Q&A: Anne-Marie Shepherd of The Design Trust, asks Sarah Hughes about creative businesses and the world’s #1 professional network.
Sarah, why, as a creative business, should we be on LinkedIn?
Great question, Anne-Marie.
Here’s a simple answer: write a list of all of the people who could help you to grow your business. For example:
- Institutions and educational organisations
- Funding bodies
Search for these people by name, job title or organisation, on LinkedIn.
Are they there? It’s likely they will be.
Then, LinkedIn is the best portal through which to find and reach out to them.
LinkedIn offers the world’s best business directory and many free features to reach the most targeted professional audience in the world.
Why is having a strong LinkedIn profile so important? What should I make this profile do?
25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed daily.
Not only that, LinkedIn is searchable via main search engines, such as Google.
When someone searches for you or your company by name, it’s likely your LinkedIn profile will be one of the first sites in the search results.
So, yes, it’s important to have a strong profile.
After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Your profile should clearly identify:
- What you do/offer and why
- Who you/your company is relevant to and why
- A call to action and contact details.
It should also provide a flavour of you and your brand, and create a great first impression.
As a creative business, what steps should I take to optimise my LinkedIn profile? (headline, images, achievements, products – what should I include?)
Have a great head and shoulders pic, where you’re recognisable and look approachable and positive.
LinkedIn is a personal networking tool.
You wouldn’t walk into an event or meeting with a brown paper bag on your head!
Make the most of the banner graphic at the top of your profile – for example; you could include a montage of your products/creativity.
The headline (section below your pic) can be keyword-loaded and should also contain a feature of your offer – or for example, your strap line.
Images are fundamental, especially with you being in the creative sector.
There are now many places you can include them:
- Within your personal summary
- Attached to roles
- On your company page
- Within status updates on your personal and company page.
The personal summary and role sections each allow for up to 2,000 characters – make sure you use the space fully – and write the profile from your audiences’ perspectives.
Include who your audiences are, and how you can help them.
Remember too, that video can be uploaded within your personal profile, on your Company Page, within articles and your status updates!
Are recommendations an important feature for my business?
Recommendations are a major part of social proof.
After all, it’s better to show rather than tell.
Saying you’re wonderful yourself is advertising.
When your customers and stakeholders say you’re great – that’s PR!
Ask key people to recommend you.
Remember you can recommend them too, but only do so if you really rate them.
Write why you rate them – and ask the recommender to do this too. Ask them to be specific.
Endorsements are also useful, as they’re searchable.
You can add up to 50, but I think it’s better to have fewer. What do you want to be primarily known for?
How can I build relationships and network on LinkedIn?
Consider first, what is the value of connecting with you?
How will you make it worthwhile to be part of your network?
Ideas for building relationships, include:
- Connect with a personalised invitation
- Send relevant messages to specific individuals you’re connected with – remember to build relationships, rather than simply go straight in with a sales message
- Monitor your connections’ updates, like, comment and share
- View your target audiences’ profile.
If a member has viewed your profile who is a prospect or influencer and you’re not yet connected with them, invite them to connect and then relationship-build – as above.
Who should I be targeting and what do I say?
When you’ve identified who you want to reach out to, consider what’s the benefit of your request to them?
State this concisely in your message and be clear on what you want the recipient to do as a result.
Brevity and precision are better than a rambling vagueness.
Is it valuable for me to write posts on LinkedIn showcasing knowledge of our area of work?
It can be, if you’re targeting e.g. retailers, stakeholders, in other words, professionals you can identify and reach on LinkedIn.
If your audience is predominantly consumers, it’s worth at least having a good profile, possibly a Company Page (so you secure the url for this) on LinkedIn.
However, I recommend that you focus more on other platforms, such as Instagram, pinterest, Facebook and twitter.
Is LinkedIn the right arena for me to share images of my work and videos of my making process?
Want Sarah’s help? Or love to have LinkedIn ‘done for you’?
6 ways Sarah helps:
- Prospect Booster – the LinkedIn lead gen done for you service reaches out to prospects or referrers and intermediaries. Suitable for businesses whose average lifetime value is £15k+ and if you have £3k min to invest in lead gen.
- Linked Strategy – a route map for how your organisation or company can leverage LinkedIn
- Interactive Workshops/Webinars/Expert Speaker – bookable by organisations/associations for members or companies for their team(s)
- Personal Profile Optimisation – your profile expertly optimised for you so you attract leads in your sleep!
- Coaching – online sessions with Sarah to ensure you achieve your targets and know what to write and to whom on LinkedIn!
- Power Hour – Sarah’s most affordable service, instantly book your intensive 60 minutes, bespoke action-packed online video session. Find out more and instantly book here.
Interested in any of the above? Then get in touch to see how Sarah can help by calling o121 363 0077 or email Sarah.
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Material copyright Boost Business Growth Ltd 2019