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Posted on November 5, 2017 by
Can we talk about the power of LinkedIn when it comes to search? Because sometimes I feel like LinkedIn gets a bad rap—it doesn’t have the universal appeal of Facebook or the glitz and glam of Instagram; it’s not the cool kid on the block like Snapchat or the crafty mom like Pinterest. LinkedIn often seems like the “boring” social network . . . but that’s far from the truth, especially for businesses.
Regardless of this reputation, LinkedIn has clout and staying power (having launched nearly 15 years ago!) for good reason: it actually works. Perhaps most well known as being a great place for potential employees to find good jobs and great companies to find suitable hires, LinkedIn has built a solid business on social networking with a professional purpose. That’s a valuable resource for both parties, no doubt—but I’ve found that the value of LinkedIn search goes beyond that for businesses: LinkedIn is a useful tool to help clients find your business, too.
Unfortunately, far too many companies fail to realize the value that LinkedIn optimization provides. Your website is important, of course—and your blog and your Medium profile are, too! But when it comes to social networks, LinkedIn is the unsung hero for securing new client leads. And in today’s post, I’ll show you how.
These are my top 7 tips for using LinkedIn search to help new clients find you:
1. Identify Your Keywords
This is a pretty key (see what I did there?) step across all of your platforms. If you want your clients to find you, you need to be clear about the best keywords for your business. Keywords are the foundation of search engine optimization (SEO): you are optimizing your website, your blog or your LinkedIn profile with the keywords your ideal client would type into search to find you. We’ve written in-depth about finding exactly the right long-tail keywords for your business, but we’ll reiterate here: finding your keywords is the first step every single time. If you haven’t done this research already, find your keywords now—they will serve you well with LinkedIn search and wherever else you’re writing copy or content for your business.
2. Use Descriptive Keywords in Your Profile
Once you know your keywords, use them! Use them the same way you would on your website—but this time you’ll apply them to your LinkedIn profile. Add keywords to your job titles, website titles, job descriptions, About Me, skills, custom URL—and even your name! You can even take advantage of the SEO within your images: before uploading your profile photo or any images in your post, make sure the image names include keywords that LinkedIn search can find. Search engines search content and images, so it’s important to utilize photos as an SEO resource, too! All that being said, try not to go overboard. As with any other platform, search engines will flag an abuse of keyword usage. Make sure your title and descriptions are still coherent, clear, and clever—something both LinkedIn search, Google and your future clients will appreciate!
3. Complete Your Profile
Have you completed your LinkedIn profile? I get it—LinkedIn asks a lot of questions . . . but answering every single one of them totally works in your optimization favor. And LinkedIn even offers a tool to help you out! The “Profile Completion Meter” shows you the strength of your profile according to LinkedIn search results. And their advice? Always add more! The more complete your profile is, the better. Review your profiles (personal and company) and make sure you’ve added information for every single section. In the end, this offers valuable information to a curious potential client, but it’s also a great exercise for you—you can re-use anything you write here on your website, on other social channels, in job descriptions and more! Consider this an opportunity and an exercise to learn more and express more about your business . . . and to get that Meter to “Complete”!
4. Share Valuable Content
Again, this tip works across platforms: create and share valuable content. LinkedIn offers a thriving, connected publishing platform built directly into their site and accessed directly through your profile. You might use this resource to repost or re-purpose your company blog posts or you might create new material specifically for your LinkedIn community. Either way, take advantage of the opportunity to build credibility and offer value to your community, and to use LinkedIn search to help potential clients find you! Also, the content you share doesn’t just have to be content you’ve written—when you read a useful article or watch interesting videos or “Like” valuable status updates from other thought leaders in your industry, share them on your page. The goal is to provide value to your clients and to show LinkedIn’s search tool that you’re engaged on their platform—sharing interesting content (whether or not it is written by you) is a way to do both!
5. Join Groups
This tip is an easy one: join some LinkedIn groups! Remember that LinkedIn is a social network, after all—the idea is to network with new people, build connections and collaborate with future clients, customers and partners. One key tip? Join groups with titles that align with your keywords (remember those back from tip #1?) Every group you join shows up in your LinkedIn profile, and LinkedIn search (and Google, too!) crawls through these names to match your profile with keyword searches. But don’t just use LinkedIn groups as an SEO tactic—actually engage! Offer your insight, answer questions (and ask them, too!) and make connections. Again, the basic purpose of LinkedIn (and any other social network) is to make connections: with future clients, with future collaborators and with anyone to whom you can provide value. Join a few groups and start doing just that today!
6. Create Backlinks
Link to your LinkedIn profile whenever possible—on your own website and blog, when you write guest posts on other sites, on your social media channels and in your email signature. We’ve written about the importance of backlinks before. They improve SEO and drive traffic—two immediate and very important goals for nearly all businesses and a handy tool in your LinkedIn optimization toolbelt. And while our focus is usually on creating backlinks to your own website, I’d encourage you to not forget that LinkedIn is a site with 500 million users; people are waiting to find you there—help them do exactly that by giving them the links to find and follow you there.
7. Create a Company Profile AND a Personal Profile
While a LinkedIn for Business profile is important, a personal profile is key, too. For instance, you can’t send direct messages (known on LinkedIn as “InMail”) from a company LinkedIn profile, and a personal profile provides a name and a face to your company to future customers, to future employees, to future business connections and more. And don’t worry: every LinkedIn search tip we’ve shared in today’s post applies across both profiles. Our final advice? Take the time to do exactly that, applying the best LinkedIn optimization tactics to make sure the clients that really need what you have to offer know exactly how and where to find you on LinkedIn.
Do you or your company use LinkedIn? Have you optimized your profile(s) to attract new clients through LinkedIn’s search tool? Share your favorite tips from the list above—and include a link to your profile!—in the comments below.