...it’s never too late or early to start using LinkedIn. You have to start somewhere
I didn’t always have a strong LinkedIn network or presence. Just like everyone else, I had to start from scratch. And there was a long time where I didn’t do much on LinkedIn except for accepting connections.
I dipped my toes into using LinkedIn by first building a strong profile and a wide network of connections.
I made a connections plan and thought about who I could connect with from college and graduate school as well as all of my past jobs and volunteer positions. (When it comes to LinkedIn, having more connections is better to raise the likelihood that your posts will be seen.)
Then I focused on my interaction on the platform, first liking, sharing and commenting on my network’s posts.
When I became more comfortable and confident, I started creating posts myself. Those included sharing articles I found that were relevant and useful to my network.
I used Twitter to help me source articles by following various publications of interest to me and my connections. I thought of myself as a news aggregator, bringing important information to my network.
I was able to differentiate myself by adding a few lines of text with each article explaining why it was important or insightful for someone to read. And that is such a key step to build in as part of your social strategy.
You can’t just share an article without any introductory text. You get extra points if you tag an entity or a person in the post as well. And a gold star if you start to use a hashtag strategy (hashtags help your posts become more discoverable on any social platform).
I reached my full LinkedIn potential when I began to create my own content, providing my network with helpful tips and insights. I paid attention to when my connections were on the platform so that they would be most likely to see my posts. I refined my content based on how well each post did. I started to use images and hashtags for each post.
And most importantly, I had confidence in what I was posting. I didn’t become discouraged if a post had a low number of likes, instead I tried to learn from it and refined my content strategy based upon the performance of each post.
Here’s what I did to grow my LinkedIn network and turn it into a business. If I can do it so can you!
- I focused only on the social channels where my target audience was (this meant LinkedIn)
- I liked, commented and shared others’ posts
- I started writing about my speaking engagements and created takeaway posts
- I turned my PowerPoint slides into social posts recapping the webinar or event
- I built an editorial calendar to plan future posts
- I shared only value-added content
- I created visuals for each post
- I made my content interactive and used video
- I gave away free content, tools and helpful info
- I looked at others for inspiration/ideas
- I told personal stories and injected my personality into posts
- I developed a hashtag strategy to enhance visibility of posts
- I regularly engaged with my followers – respond to each comment on your posts. It’s very helpful in terms of LinkedIn’s algorithm as well as just being a great way to interact with those who like your content.
- I built a strong profile and regularly updated it, using new features released by LinkedIn (such as the amazing Featured section which enables you to pin certain posts to the top of your profile
- I cultivated my network – adding new connections every week
- I checked my LinkedIn messages, and actively sent messages to connections with whom I had lost touch or who were important to me so that I was top of mind with them
- I recycled my greatest hits – reposting past content that did well using my editorial calendar to help me plan out content
- I set up a sharing “pod” with 4 LinkedIn connections
- I used analytics to refine my efforts
- I posted at least 3X a week (then increased that to 5X), and I didn’t get discouraged if no one liked my posts. I knew that the audience would come if I posted good content.
The greatest thing about LinkedIn is that it’s never too late or early to start using it. You have to start somewhere. We all did.
I have a lawyer client who’s in his early 60s who never used LinkedIn other than to create a profile and accept connections. He successfully started using it to bring in leads and build his brand within just 18 months of making LinkedIn part of his business development strategy. I hope this shows you that anyone can achieve success on LinkedIn and why it’s worth making LinkedIn part of your marketing strategy.
Stay the course. Social media success is a long- term investment in you!
Stefanie Marrone advises law firms of all sizes, professional service firms, B2B companies, professional associations and individuals on the full range of marketing and business development consulting services designed to enhance revenue, retain current clients and achieve greater brand recognition. She also serves as outsourced chief marketing officer/marketing department for smaller firms. Over her nearly 20-year legal marketing career, she has worked at and with a broad range of big law, mid-size and small firms, which has given her a valuable perspective of the legal industry. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her latest writing on JD Supra as