Updated December 2018
LinkedIn is often seen as the land of the jobseeker, the salesperson, and the recruiter. But what if your job isn’t externally facing – is it worth spending time there?
In other words, how can you use LinkedIn if you like your job and simply want to do it better?
If you look beyond just updating your profile the next time you are looking for a job, there are simple ways that LinkedIn can help every career, no matter what your role or professional goals.
In this article, you’ll discover 3 simple (but powerful) processes that will help you capture the power of LinkedIn for your daily business success, no matter your job title.
#1 Align Your Personal Message with Your Organization’s
Your LinkedIn presence is unique on social media, because while it is your personal profile, the fact that it highlights your professional activities means that it is enmeshed with your employer’s online presence. Most companies fall flat with their social media approach because it’s top-down, i.e., “You have to put this corporate marketing copy in your profile.” or “You have to share this status update.” And understandably, people resist.
But bringing in your employer’s brand message can actually help you, because part of the value value you have as a professional is the team around you. Plugging into that larger message expands your capability and credibility.
Pull Company Marketing Copy into Your Profile
If you just copy/paste wholesale from your employer’s webpage, you will turn off your profile reader because it looks sterile and untrustworthy. But pulling key phrases and ideas can reinforce your message. They’ve spent a lot of money figuring out the best way to communicate their message and it’s a good idea to grab a piggyback ride.
Here’s a Summary paragraph from a Dell executive. It mixes the personal viewpoint with the overall organization focus:
Support Your External Facing Team
You might not deal with clients and prospects on a daily basis, but someone in your organization does. In the online landscape, your profile is just a click away. It’s valuable to look at your colleagues and see what they are talking about and make sure you align with that message.
One of the easiest ways to show your teammates some love is with the “social tools” on LinkedIn. If you want to make them look better in front of their audiences (and by extension, yours), then hit the like or share buttons. It can go a long way to achieving everyone’s goals.
#2 Plant a Brand Flag
Don’t get trapped thinking “The people I work with already know what I do”, because they don’t. The bigger an organization gets, the harder it is for others to know the experience and skills you bring to the table. Whether it’s through your profile or a status update, share your unique perspective so that others know how you can help.
There might not be a direct line between your social media activity and your audience like there is when you are a salesperson or recruiter. But your core message needs to be clear. As a professional, you have a unique value that you bring to your work. Think of the people that you serve, and share information that is relevant to them.
Connect with Your Target Audience
Your audience might be internal employees that you support, or it might be clients and partners that rely on your work. Be very clear about who you need to “talk to” online. Share information that answers the questions that they might have about you and how you help. For example:
Think of it as SEO for humans. Be sure to include keywords throughout your profile that resonate with your audience. If you are the compliance officer for a financial services firm, for example, and help your employees stay on the right side of the law, include that in places like your Profile Headline and Experience. Don’t rely on an uninformative job title. Include keywords that will make your target audience realize that you are talking to them
Publish Your Ideas
The ability to share long-form content through LinkedIn Publisher provides a fantastic opportunity for internal employees to build a following. More importantly, when you keep it on LinkedIn it doesn’t pull focus from your day job (which could happen if it was on a separate blog platform). Write about the subject areas that you deal with every day. Share your expertise!
#3 Amplify and Extend Your Reach
One of the most powerful effects of LinkedIn is the uncovering of your “hidden” network. The ability to connect with resources and ideas used to only happen by luck. But now you can reach out to thousands and even millions with just a few mouse clicks.
It’s not possible to create a LinkedIn InMap anymore, but they were a great graphical representation of what your network “looked” like. By connecting with your internal and external networks, you became the hub of this web and the conduit for more business.
But you can only take advantage of this network if you actively participate. Building up your network and sharing valuable information takes time. But it’s a high-leverage activity that can get your (and your company’s) name in front of your connections on a consistent basis.
Connect with your internal and external network
It’s common for professionals to feel more comfortable connecting with either their peers at work or their outside network. But it’s rare for them to do both. And that’s exactly what you want to do. The value of your network on LinkedIn rests in bringing the different parts of your business world into one space.
LinkedIn Groups are a simple way to plug in to various networks. Be sure to include at least a few groups in your LinkedIn routine from different areas: your industry or field, your company, and geographical area. It can be especially powerful to find Groups where there is overlap (e.g., computer programmers in Seattle who have worked for Amazon). And it’s not just for tech companies:
Share Content from Your Organization
Many professionals think of platforms like Twitter and Instagram when they think of sharing content, but don’t rule out LinkedIn. Because of its reputation as a business site, the content there has increased credibility. This can give you the ability to increase the visibility of your organization’s message.
For example, Microsoft is a relatively large company. With over 2 million followers on LinkedIn, they have the ability to reach a lot of people with their updates. But the over 120,000 employees on LinkedIn gives Microsoft a theoretical reach to everyone on LinkedIn…if they share content!
Your Next Steps
There has always been a naturally symbiotic relationship between employers and employees. The new world of social media highlights and extends this process. No matter what your position, you have an opportunity to expand your influence by sharing what the larger organization is doing. Your success and the success of your employer go hand-in-hand. Connect your personal brand to the larger organizational message, and then propel both of them to prominence!
A version of this article originally appeared on the Social Media Examiner.