How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile to Find Potential Customers If you only think of LinkedIn as a platform people use to find jobs or connect with their network, think again.
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In his book Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, Mitch Myerson introduces you to 22 innovators who have redefined the developing landscape of online marketing. Learn how to master proven strategies, avoid costly mistakes and grow your business. In this edited excerpt, contributing author and LinkedIn expert Viveka Von Rosen offers tips on creating a LinkedIn profile, then targeting your searches, to find your target market.
Are you, like many professionals, still not convinced of the power of LinkedIn? Here are some stats that might change your mind:
- LinkedIn is the number-one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites.
- LinkedIn members are 50 percent more likely to engage with a company they engage with on LinkedIn.
- LinkedIn drives more traffic to B2B blogs and sites than Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ combined.
- Ninety-three percent of marketers rate LinkedIn as effective for generating leads.
- Sixty-five percent of companies acquired B2B leads through LinkedIn.
Your first step to attracting prospects on LinkedIn is to create a powerful profile. Start with your Professional Headline -- it's the area right underneath your name, the 120 characters that describe who you are and what you do. Most people just have their "Title" at "Company" (because that's LinkedIn's default), but this is a great place for a tagline and a few keywords.
Because your picture, name and Professional Headline are usually what people see in most communications on LinkedIn, whether you're responding to a group update, sending a message, inviting someone to connect or using the introduction feature, invest the time to make it engaging.
A lot of people skip the description field of their Experience section, but I'd strongly urge you not to. You have 1,000 characters in this area to plant your keywords. As you describe what you do and what your company does, these keywords are going to naturally settle right in. And with LinkedIn's search algorithm, the description section of your Experience is more important than ever!
In the Background section of your profile, make sure to use the most of the 2,000-character Summary field to expound on who you are and what you do. Keep the Summary section customer-facing, by being clear on how what you do benefits your prospects.
The Interests section, found at the very bottom of your profile under Additional Information, is the only section on LinkedIn into which I recommend you blatantly dump your keywords. You have 1,000 characters to add both personal interests (hiking, biking, walking, judo) as well as the list of the keywords you use for SEO. Just paste in your list, and make sure you separate each keyword or keyword phrase with a comma so the words are searchable.
If you get the right keywords in these four sections, you have a much better chance of your profile showing up when someone does a search on them. Since LinkedIn actually drives more traffic than Google+ and Bing, you need to make sure that you, not your competition, are being found by your prospects.
Now let's talk about the best ways to search and find prospects on LinkedIn.
1. Advanced search.
LinkedIn's Advanced Search is found just to the right of the Smart Search box. (The tiny, light gray link that says "Advanced.") The Advanced Search is available to everyone no matter what membership you have. Once you click on the link, a new page opens and you'll now have the ability to search by:
- First name
- Last name
- Title or potential title
When working with LinkedIn, it's so important to know who your target market and prospects are. You must be clear on your "buyer" or "purchaser persona." Once you're clear on who these individuals might be, it's an easy cut and paste into these different search fields on LinkedIn.
- What keywords would your target buyer have in their profiles?
- What would their titles be?
- Where would they work?
- Where did they go to school?
- Where would they live?
2. Boolean search.
Even with the Advanced Search, we don't always get as accurate a result as we'd like. To more fully refine a search, consider using Boolean logic or Boolean search strings.
Boolean search uses a series of "modifiers" to help you refine your search. These modifiers include:
- + and " " to hold search phrases together
- OR when you're not sure of a title or keyword
- AND to definitely include a search term or phrase
- NOT to exclude a search term or phrase
+ or " "
If you're doing a search for a Chief Executive Officer and don't use the little plus sign (+) between chief and executive and officer (chief+executive+officer) or you didn't put that phrase in quotation marks, then LinkedIn will search for a bunch of "chiefs" and a bunch of "executives" and bunch of "officers." Your result is going to be much less targeted than if you'd used the + sign or the quotation marks around the phrase: "chief executive officer."
If you're just not quite sure about whom you're looking for, then OR becomes your best search friend. Maybe you want to work with the head of a company. What does the head of the company call him or herself? Did they choose CEO OR "chief executive officer" OR founder OR owner OR partner OR co-owner OR co-founder OR... . If you didn't use OR and put the wrong title in the title search field, then you lose the opportunity of seeing everyone who might be a good fit. You can use the OR modifier in both the keyword and Title (and company) fields on LinkedIn.
Use AND when you want to clarify an audience or a niche. If you were looking for a CEO OR owner OR founder OR partner AND you wanted to make sure to only search for people in the legal industry, you would simply add AND legal AND law AND lawyer AND law firm to your search. If you're not sure what keywords you want to add, you can always use parentheses to hold options together. Your search might look like this: CEO OR chief+executive OR founder AND (legal OR lawyer OR law).
I think the most important modifier is NOT. When you get your search results, you might see a lot of competitors show up (or employees or job seekers or consultants). If you're not interested in any of those folks as prospects, you can erase them from your list by using NOT. You might want to add: NOT consultant NOT jobseeker NOT . The use of NOT will definitely target and clarify your results.
For more information or to access exclusive audio interviews with superstars from this book visit OnlineMarketingSuperstars.com.