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How To Use LinkedIn For Business – The First Steps

You may not know this, but I am pretty good at LinkedIn.

I know! I barely mention it here, here, or here.

Whilst I keep these skills under the radar, I am aware that a lot of businesses don’t know how to use LinkedIn.

How do you set up a page? How do you post content? Where do you start?

Like anything, it can be overwhelming and when you want to make a good impression from the start, you need to have the confidence to start.

Luckily I have 4 (admittedly in-depth) steps to help make sure you’re set up for success from the get go.

Step 1 Figure out what you want

Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.

Have you often wondered why a lot of cliches have a grain of truth to them?!

You need to know what you want from LinkedIn.

When you know what goals you want to achieve then you can make the plan.

Having that plan makes the foundation of your social media strategy SO MUCH EASIER.

This business soul searching may seem like a perilous path to analysis paralysis, or on the other end of the scale, you have no idea what you want.

That’s OK.

Pick some core, simple goals.

Initially, I would recommend your goals to be something like this:

  • Make X relevant connections
  • Engage in X amount of conversations a week
  • Create X videos and X posts a month

Whatever the goal is, make sure the number you pick for X is sustainable.

It’s easy to go gung-ho on social media. But you have to be in it for the long game and LinkedIn is no exception.

I deliberately didn’t say “Get X amount of leads/sales”. Why? 

Social media marketing, any kind or any platform, doesn’t guarantee sales.

What it can do is increase leads and support lead generation campaigns.

A lot of people initially seem to think social = instant sales.

That’s why I avoid saying this as a goal when you first start, as setting yourself up for success with good habits is much more important (and makes getting sales easier in the long run).

Step 2 Set up your pages

When you sign up to LinkedIn, you must create two pages – your personal profile page and your business page.

Your personal page is the most important.

It sounds counterintuitive for a business owner to put more effort into their personal profile than their “baby”.

However, LinkedIn prioritises human connection.

One on one.

You and me.

Salt and pepper.

Ok, that last one didn’t make sense, but the point is that your personal page is more likely to drive business than a business page.

That doesn’t mean you can neglect your business page, you still need to make it amazing.

But putting more effort into your personal brand is the key to success on LinkedIn.

So let’s start with your personal page.

First, you’ve got your profile picture. Don’t be shy, get a good headshot and flash them pearly whites!

A great quality photo that shows your face clearly is key as it will act as your visual introduction to your potential customers.

With this, you also need a fantastically clear banner.

Why am I putting so much emphasis on these two things? Because it is right at the top of the page. It’s the first thing people see.

It’s prime real estate so don’t let it go to waste.

After that, your name and a catchy tagline that brings attention to you and what you do will bolster that all important first impression.

If you have a link to a website or an online form people can fill in I would recommend adding that in too. That way people have something to click on.

I wouldn’t worry about “Creator Mode” at the start of your journey, just focus on filling out your profile thoroughly, wonderfully, and engagingly (not a word but I’m sticking with it).

Your featured posts/articles/activities can be added here. If you have something successful or important to show off, do it here. 

Next up is the About section. – This is also very important as this is the first opportunity you have to use a lot of text to go in-depth about who you are, what you do, what you offer, and why we should buy it from you.

I highly, HIGHLY recommend you take your time and write this thoroughly and effectively. It has to reflect who you are, your brand, your business, your ethics, your personality, and even act as the “convincer” to your audience to buy from you.

Your experience section is a great way of describing what you do and your services.

Think of this section as your CV on steroids. Beef it up massively and use it as an extension of your About section. Who are you, what do you do, what makes you, you?

Fill in your Education, Volunteering, and any additional certificates as normal. You earned all those qualifications and experience, so why not show them off?!

Your skills you need to cherry-pick. 

What do you want to be known for?

Then add them and try and get endorsements for them.

Use your connections and previous customers to endorse that you know what you’re talking about. That way you will begin to build your business reputation.

Collecting Recommendations is going to play such an important part in continued success on LinkedIn. 

Having nice words from nice people (I hate the word testimonial) on your profile means that your future customers can trust you and what you say. Want proof? Check out my recommendations!

Business Page

Now for what you were after – the business page set up.

Well, you remember those first three things for your personal page?

The profile photo, the banner image, and the about section?

Do those for your business REALLY REALLY WELL.

That’s it. 

LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for businesses, but not necessarily for business pages.

Instead, they focus on people connecting with people and then making those connections and relationships flourish.

By all means, set up the business page, but focus more effort on your personal page to run your personal brand alongside your business brand.

Step 3 Establish your routine

Consistency in your content is the key to all of your marketing success.

What I mean by this is to make sure you are setting a manageable, effective routine with your content creation and publishing.

Your audience needs to know when and where to find you.

Establishing your routine for posting is vital particularly when you first start out.

When you start out you’re going to want to experiment with timings.

When is your audience likely to be on LinkedIn? What time do your connections seem to comment and like your post the most?

Paying attention to this in the early stages means you can set up an effective routine quickly.

Step 4 Experiment, Analyse, Refine

Now you’ve set up your page, you’ve got your plan, and you know when your audience is online – now to start the real work.

Post a bit of content.

Analyse the results

Did it work? Do it again.

Did it not work? Experiment and change it up.

Has your content worked consistently for the past couple of months? Tweak it slightly and see if that improves it.

Rinse and repeat.

Marketing is always shifting, as are your audience’s needs, wants, priorities, and more.

You have to stay ahead of the curve by understanding what changes are going to make your marketing really special.

The biggest and best piece of advice I can give you – Don’t be afraid to start over completely from scratch with your marketing.

So many people I meet are still hung up on this idea or that idea that used to work in the past, that they really loved and invested a lot of time and money into, and are constantly just replicating it with diminishing results.

You can’t be precious about this stuff. You need to experiment and change and adapt to your audience’s whims (as well as to what LinkedIn wants to prioritise) to reach the most people, get the most engagement, and eventually the most sales.

All Set Up With Somewhere To Go

Here you are, all set up and established. Both pages are complete and now you have a good idea of where to start.

Now you have to implement that plan, that roadmap even and make that journey through LinkedIn.

If you’re still mystified by it all, or if all of it sounds like far too much effort, let me know and I can help.

At the end of the day, there is no single right way of setting up and doing LinkedIn well. There are, however, millions of ways to do it wrong. 

So when in doubt follow the lead of your favourite creators and use them as an inspirational launch point for your own approach.