Patrick Berzai

It might not be the most riveting platform in the social media sphere, but LinkedIn is a critical tool to developing better professional relationships and showcasing your skills. Soft touches on the network can augment the overall feeling prospects and clients have about you, all while proving your industry leadership.

I recently gave a presentation to my colleagues at Brafton on building a stronger LinkedIn presence, and solicited their feedback on my tips. While this started as an internal training, I realize it’s something a lot of my clients ask about, so I wanted to broadcast our conversation.  Since customers and contacts search for you and because the network announced that it will open up more influencer options, there is no time like the present to revisit your professional LinkedIn presence.

“Everything you do on LinkedIn needs to speak to how you want to be perceived in the professional sector,” Content Marketing Strategist Suzanne Conlon said following the presentation. “Be mindful and aware of what you’re saying and how you’re interacting so that you can not only work to enhance your personal value, but also gain trust and credibility among your peers and industry experts.”

4 reasons it’s important to have a LinkedIn presence:

  • 77 percent of users research companies on LinkedIn.
  • 65 percent of journalists use Linkedin as research material.
  • 50 percent of users build new networking relationships with individuals who may influence customers.
  • 44 percent of professionals on LinkedIn increase face to face effectiveness through the network.

So, now that you know LinkedIn is key for thought leadership and interaction, here are four ways to make a stronger impression on the social network:

Optimize your profile to create a real self-portrait

A business-centric network doesn’t have to lack personality: Try to give a snapshot of who you are as a professional on and off the site. Link your profile to your various social media channels and take advantage of the option to upload slides, presentations and portfolio materials right into your profile. Remember to be yourself: Ultimately you control people’s perception of you with your profile.

Think of how you’d engage offline. If you’re making yourself out to be someone completely different virtually than how you’d act in a group setting, you’ll be sending out mixed signals.

“Being yourself and using the way that you act offline to dictate how you should act online is refreshing,” Content Marketing Strategist Brendon Cottreau said. “So many experts will try to define the perfect way to ‘act’ on the platform and an honest approach is better in the long run.”

Share content (but not just yours)

Have multiple clients asked you a question that could be answered through an article? Does the content you’re sharing add value through humor, education or awareness to your connections’ newsfeed? Did your company or coworker achieve a milestone or award? These are all questions to ask when thinking about what to post.

Another important consideration is to share thoughts outside yours or your company. By providing a variety of content formats, you’re showing that you’re not only advertising yourself and your services – you actually are interested in what’s happening in the industry.

“It’s easier than I thought to make an impact,” Content Marketing Strategist Colleen Grogan said. “You can build your credibility and visibility on LinkedIn just by sharing a couple neat posts a week.”

Start a conversation

Did you know there are more than 200 conversations on LinkedIn happening every minute, and more than 8000 new groups start weekly?

When joining the conversation on LinkedIn, the first question to ask yourself is: which groups will be most beneficial, for both you and the group? By creating a group or joining a network, you’re engaging and proving credibility, and your clients could join the conversation.

Congratulate or endorse someone

Did a coworker or client say something you found insightful? Endorse him or her- it cannot be easier to do. But if they don’t deserve it, don’t do it: make it mean something.

There are several types of endorsements, and it’s simpler than you think: give a compliment, an overall reputation recommendation, or highlight a recent achievement or milestone you were impressed with.  You don’t need a reason to highlight the achievements or reputation of a colleague or client, but recognition is always appreciated.

A strong LinkedIn presence for your personal brand is as important as optimizing the network for your business. Our Brafton strategists can help with both.