You may think of it as the boring younger brother to Facebook and Twitter, but you should never underestimate the power of LinkedIn. It’s a large database of over 175 million business professionals. Although that’s a pretty impressive achievement for starters. If you use it correctly, LinkedIn is probably the most effective social network for Designers from all backgrounds. With a visitor-to-lead-generation of 2.75 percent, almost three times as much as Twitter, can you really afford to not be using it to its advantage? Here’s a quick look at fives ways you can do it.
Your LinkedIn profile is just as important as your online/offline portfolio. Think of it like a microsite that directs traffic to your main online portfolio. With that in mind it’s crucial that your profile is complete. Use the rich media feature to add videos, design examples and other media to enhance your profile and showcase your work – this will give your profile an incredible boost. Once your profile is ready, you need to make sure it’s fully optimised. Mention your field of expertise and the services you offer a few times in your copy and headlines and your profile will shoot up the search rankings. This means your profile will be one of the first a potential client searching for your design service will come across.
As a powerful database, LinkedIn holds the key to contacting new clients. Use the Advanced People Search function to find people likely to be interested in what you do. Look for design agencies, creative businesses, members of societies and industry events that you usually attend. If you look hard enough you can find brilliant new contacts and links. Once you’ve conducted your search make sure you save the results. This way you can refer back to the list at a later date.
Individuals aren’t the only people with LinkedIn pages, you can now have one for your business. With two profiles you’re doubling your chances of being found on the site. To create a business profile just click Companies, followed by the Add a Company button. Treat your business page in the same way you would your personal one and enhance it with videos, design examples and other media files.
While you’re probably already a member of a few LinkedIn groups, why not take the initiative and start one of your own? It’s a great way of reaching a wider audience. You can send emails, format a welcome template or set up an RSS feed so that every time you update your blog or online portfolio, it gets automatically posted to your group.
Go to the main menu and select Answers from the More drop-down menu. Then simply select your industry sector. Most users don’t even know it’s there, but this section of the site is where people can post questions, some of which may relate to your design offering. Tread carefully here and don’t go in with the hard-sell; this part of the site is all about building relationships and not pushing for purchasers. It’s a relatively under-used resource and it’s a good idea to put aside some time each day to see what new queries have come up.Photo credit to Kaba
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