We asked a handful of knowledgeable PR professionals for their best tips for leveraging LinkedIn for PR and personal branding. All agree that LinkedIn is a prime destination for sharing content and building community.
LinkedIn was launched in 2003 as a social networking site for the business community but it has evolved as a go-to place to publish ideas and gather “deep data” on companies, candidates and connections.
So, if you still thought LinkedIn was only good for searching jobs or candidates, read on for our top 10 ways to use it for PR and branding.
Create well-organized profiles and update them regularly. Site visitors are more savvy than ever and nothing says “red flag” quicker than an out-of-date page, a page with no photo or a user who doesn’t publish or share content. Keep your pages fresh with photos, videos and other links. Always be able to answer yes to these questions. Does my profile make a good impression? Is it up to date?
Always be linking. True to the site’s name, “linking” is the heart of LinkedIn. Think about adding links to all your social platforms. Add links to blogs, websites, and Twitter/Facebook profiles for better circulation of content. Do this daily when you’re checking in on all your sites. Robust LinkedIn pages are proven to be viewed more often.
Recommendations beget more recommendations. LinkedIn makes it simple to provide recommendations for colleagues and others. We like recommendations over endorsements since LinkedIn endorsements are a rote function and don’t really speak to someone’s skills. Recommending and being recommended is part of the successful formula that will lead to productive networking.
Work those connections. Look for mutual connections with someone and ask to be introduced; it can pay off in the long run. Be careful in following LinkedIn etiquette, however. Don’t connect to people you haven’t worked with on at least some level or haven’t been introduced to —that can be considered unprofessional.
Share content. Make a commitment to share blog posts, articles and other interesting, relevant content with your LinkedIn connections. This is a great way to communicate without asking for anything in return. If your content is compelling, you will likely get comments which can promote dialogue and help nurture a relationship.
Be a commenter. Show your connections you value their insight and thought leadership. Read posts and articles and comment thoughtfully. Look for who is commenting on relevant posts and engage them to build your network.
Tell journalists who you are. Does your profile highlight your areas of expertise? Have you “linked in” to journalists you’ve worked with or had a connection and were introduced to? Media often use the site to ferret out expert sources for inclusion in stories.
Asked and answered. LinkedIn provides users with the ability to pose business questions and get them answered by experts (furthering your connections). This is also your opportunity to answer questions in your field and up your authority quotient on the site.
Use influencer opportunities. As you spend more time infiltrating discussion groups and Q&A forums, you’ll be able to identify the real influencers – the most well-connected and powerful voices in various sectors. Often, you’ll find that these people have many “best answers” in the Answers section, and if you’ve been doing a good job cultivating and nurturing relationships, someone will likely be able to introduce you to one or more of them. Build relationships with them and see if they can become an advocate for your brand.
Put yourself out there. Seek out and join industry and special interest groups. If you can’t find the niche you need, create your own group. The best way to home in on like-minded individuals or find clients for your business is to join smaller, specialized groups. It may be time-consuming, but like all LinkedIn opportunities, the return is worth the investment.
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