five reasons why linkedin is worth your time
Ahh, LinkedIn. The place where wanky CEOs write “inspirational” missives on “growth hacking” and “synergy”, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn the once-dreaded social media platform has evolved to include a diverse range of users – most importantly, people who don’t wear suits or describe what they do as “disruptive”. Shock, horror! Even creative people have jumped on board! Put simply, LinkedIn is another way to get the word out about your business (it’s also arguably less stressful than scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, so there’s that, too). If you're curious, here are five reasons to consider joining LinkedIn – or at least logging back into that profile you created 10 years ago.
Left: Clarissa Harris, director of communications agency True Tribe; Right: Jess Hope, frankie's marketing manager
People want to know about you (and your services)
If the thought of schmoozing makes you want to crawl under the covers and never come out, set up a LinkedIn profile and let people find you! The professional networking site is basically a glorified database where people go searching for talent. Have you ever tried Googling to find a specific service? It’s overwhelming, right? LinkedIn makes that search a lot easier by letting users drill down on location and key words. So whether you’re a freelance graphic designer, copywriter or baker of custom cookies, landing work through the platform is a very real possibility.
To optimise your profile’s searchability, Clarissa Harris from boutique communications agency True Tribe recommends using industry-relevant words in your title, headline and summary (peep her LinkedIn profile for some inspo). Don’t forget to fill out the services section of your profile, too – it’s a new feature that helps freelancers and small businesses showcase what they do, and can boost visibility in search results. Once that’s done, you’ll want to get yourself a nice profile picture, link out to your website and showcase any portfolio or job highlights.
There’s no tall poppy syndrome
So long as you’re not spouting corporate jargon in every post, the LinkedIn newsfeed is actually a great place to promote yourself and celebrate your professional wins. What might feel like self-indulgent boasting on other platforms is actually cause for praise here, so don’t be afraid to post photos, links and videos of new work and talk about your recent achievements (it helps build credibility in front of potential clients, too). “LinkedIn is more about finished projects and reflecting on how they did,” advises frankie’s marketing manager Jess Hope. “Instead of sharing work-in-progress updates like those on Instagram, if you created a new logo for a brand, for example, it’s good to share the photos of it in situ once it’s gone live.”
Plus, sharing can prompt conversations with likeminded business-owners, and helps build a supportive community around you. “Your LinkedIn audience is warm,” says Clarissa. “These are people you have worked with, or know to some degree, and they're there to listen, learn and engage with what’s new in industries that interest them.”
It’s a point of connection for your industry
Running a business by yourself can get lonely, which is why it helps to jump online and find others who understand the ins and outs of your industry. LinkedIn is a dedicated space to talk shop, and is relatively free from heated political discussions, which might appeal to anyone who's found Facebook groups a bit full-on.
Once you start building your profile by connecting with or following people, you’ll quickly notice casual discussions popping up on your newsfeed. Clarissa’s advice? You never know who you might meet in the comments section. “I once replied to a friend’s post asking for help on Facebook ads,” she says. “It turns out this was the exact thing a small-business friend of his had been trying to wrap his head around. A few weeks later, I was running a workshop at his office – it was a job opportunity I didn’t see coming!”
It’s an easier way to network
Getting a friend request on Facebook from someone you’ve never met? Weird and creepy. On LinkedIn? Not so much. If you’re interested in what someone does and has to say, or want to collaborate with them, it’s totally fine to send a LinkedIn request. With that said, Jess likes to include a message with the professional reason why she’s adding someone, as there have been some horror stories of people using the platform like a dating site (we trust you won’t do this). For Clarissa, LinkedIn has been invaluable during the pandemic. “It’s easy to feel out of touch with the professional world when you’re covered in snot and your toddler is singing his lungs out in the back of a client call,” she says. “LinkedIn has been a great resource to connect with past clients and meet new ones.”
It's a dedicated place for industry news
Want to know what trends everyone’s talking about in your industry? What new tools and resources people are excited by? LinkedIn is a great source of relevant news, and there’s heaps of in-depth chatter about marketing, ads and branding (which is relevant to any business, really). It’s also a helpful stalking tool if you want to keep abreast of what other brands are doing. Just make sure you take it all with a grain of salt: “I dare say some of the ‘big wins’ you see are amped up for dramatic effect,” says Jess. “So don’t compare your work to what you see there.”