LinkedIn basics for beginners

Written by Hayley Paterson


linkedin basics

When it comes to LinkedIn, how many of us once activated an account a few years ago but then forgot about it? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It’s a platform that can’t be ignored, especially for B2B communications so check out some of my basic do’s and don’ts for you to get the most out of LinkedIn.

It’s been around for longer than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, yet when it comes to reeling off the social media platforms you’re signed up to, very few might put LinkedIn in the same category.

It can be seen by many as something for ‘corporate’ types only and there are, admittedly, instances of that. For example, you might not get as many ‘likes’ for your spaghetti bolognese you’ve agonised over in the kitchen that you would on other platforms, but LinkedIn is a key player in the social media stratosphere.

In fact, the company itself claims to have half a billion users so it’s one that can’t really be ignored especially if you’re a business looking to kickstart your B2B communications and knowing what to do… and what not to.

Therefore, it’s time to dust off that profile you once activated years ago. Give it a new lease of life now so you can share business insights, company highs (and lows) and network with peers or prospective customers.

As a starting point, here’s some basic do’s and don’ts for LinkedIn I have come across that have helped me navigate the social media platform effectively.

LINKEDIN BASICS YOU NEED TO KNOW

DO SPEND TIME ON YOUR PROFILE

See it as your ‘one-minute/elevator’ pitch… because we all love those(!) But in all seriousness, this is your calling card, it’s how you come across to your network and prospects. Spend time on it. Add a profile photo (avoid pouty or heavily-filtered Instagram-like versions – shoot for something professional, but human). Explain your job role further in the summary too – use keywords that people might be interested in, and that they could benefit from your expertise. Upload eye-catching media to showcase examples of your work (and keep this section up to date). These are basic additions to enhance your profile, but they should set you up nicely on your LinkedIn journey.

DON’T COMMIT ‘HUMBLE BRAGGERY’

Ugh. The humble brag is a rife epidemic across social media. You know the types, posting about how amazing their day has been when you’ve spent yours crying into a sad, stone-cold jacket potato because nothing’s gone right at work. You should absolutely celebrate successes, but don’t post about how you’ve turned someone’s life around to make yourself look good. LinkedIners are becoming wise to the noise and they turn-off and scroll past. However, if you must brag about something, at least do it in an effective way which creates engagement and interest for your network. So, tell us why the client you’ve secured is good for your business, what you’ll be doing with them, the plans they have and include strong imagery. By offering context and interest, your post could turn a disinterested scroller into your next customer.

DO USE THE POSTS/ARTICLES FUNCTIONS

Often overlooked, the ‘Write an article’ option is a fantastic tool for your business to speak to other B2B firms and share company insights. It’s a great way to generate content, get your messaging out there and could position you as an expert in your field (if you have something interesting to say). Make sure you have a strong image to accompany your piece. Plan your content too – make it relevant and don’t spam with hundreds of articles, you shouldn’t be saying something for the sake of it. Maybe focus on a national awareness day to make it timely or as a comment piece on a topical issue. To access the article function is easy too, just select the ‘Write an article’ tab in the post section and away you go!

DO NETWORK WITH YOUR IDEAL OR PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMER

LinkedIn is a fantastic place to network with the people you want to connect with. We’ve all been there where we’ve been thrust into a networking event and been sat next to someone who talks too much about themselves and just reels off a naff sales pitch whilst ushering a business card in your direction. That’s not your next customer. Believe me. Therefore, use LinkedIn to choose the kind of people you want to hear news from, or discover more about. Write down who your ideal customers are and then get searching on LinkedIn for the contacts whom best fit. Hopefully you’ll strike up a long-lasting, company-benefitting relationship for all concerned.

BUT… DON’T DIVE IN WITH A SALES PITCH

As much as you want to find your ideal customers, don’t push your business on someone virtually by firing in straight away with a sales pitch. It’s a total turn-off. I remember one that didn’t even bother with a ‘hope you’re well’, they just went straight into what they did, spelt my name incorrectly and expected me to complete a sale. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure what business they were trying to sell or what they were called because the approach instantly turned me off. Try and build meaningful relationships rather than chase money. Afterall, people buy from people.

So, those are just some basic do’s and don’t of LinkedIn to help you get started and aid your B2B communications so that they resonate with your ideal target market. Overall, try things on LinkedIn – see what works, what gets the most engagement and build on your network. It takes time but once you’re onto something, it can be so beneficial for your flourishing business.

You currently have JavaScript disabled. This site requires JavaScript to be enabled. Some functions of the site may not be usable or the site may not look correct until you enable JavaScript. You can enable JavaScript by following this tutorial. Once JavaScript is enabled, this message will be removed.