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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.
Posted on October 22, 2017 by
Learning how to blog successfully can be intimidating, especially if you don’t consider yourself a writer. Don’t worry—we have the writing tips you need! Because when you have a business, blogging is important: blogging builds your credibility, feeds your SEO and allows you to provide valuable information to your customers for free.
And learning how to blog well doesn’t have to be so hard. You don’t need to be the best writer to write good blog posts. Some of the best writing tips have little to do with the specific words you write anyway.
Instead of dreading your blog as “yet another task on your to-do list”, consider these five unique and actionable writing tips to help you learn how to blog better—and actually enjoy the process, too!
Know Your Audience
You likely have a good sense of your ideal customer already—after all, you target your products or services to them. Consider them again as you write for your blog:
What topics do they want or need to read about, especially relating to your business and your industry? What is a proper post length? How often should you create and publish content?
These are all questions that can be answered well when you consider them from the perspective of the people you’re hoping to serve.
ACTION: Get clear on the people who want or need what you provide—create a persona of your ideal customer, if you haven’t already. Then, make a list of five topics they would want or need to read about.
While writing important, engaging and valuable content for your audience, the best blog posts are about topics that interest you as well. This task shouldn’t be too hard—you’re already running a business that you know and love. So, start there.
Pick blog post topics that interest you, too; they might include subjects you know like the back of your hand or they might require a little research. But make it fun! Eventually, you may find you learn and gain as much from the experience of writing regularly for your blog as your readers and future customers.
ACTION: Brainstorm five different topics you’d like (or even, love) to write about as they relate to your business or your industry. Compare this list to the five topics your customers want to read and find the overlap.
Create a Calendar
The best writing doesn’t usually appear under pressure. When you have an editorial calendar to plan your posts, you’ll not only give yourself time to write a solid post (with ample time for feedback and revisions), you’ll also avoid the dreaded “writer’s block” where you sit down to a blank page and don’t know what to write.
Spend some time every month—or ideally, every quarter—mapping out a consistent schedule of blog posts. Remember to consider your audience and yourself. What do they want to read? What information are you excited to share? And remember to tie content into your product calendar, events or holidays, too!
Simply put: Make a calendar and plan time to write ahead of scheduled publish-dates to relieve the pressure of coming up with (simply mediocre) posts at the last minute.
ACTION: Create an editorial calendar for the next quarter, starting with the topics you’ve already brainstormed. Then, assign publish dates for each topic.
Edit With a Second Pair of Eyes
Ernest Hemingway is quoted as having said writers should: “Write drunk. Edit sober.” While we wouldn’t go quite that far, we would argue that one of the best writing tips is to always edit what you’ve written. And edit with a second pair of eyes.
That second pair of eyes may belong to someone else on your team or a freelance editor that you hire to review your work. Or that second pair of eyes may still be yours—once you’ve given yourself a few hours (or ideally, a few days) to step away from your blog post and refresh your vision (both physically and mentally).
You’re learning how to blog better because you know how important blogging is for your business. Don’t diminish your insight or credibility with grammatical errors, mis-attributed research and cliched phrases. Make sure you edit your posts every single time.
ACTION: Schedule buffer time for editing your blog posts by setting internal deadlines. Look at the publish dates for each blog post in your editorial calendar, then work backwards to schedule internal deadlines for first drafts, feedback and revisions.
Hire Someone Else To Write for You
You may not like writing. Or you may like it, but find that you don’t have the time or energy to blog consistently. That doesn’t mean you should give up on blogging altogether.
(You know that, of course—that’s why you’re reading this article!)
And that’s okay. Much like most of your business, learning how to blog often means learning how to delegate. If you can’t consistently write posts for your blog, hire someone else to do the writing.
Like with editing, this writer may be someone already on your team or maybe a contractor—either way, find someone who likes to write; who knows your business, your industry and your audience well; and who can meet the deadlines outlined in your editorial calendar.
ACTION: Write up a job description for your business blog writer. HINT: Use the writing tips above to describe exactly the sort of writer and teammate you’re seeking.
Do you blog for your business? What are your biggest writing challenges? Share your thoughts—and perhaps the tips you might try—in the comments below.
Posted on September 24, 2017 by
Social media marketing campaigns become especially important during the holidays—there is more money being spent during that time of year. And not unlike your average social media campaign, a holiday marketing campaign takes a lot of planning and preparation. It’s important (and helpful) to start your planning early to ensure your campaign runs smoothly and effectively, connecting with the audiences who can’t wait to scoop up your holiday deals! These are our top six tips to help you increase sales with social media over the holidays.
Have you run a successful social media campaign during the holidays before? Do you have any additional tips to share? We’d love to hear your insights in the comments below!
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