We explain how to improve your company and individual profiles, grow your professional network, and more.
Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn is specially designed for professional and business use – and with around 530 million members globally, including 4.2 million active Australian users, it's a vital tool to grow your own personal network of professional contacts, and your business’s network too.
LinkedIn can connect your organisation with possible future customers and employees, as well as connecting you with colleagues who can endorse your skills and even help you find your next job opportunity.
What are LinkedIn company pages?
Every business should have a company page to not only post great, engaging and targeted content, but to also give employees a page to link their profile to.
LinkedIn company pages are also a great place to advertise for current job openings at your firm – with so many skilled people using LinkedIn to find their next opportunity, it's the perfect place to recruit.
Anyone liking your company page will see your posts on their timeline. They can share, like and comment on those posts, which will also appear on your company's page itself.
Other users can also tag your company page into their own posts, meaning their followers could visit your page and even follow it, if they find it useful and relevant.
How to manage a LinkedIn company page
A company page is always visible, whether users have a LinkedIn account or not, so it's vital to keep it updated with new content.
Because LinkedIn is a more professional network than the likes of Facebook, the content you post should be more professional too. Think about who is likely to be visiting your page – those looking for business opportunities with your company or those looking for job opportunities.
Therefore, it's a good idea to post company news, blog posts that may promote thought leadership and pictures or comments reflecting your company culture.
The benefits of LinkedIn to build your personal profile
LinkedIn is probably the most effective social tool for making new business contacts as well as leveraging your company profile. This is because it's been built specifically to focus on business, rather than personal relationships. That means no cat pictures or family photos, however.
Types of LinkedIn profile to consider
You can choose whether to have a free LinkedIn account or a paid, premium account. Free accounts offer limited searches and don’t allow you to message people you aren't connected with, while premium accounts allow for more detailed searches, messaging credits and the ability to see who’s viewed your profile.
There are a number of premium plans available which offer a number of extra features for individuals, businesses, sales and recruitment professionals. For example, Premium Career (A$54.99 per month if you pay for a year upfront) moves you to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists; Premium Business (A$54.99) provides “business insights” from LinkedIn data; Sales Navigator Professional (A$74.99) offers “sales insights”; and Recruiter Lite (A$129.99) provides “automatic candidate tracking”.
Another key difference with premium plans is that you can send InMail messages to anyone on LinkedIn, whereas with a free account you can only message connections. The more you pay, the greater the number of InMail messages per month allowable.
How to set up your LinkedIn account
Whether you’ve set up a free or premium, personal or recruiter profile, you’ll need to make sure it has the most up-to-date information about you and the positions you’ve held, with a description and the skills you used in each position.
This will not only tell people about you and your experience, but if you are using LinkedIn to find your next job, you want as much detail on there as you can to show people you’re the right fit for their vacancy.
Even if you’re not actively looking for a job, having as much information on your personal profile as possible (including a photo) will help you build your network and be attractive to recruiters.
Make sure you link your profile to your company page too, not only to confirm where you work, but also to try and drive traffic to your company page.
When you first set up your LinkedIn account, you’ll be asked whether you want to connect your email account and import your existing contacts. You can also do this at any other time if you want to quickly boost your connections. Anyone not already on LinkedIn will also be invited to join.
Next: seven top LinkedIn tips
Seven top LinkedIn tips
To grow your network, you do have to put some effort in, but you will reap the benefits.
1. Make your profile as interesting and engaging as possible. Don’t be plain and boring, just listing your positions and skills. Be imaginative and make your profile stand out from the rest.
2. Even if you spend 15 minutes a day adding people you know to your profile, you can quickly grow your connections.
3. Recommend others and they will hopefully recommend you back.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues, ex-colleagues and people you’ve worked with (such as clients) to write you a recommendation that will show on your profile for all to see.
5. Get involved in industry-related groups. Like Facebook, there are thousands of groups to join on LinkedIn. Not only will you learn a lot and find content to share, you can also actively contribute and use them to grow your personal network.
6. Try and post yourself or comment on other people’s posts regularly. But don’t post too often or just for the sake of it. Whether you share content you’ve found outside of LinkedIn or within LinkedIn, make sure it’s relevant to your industry to get the highest levels of engagement.
7. Make use of LinkedIn Pulse, where you’ll find – and can post – longer form blog posts to position yourself as an industry thought leader.