How Caribbean Entrepreneurs Can Leverage LinkedIn for Business
Early in its development, LinkedIn was known as the social app you used if you were looking for a job. Most people simply cut and pasted their resume and hoped they got lucky. This is no longer the case for LinkedIn and whether you are looking for your next boss or want to find clients this is a platform more Caribbean entrepreneurs should be using.
The secret to leveraging LinkedIn and seeing results is to engage with others. You can actually stop reading right here and go over and do that. Make it your habit to engage in conversation, add value beyond saying congratulations or that’s so cool. Keep reading for some other strategies for improving your Linkedin presence to grow your business and brand.
Be Clear on Your Objective
Set an intention for your LinkedIn activity. Is your goal to expand your network for better job opportunities? Do you want to tell more people on your island or in the Diaspora about your services? Maybe you want to become a LinkedIn expert or thoughtleader. Identifying your objective will help to clarify what activities you need to do and how to measure whether you are seeing results.
Create a Great LinkedIn Headline
Use your LinkedIn headline to give us the first clear message of your expertise and your objective.
LinkedIn is a great space to build your brand as a thought leader. It is very common to see people post in their headline the ten things they are great at, but you want to make it easy for people to understand who you are and what you can do for them.
If you are looking for work, use the space to tell us what you so and the type of company you want to work in. “I am a software engineer seeking remote work for medical technology firms”.
Business owners can use this space to tell us the results they deliver for clients. “I 10x travel agent sales with engaging video content.”
Some people are afraid to be too specific but establishing the niche you enjoy serving makes it easier for potential clients to narrow down who would be the best fit for their needs. You are not a good fit for everyone and work is so much more enjoyable and rewarding when you can deliver your expertise for the right company or individual.
Use your LinkedIn Banner to Sell Yourself
Jarrod Best-Mitchell, a LinkedIn visibility coach and sales expert says your banner is prime real estate. Because of how the banner presents itself on various devices, important information can be hidden when viewed on a mobile device or a laptop. Best-Mitchell says “Never put any information from the middle left to the bottom left of your image. Call to action details should be to the middle or right side of banner.”
Canva offers some cool ideas for creating your LinkedIn banner.
Use All the LinkedIn Features
Add a profile photo. I make it a rule not to accept people who do not have a profile photo. This is the first image we will see of you. While you don’t have to use a professional photographer, your image should clearly show your face and make you seem approachable.
Use the Intro audio/video feature for profiles. Via the mobile app you can now add an intro video or voice note of yourself. This is a fun way to let us know a bit more about you.
Like other top social media sites, LinkedIn loves video. Share your videos organically. Meaning, upload them directly into your feed. Tell us in the description what the video is about and if it links to other content offline where we can learn more. As much as possible, add text to your video. Not everyone may be in a location to listen with sound on. It is also helpful for the hearing impaired.
Share Stories. While stories are only currently visible on mobile devices, this feature is a great way to share highlights of your day or to promote an event that you want to bring additional attention to.
Write Articles. The blogging feature of LinkedIn is a great way to let us see your expertise. While it is true that you eventually want to guide us to your website or another platform, don’t skip out on giving us regular content to learn more about your work and your perspective on your industry or other issues that matter in your world.
Go Live. Everyone does not have the ability to go live via LinkedIn. If you have this option, use it.
Write a Post or Share a Photo. Not all of your content needs to be long or laborious. Did you read a book that inspired you or a saw a meme that made you laugh? You can share these daily with your network. Use the Alt Text on the Photo upload section to tell us what is in the image. Your photo then becomes a piece of media which the visually impaired can still experience.
Upload documents. The upload document feature allows you to create a carousel of images that share tips or provide other kinds of information that amplifies your work.
Join Industry Groups or Start Your Own. There is space for you to create smaller groups to connect more directly to the customers you want to serve. These can be more helpful than joining groups where everyone is offering the same types of services.
Expand Your Network
I remember when LinkedIn encouraged people to only add contacts they knew offline. That certainly is not the way to grow or expand your network. This does not mean you have to accept every invite, but you can meet people who share your passions and live on the other side of the planet.
LinkedIn offers an opportunity to meet people from a variety of industries and cultures. You need this cross-pollination of ideas to expand your thinking and also your relationships. A feed that is simply a reflection of all the things you already know and people who are selling the same services limits your view of the world and can create anxiety when you see someone who may be executing at a level you are not at yet.
Engage With Others
I started here and so I will end with this. Everything you do on LinkedIn should revolve around a desire to engage and support others. If you see a colleague or someone in your network post a question and you can make a solid contibution to, please do so.
Did someone comment on your article? Don’t like it and move on. Tell them thank you and ask a clarifying question about what they wrote.
Steve Watt, the Marketing Director at Seismic, says “Reciprocity is huge. People appreciate when you engage with them and they’re much more likely to return the favor.” He also says that “Vastly more people will see you when you’re a regular commenter on other people’s posts.” This will go a long way in enhancing your reputation and expanding your network.
Watt also says “Don’t be a promotional bullhorn. Don’t make it all about you and your company. This is a conversation, not direct response advertising. Bring gratitude and curiosity and genuine insight instead. You’ll get *much* further.”
LinkedIn has a lot to offer but there is no need to try to do all of these things at the same time. Do experiment to see what you enjoy most and what brings you the most engagement and connections. For the greatest impact, plan and create your content ahead of time. Set aside 30 minutes or in shorter blocks of ten minutes to be active on the platform throughout the day. This way, you can engage with others who comment on your work or provide insightful contributions to other people’s content.
Nerissa Golden is the Founder of Truly Caribbean Academy and CEO of Goldenmedia. She is a storyteller and business strategist focused on helping Caribbean people tell their stories and build businesses with impact. She is the author of eight books, including Start, Grow, Thrive: Build a Business to Last. Follow her on LinkedIn. Follow Truly Caribbean Academy on LinkedIn.