Digital: Using LinkedIn to your advantage

Digital: Using LinkedIn to your advantage

 
 

LinkedIn is the business-to-business platform that you want to represent yourself well on.

I’m not saying you want to look shabby anywhere else, but LinkedIn is packed with business owners and professionals who you’ll want to impress.

Simply, LinkedIn is all about you. Your personal profile is all about BRAND YOU! Think about your personal profile in the same way you do real-life networking; you’ll always turn up looking the part, ready to mingle and connect if you’re face-to-face with people.

If you do the same on LinkedIn, you’ll soon develop a fruitful network full of people you want to be surrounded by.

It is all about you and the first thing people see is your LinkedIn profile, so it’s definitely worth spending time making your profile (you) look amazing. Remember your personal profile on LinkedIn is yours and is separate from a business page or showcase page.

I like to think of my profile as a version of an ‘old-fashioned’ job application covering letter and CV (in fact you can download your profile and use it as such!).

Why use LinkedIn?

It is the social networking tool where business professionals grow their own networks, learn from their peers and create business leads. It’s a great place to find out what’s happening in your geographical area or your industry. It’s also the place where your future client may check you out before offering you that all-important contract or judge your reputation on the testimonials you’ve collected on your profile from clients and colleagues. For all of us, it’s certainly the place where we can demonstrate our knowledge and expertise in our field.

How to impress on LinkedIn

As with everything, it takes time to develop a great LinkedIn profile and it’s an on-going piece of work that will need updating as you grow in your business role and things change.

1. Make sure your profile is complete. Add the photo (a professional headshot if you have one), a banner in the background, great examples of your current work, your past work experience and anything else you deem relevant. And make sure to claim your personal URL.
The people looking to connect with you (especially those you haven’t met yet) will make a judgement on the information you add in as it’s just human nature to do so. As only half of the LinkedIn profiles are complete, it’s not that hard to make sure you stand out!

2. Share your knowledge and expertise. LinkedIn is not the place to be a wallflower. If you’re nervous about speaking out and writing your own posts or articles, start by commenting on other’s posts and make sure you’re seen by others in the conversation. Once comfortable, start sharing your own posts and write articles. It’ll not take long to get noticed.

3. Write and request testimonials. Don’t be shy. If you have done a great job for someone, ask them to share it publicly. Also when someone’s done something great for you, write them a testimonial too.

4. Get to know the other bits of LinkedIn. There are lots of sections that most of us don’t really access: learning opportunities, jobs to search for, other’s presentations to read through – loads!

5. Set up a business page. You can share information and links from your website on it and connections (and those who aren’t connected directly) can follow your business updates.

6. Connect. The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect with people and build a network. It serves no purpose not to do this. So get connecting and always send everyone a personal note with that connection request as you’ll really get noticed.

7. Login every day. If you’re serious about networking on LinkedIn, you’ll make the time. Set yourself a target to grow your network by XX many people each week and make sure to engage with those people when they post. Most importantly, you don’t have to connect with everyone who sends you a request, it’s your network so build it as you see fit.

Connect with Nicola on LinkedIn

What does success look like anyway?

What does success look like anyway?

When we think of success in business terms, we tend to think about multi-million pound turnovers, high-profit margins and lots of staff.

Every year I glance at the regional and national awards wondering why the measure of success tends to focus on turnover, financial growth and how many staff have been employed. I get it, I get it. The more money you bring in and the higher the profit margin, the more likely you’re probably doing better. And employing staff is a measure of that success. And that’s great.

But for those of us running micro-businesses, it can often be a different story.

We don’t necessarily employ staff but often have a solid supply chain working with other small businesses generating revenue for their businesses. Some of us work on our own – from choice. We may not have the biggest turnover in the world but…

What does success look like if you’re running a very small business?

Turnover, profit, net worth, bonuses and salary are all measurable quantities and are a measure of a failing business as much as a successful one. And we certainly don’t want to fail.

Status, title, holidays and possessions like jewellery, clothes, money and cars make some business owners tick.

For me, my business success is measured by me. It is exactly what I define it to be. It’s more than profit, possessions and materialistic goods.

  1. Not working for anyone else. This is my first measure of success. It means the freedom to make my own business choices, make my own mistakes, work with clients I choose and do exactly what I love doing.
  2. How my clients feel. Success for me is measured by how many business owners feel better after interacting with MINT Business Club.
  3. Resilience. The choice to pivot, change, try new things swiftly and not be accountable to anyone else.
  4. My wellbeing. Being happy, stable and a hard-working human being is right up there as one of my top successes.
  5. Living to my values. Being able to run the kind of business that holds to its values; to support, encourage, teach and include everyone.

Small business success is inextricably linked with wellbeing, happiness and lifestyle. Money gives us more choices. And we all want more choices. None of us who are self-employed, want to be poor or fail.

But success isn’t just about the money in the bank or the payroll. If you’re happy doing what you’re doing with no plans to grow to a large multi-national company – that’s pretty MINT. And remember there are 5 million people in the UK just like you. Being self-employed and happy with it is a life choice that is on the increase.

The next time you have a moment, take a minute to think about what makes your business a success for you and write it down somewhere you can always see it, just for those hard days that you need a little reminder.

If you want to link with me on LinkedIn, I’d be delighted. And remember, #WeAreMINT!