doesn't have to be scary or difficult.
Here are some tips for how to build a LinkedIn following.
Know Your Audience
An important thing to keep in mind when building a social media presence is that followers do not equal success.
Yes, you want to have a pool of followers, so you are not speaking out into a void, but if those followers aren't engaged in your content, it won't make an impact on your business.
You need to identify who your target audience is.
Do you want to reach the C-suite?
Or are you writing for the middle-management employee?
Always keep the focus on your target audience and what they would be interested in reading.
Writing and posting from that space should keep you on track to appeal to the right followers, not just any followers.
People Love To See Images
Because it is aimed at the professional, career-orientated network, images are not always at the top of mind for posts.
The digital climate and the human brain, however, are attracted to images on the internet.
A post with a thoughtful, relevant, or interesting photo will garner more attention and lead to more followers than plain text. Be mindful of every post's image.
In addition to posts, the images you use on your profile matter. As an individual, use a clear, professionally-minded photo of yourself.
Logos or other images that don't include your face build a wall between you and the user.
A smiling photo shows you are a real person with a real face, and real human emotions.
Even in professional settings, connecting with the human parts of you is essential to building relationships.
Think about it this way.
Would you be able to build a true connection with a person if you never saw their face or heard their voice?
Remember, the culture of LinkedIn is more like a business-casual office than the party-vibe of Instagram or the homey-feel of Facebook.
Avoid using photos that are too casual like photos of you fishing, or in a swimsuit, or drinking alcohol.
Save the fun-times for other platforms or risk being seen as unprofessional.
For a business profile, logos are encouraged. Followers do not expect one human to be the face of an entire brand.
Using a logo solidifies the connection of the brand or business name to colors and images.
Offer Incredible Value
While you should frequently be posting, do not confuse quantity with quality. You want to avoid the trap of posting just for posting's sake.
Consider what value a post is going to have for the reader.
Are you delivering facts?
Are you teaching the follower something new?
Are you providing humor?
Are you offering motivation?
If you can't find an answer to the question, "what is the value of this post?" then reconsider posting it.
Many successful users agree that an article on the platform receives more engagement than a short post.
If you blog, consider uploading the entirety of the content to the platform instead of just linking to the page.
The most important part of the post and article is the title and the first sentence.
You need to be able to grab people's attention with those words, or your content will never be seen.
Think about it from your own perspective.
If someone else had posted it, would you read it based on the title and first sentence?
That is a good marker for anything you do on social media.
Certain tricks of the trade include using numbers or statistics to provide measurable value right out of the gate.
Another useful tactic is to answer a question or provide a solution to a problem.
If you're curious to know how to make better content feel free to check out my YouTube video here.
Optimize Your Profile For SEO
Whatever keywords you have used to optimize your business website, you can use to optimize your Linkedin profile.
If you don't know what keywords to use, there are tools to help you identify what people are searching for on Google.
Some popular tools include:
Moz Keyword Explorer
Prioritize the keywords in the beginning of your profile. On Google, the first 156 characters will show up in the search results.
The most important keywords should appear here to engage with your target audience.
The tagline, a short segment that appears underneath the profile title, should include your most valued keyword.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile Frequently
The pace of social media is quick. Users are keen to notice if a link on your profile is outdated or if you haven't posted in a month.
You don't want a potential follower to reach your page and decide you have gone silent.
Make posts regularly, daily if possible, but at least weekly.
Establish a process to check links and update contact information as needed.
You need to reachable and relevant to inspire trust and intrigue.
Leverage Your Employees To Grow Faster
Are you looking to grow your business's social presence? Your current employees are your biggest asset.
Engage the workforce to share and interact with business page posts.
Each employee has a following, which exponentially expands the business reach with each share.
In order to grow followers, you have to reach users that are not already following you. The most effective way to do this is by encouraging employees to share posts.
Ensure, through communication, that employees are accurately linked to the business page as their current employer.
When an employee gains a follower, that follower should be asked to follow the business page.
You could be gaining new followers with each new follower of each employee. It is the most fantastic domino effect.
Encouragement to use social platforms as part of their job description is necessary for this plan to work.
Don't penalize employees for cruising social sites on company time; they are giving you free marketing. Instead, companies should institute a company policy that celebrates positive social interactions online.
If your business is a great place to work, then your employees will sing your praises into the digital landscape.
Learn To Read And Understand Analytics
The platform and third-party tools can deliver data about how posts and profiles are performing.
Educate yourself on what these numbers mean so you can adapt to what works.
Do you know all the terminology and the differences between common phrases like shares, likes, views, etc?
A common practice is to A/B test posts to identify what kind of language, images, subjects, and content inspire the most engagement.
For example, post an article for your business' blog in two ways.
One with one image and title and another with a different image and title.
Which one received more likes? More shares?
Repeat this process until a pattern emerges in your data.
Maybe pictures of puppies consistently outperform pictures of potatoes. Keep using puppies to grow your audience.
Don't Get Hung Up On Perfection
You are already starting from a good place by reading this article.
It means you are doing your homework and building a foundation of knowledge that will help you build a large and engaged audience.
With social media, perfection is not expected. Users are hit with information constantly from all directions, and the platforms are casual.
No one is expecting the perfect novel or award-winning screenplay from your posts.
So, don't let perfection get in the way of you experimenting to find out what works. The more you post, the more feedback the platform and users will offer you.