What businesses are getting wrong on LinkedIn — and how to fix it

| December 17, 2020

The New Year is almost upon us, and it’s time to set our sights on what we want to achieve in 2021 and beyond. Let’s put aside getting fit and meditating, and focus on business-related resolutions — those high-impact changes you can make that will increase your reach, earn credibility, and grow your brand.

With one in three workers embracing working from home (#WFH) during the pandemic, 2020 taught us the importance of online networking. It started as a necessity, but a staggering 82 per cent of business leaders plan to maintain at least a partial work-from-home structure even when COVID-19 no longer poses a threat to employees.

With all this in mind, optimising your business’s digital presence should be at the top of your resolution list. The best place to do that is LinkedIn — but how might surprise you.

What businesses are getting wrong on LinkedIn

On the surface, it makes sense. Companies should focus on their LinkedIn company page. It’s where so many marketers direct their focus, time, and money. But here’s the truth: company pages don’t work as a standalone strategy. The pages are largely ignored, and the posts are not liked or commented on in the newsfeed.

Instead of allocating all of your attention on the company page, businesses should focus on building employees’ and leaders’ personal profiles. People connect and trust people. Not brands.

Think about it this way. LinkedIn is a town square. You shouldn’t be waving a billboard; you should be engaging with your fellow townspeople through meaningful conversation.

The strategy is as simple as ensuring your employees look professional (a branded background banner helps) and are posting content regularly. You’ll broaden your brand reach without spending one single cent.

Crafting a compelling LinkedIn profile people can connect to

LinkedIn is not push marketing. Its brand-building power lies in the pull of genuine relationships.

Think of your profile as the starting point for these relationships, as your opportunity to make an impression and share not just what you do but why you do it.

Here are five must-know tips for crafting a compelling LinkedIn profile in 2021 that builds credibility, positions you (and, in turn, your business) as the expert, and inspires real human-to-human connection.

Tip 1: Rethink your Professional Headline

Aside from your name and photo, your Professional Headline is the only part of your profile that is immediately visible in LinkedIn search results. You have 220 characters to grab people’s interest, and your position and company name aren’t going to stand out.

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. What problem do they want to be solved? If you can capture that in your Headline, you’re golden.

Tip 2: Share your passion in your About section

Your About shouldn’t be a monotonous list of your professional achievements. Instead, it should capture the passion behind what you do. Let your personality and values shine through. Be authentic. Give your reader something to relate to. If you can spark the beginnings of a genuine connection, you’re more than halfway there.

Tip 3: Avoid doubling up on Skills

Your Skills section provides that all-important social proof that you have the know-how to deliver on your promises. It also impacts your search rankings, which is crucial if you are to be found by customers or investors.

Take the time to go through the skills you have listed and delete those that are similar. If you have both ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ on your profile, for example, all you’re doing is diluting your endorsements.

Tip 4: Build your Experience section to reflect your objective

If you’re applying for a job at an ice cream shop, there’s no point including your pet grooming skills in your resume. Apply this logic to your Experience section — even if your goal isn’t to secure a new job but enhance your reach and industry authority.

Start with an objective and write from there. If your goal is to attract new clients, for example, focus on how you solve their problems.

Tip 5: Use the Media and Featured sections to highlight key messages

Your LinkedIn profile is far more sophisticated than an online resume — it’s your digital reputation that validates who you are, what you do, and your expertise. You can build up this reputation using the Media and Featured sections, which are often under-utilised.

Media can be relevant to each job listed in your experience section. Include evidence of your business successes, such as awards, presentations, videos, and web links.

Then, use the Featured tool to push your highest-value Media front and centre.

Individuals make up the whole

Implementing the above five tips across your own profile takes a few hours, but when you consider how that lifts the perception of your business, it’s time well invested. Encourage your team members and employees to do the same. It’s when you collectively work to build your business’s credibility online that the magic happens.