In my years of working in sales, I’ve tackled thousands of questions regarding the use of LinkedIn. Most can be summed up by one statement: “This is all so overwhelming….”
But, the truth is, LinkedIn and LinkedIn Navigator are unbelievably powerful tools that aren’t as complicated as they seem.
In both, data and algorithms can be leveraged for your professional gain, and anyone can capitalize on their benefits — even at the most basic levels, without being an expert.
In this post, I’m going to share the top 5 LinkedIn questions I receive from clients, and how I suggest you tackle each of them.
Let’s dive in.
#1: I worry about saying that I’m in sales in my headline. What should I say instead?
First, here’s the advice: Your headline is meant to state what you actually do at work, not what your title is.
Your employment history should be what states your title.
Now, here’s a great tip — make your headline about the distinct and tangible problem you solve for clients.
Whenever anyone sees your profile, or hovers over your name when you’ve commented on a post, they’ll see what benefit you can bring to them. Instead of seeing that you’re in sales, they’ll see the problem you solve, which may prompt them to read your profile and reach out to you.
#2: I want to look at someone’s profile, but I don’t want them to know I’m looking at it.
On the free version of LinkedIn, which we all have, you get what you give, so to speak.
If you mark your privacy settings to be anonymous, no one will see that you’ve looked at their profile, but be warned that you also won’t see who is looking at your profile.
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You can also set your settings as partially anonymous. This means when you look at someone’s profile, they’ll see, “Someone in sales from XYZ Company has viewed your profile,” but without any clarity of who you are otherwise. Again, though, you’ll only receive the same amount of information in return.
That said, there’s a hack here that you should know about. If you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can set your privacy settings to be totally anonymous and still see everyone who is looking at your profile. In addition, you can “save” all of those profiles — which sends you updates any time those individuals post or are mentioned in the press — all without their knowledge.
#3: I see many posts where the name of an individual or company is in blue. How do I do that and why does it matter?
This is called “tagging” someone. How do you do it? Simply type in the “@” symbol, and then begin typing the person or company’s name.
You do not need to be connected with someone, or following a company, to be able to do this.
Why is this important?
Tagging a company alerts the company of you and your post. Tagging an individual, however, alerts them and their entire network that they’ve been tagged in a post. It gets you and your post visibility to their network, without them doing a thing.
Now, there are some basic etiquette rules around this, but let me give you two examples of me using this.
Tagging a Company
I run a campaign each time I visit a city. I use my saved Starbucks points to purchase protein boxes for the homeless of that city.
I post about it from time to time, and I always tag Starbucks. I want them to know that there’s good being done with their program and food, and frankly, I have high hopes that someone at Starbucks will see it, re-share it, and inspire others.
Here’s how I get the word out.
I recently created a post to thank five (of the MANY) people in my life who have been long-standing mentors of mine or who have done a large favor for me that has had significant positive impact on my career.
The post created a snowball effect of gratitude that not only lifted spirits far and wide, but got me unprecedented visibility, netting nearly 17,000 views of my single post.
Here’s an example
These are just a few of the ways you can use tagging to boost your visibility and increase engagement on LinkedIn.
#4: Why do I care about getting views on my profile?
Views to your profile are only meaningful if you have a great profile.
Let’s say you’re in sales, and you are hoping to organically attract individuals who will do business with you. Each view of your post + profile means your name is staying top of mind for your buyers. They’re getting to see your expertise and points of view.
It’s a unique space for you to showcase how you can help buyers, what your clients think of you (via the recommendations tab), and for anyone to see what you’ve recently posted.
In short, views on their own aren’t important, but if you are selling something, own a business, or are looking for a job, then views to a well-optimized profile will increase your chance of making that sale, attracting a customer, or getting that new job.
#5: If I only change three things to make my LinkedIn profile stand out and be up-to-date, what should I change today?
There are three important aspects of your LinkedIn profile that you should optimize above all else.
Headline – Your headline is where you can tell everyone what you do. Don’t be afraid to add a personal flair to it as well.
Perhaps yours reads, “Teaching marketers how to utilize webinar data effectively; Philanthropist with a passion for financial literacy.”
Give your viewers a chance to see who you truly are and how you can help them.
Picture — Get a professional photograph taken, or use a recent photo that only has you in it. Your face should be front and center. You can include your upper body, but those pieces should take up about 70% of the picture space.
You want it to be very clear who you are (so avoid group photos), and you want it to look clean and profesional.
About section – If you’re not sure where to go here, use this framework:
Say what you specialize in.
State some of your experience, or your proudest wins that you’re able to share publicly.
Share something personal, like why you’re passionate about your work, what you invest in outside the office in terms of hobbies or philanthropy, etc.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn and LinkedIn Navigator can often seem overwhelming. Both are unbelievably powerful tools with a wealth of possibilities, and as with any social media platform, it’s constantly evolving. What works today may not work a year from now.
The good news is that the principles of LinkedIn will almost certainly hold true:
- Be yourself.
- Be social.
- Interact with people.
If you have a question, you will have a large network of people to turn to.
You don’t have to be an expert to benefit from LinkedIn. Start with the basics, build a network, and start reaping the rewards.