LinkedIn is my favourite social network – more so than Twitter, Instagram for business and even Facebook, and I’ve been able to get more out of it than any other platform.
Around a year or so ago, I decided to invest time and effort into growing my LinkedIn presence and making the most out of my profile. I’d observed how useful the tool was for career and business growth, and I wanted to take my membership to the next level.
So, I chipped away at developing my presence by updating my profile, growing relevant connections, and delving deep into the functionality the site offers – while keeping my membership at the free level.
The results have been immense: my connections have skyrocketed, LinkedIn is my second highest referrer (only after Google), I’m a top contributor in several medical writing and networking groups with thousands of members, and I have messages every week from recruiters, connections and potential clients.
I believe making the most out of LinkedIn is about being smart and strategic. The obvious advice is to ensure your profile is polished and current (complete with a professional-looking image), to invite relevant connections that will benefit your career, and to request some genuine recommendations. But there are other key steps that can help to get more out of your membership as well. Here’s what has worked for me.
Do what LinkedIn tells you to do
You might think you’ve added every job, skill, connection and interest that you possibly can. But LinkedIn knows better. On the right hand side of your home screen, LinkedIn tells you who you might know, who’s visited your profile, more skills you could add and key profile information you’re missing. For more tips, click on the big blue button inviting you to improve your profile on your profile page.
Tip: by following LinkedIn’s guidelines and suggestions, you can be certain your profile is as complete and accurate as possible. This leads to greater exposure among your professional network.
Ensure your profile contains relevant keywords
If you want to enhance your presence in the health and medical writing industry, you need to be certain that your profile contains relevant keywords that represent your current career situation. Sometimes your current job title isn’t representative of your skills as a whole. You could be employed as a medical writer, but if you also specialise in copywriting, proofreading, editing and project management then these terms should feature prominently in your job descriptions. Remember, be as specific as possible: think of terms that others would be likely to use to search for you.
Tip: look at your title. Is it broad or general? Could you improve it? Does it include your business name if you’re a freelancer? Look at how the leaders in your field have described themselves in their titles for inspiration.
If you aren’t sure how much information to include in your profile, check out this handy interview with LinkedIn’s head of communications for Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, Tara Commerford >>
Share content, sparingly
I share all my new posts on LinkedIn as updates and within groups, and as I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is my second-highest source of traffic. Why? Because I’m promoting relevant content to targeted connections and groups (you’re probably reading this because you saw a link to it on LinkedIn!). I am mindful not to share EVERYTHING in EVERY group, though.
Tip: be careful not to duplicate content or spam your network. It’s not a good look to see the same post over and over in many similar groups, so you need to find a balance. I usually choose two groups when I promote my posts, so I’m reaching readers within the health and medical writing world without overkill.
Understand who’s looking at your profile and why
You can’t always see who’s viewed your profile for privacy reasons, but you can usually get a feel for the types of users who have been checking you out. Think about what led them to your profile. Are they people you want to attract? Are they relevant?
Tip: study who’s looked at your profile every time you log in. If they’re not people you want to attract, update your profile to be more representative of your career goals.
Read your news feed every time you log in
When you log in, take the time to see what your connections are posting, sharing and commenting on. This is your professional network, so you need to understand what’s happening inside of it. If you have competitors, keep an eye on what they’re up to as well.
Tip: interact with your connections by liking, sharing and commenting on their updates.
Play an active role in groups
It’s not enough to join groups about health and medical writing and leave it at that. You need to play an active role in the groups you’ve joined in order to get the most benefit. This means engaging in discussions and sharing content – your own (sparingly, remember), and posts by others you’ve found interesting.
Tip: join groups that contain a lot of members but that also have discussions on most posts. You can soon tell if groups don’t have an engaged membership if most of the posts don’t have any likes or comments.
Utilise LinkedIn for companies
If you’re an employee, or if you have your own health communications business, consider setting up a LinkedIn page with the view to post your updates regularly and promote your business activities. You can list services and get more followers for increased exposure.
Tip: find other relevant companies you are interested in and follow them. Study how they use the LinkedIn for companies feature for inspiration.
Promote your LinkedIn profile externally
Grow your list of relevant connections by including a link to invite others to connect with you at every client touch point. Include this on your website footer, about page, any guest blog posts, business cards, presentations, online bios, and email signatures. Remember, you don’t have to accept every connection that comes your way if it’s not relevant.
Tip: When you promote your LinkedIn bio, include a personal, friendly message inviting connections.
Finally – you guessed it – you can find me on LinkedIn here, and I’d be thrilled to connect. I’m also interested to read about how you use LinkedIn: what’s worked, and what hasn’t? Please do share your tips below!