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Few people realise the potential of LinkedIn especially when it comes to building your online profile and connecting with the right contacts. Take your personal profile for example. Have you included the key reasons why people should get in touch with you? Your profile should not be about ‘you’ but should indicate what value you can add to your potential customers.

“Unless you’re looking for a job – your profile is not about you – it’s about them,” says Francois Muscat, WSI area representative for South Africa, and a leading digital marketing expert. According to Muscat, your LinkedIn profile should make a good first impression, and there are many ways to do this.

Having attended a full day’s LinkedIn training course by Muscat, I’d like to share these valuable tips with you.

  1. Ask questions that people will ask about your business and answer them in your profile. Remember, your profile should resonate with your target market.
  2. Create personas for every solution or product you are trying to promote and list the titles of these people. Are you wanting to talk to CEOs, MDs or HR managers? Be specific and add this information to your profile.
  3. Send direct messages to the person you want to target – will they accept a call from you? Give them a specific reason why you’re keen to connect with them.
  4. Always try to include a personal message when connecting with people by letting them know why you want to connect.
  5. Don’t always accept every person’s invitation to connect with you. Be selective and connect with people you know or would like to get to know.
  6. Get smart with your connections. Firstly you can import your contacts from Outlook, Excel and other formats. Secondly LinkedIn allows you to classify your connections with Tags allowing for personalised messages by category.
  7. Join a few LinkedIn Groups with similar interests. When you do join, introduce yourself. This gives you the opportunity to tell people what you do and offer. (As long as you don’t sell to them!)
  8. LinkedIn Groups are an excellent source for content ideas. You can listen in on conversations and understand the various challenges businesses or individuals are faced with. Use these ideas to create your own Blog content or LinkedIn posts.
  9. Answer questions on LinkedIn Groups – Very often you’ll be able to add your expertise and advice to your focus area. Don’t be shy to engage! This is how you build your online reputation and credibility.
  10. Use LinkedIn’s advanced search option. This is a powerful tool that allows you to search for specific criteria or keywords. You can even save a search so that LinkedIn notifies you via email when someone new appears. (i.e. when someone has been promoted to a particular position or changed jobs.)
  11. View your customers’ profiles to find more customers. Who are their contacts? Can they introduce you to someone new?
  12. Understand the relevant keywords. A useful Google keyword tool Muscat introduced us to is keywordtool.io.  Use it to find out what keywords your audience is typing in the Google search box. Once you know what these keywords are, you can use them in your LinkedIn profile, your website or your blog.

An essential message from Muscat is that if you’re looking for business – a company page doesn’t get you business. Your personal profile does, because, at the end of the day, people want to deal with people.

In my next post, I’ll discuss the importance of posting content on LinkedIn. “Content is the lifeblood of networking,” notes Muscat.

For more information on Francois Muscat’s LinkedIn courses contact him on http://www.wsioms.co.za/about/our-team/francois-muscat/

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