LinkedIn is now the biggest online professional networking service and has become a worthy part of any small business owner’s web presence.  But getting real results from the site takes time and effort; something that few of us can afford.  This is where your virtual assistant comes in!  There are so many different ways that a VA can help you to maximise your potential on LinkedIn.   Here are some key areas:

Building a strategy

Do you have a strategy in place for using LinkedIn? The site now has so many great features that the first thing to do is definitely to decide upon your objectives or run the risk of wasting time and energy on areas that won’t give you results.  Are you using it simply to keep in touch with your contacts? Or to network with other companies in your industry? To keep clients up to date with your news? Or to generate new sales leads?  Depending on your answers to these questions, the strategy you should apply will differ – let your VA help you to work it out.

Maintaining your profile

How up-to-date is your photograph? Don’t underestimate the importance of that first impression; your personal photograph should be professionally composed and show you in the best light possible. Remember that it pays to be instantly recognisable, especially if you regularly attend conferences and events.

Then there’s the wordy bit.  Nothing stands still in business, so why is it that people allow their profile to stagnate? Keep updating your profile headline often and you will find that you have more and more visitors to your profile.  LinkedIn has made some changes to the makeup of the personal pages and you should work with your virtual assistant to ensure that your profile is optimised. We all know how important keywords are in our online world – do you have the right keyword phrases for your industry in your profile summary?  Have a good look at your public “skill set”; are you missing out on search exposure due to the fact that you have less than a comprehensive set of skills listed?  Don’t worry about blowing your own trumpet – if you don’t sell yourself, who will do it for you?

Remember that your updates will be shared with the networks you belong to, as long as your VA has enabled the appropriate setting within your profile details.

Reviewing and growing your network

One of your top priorities should be to ensure that your network is a quality one.  Ask your virtual assistant to review every invitation that you receive from another member. See what kind of profile they maintain. For example, if they haven’t bothered to upload a recent profile picture or any picture at all, are they taking themselves or their business seriously? Ask yourself questions such as “do we work, or have we worked, within the same industry?” “Do we have common interests or hobbies?” “Who am I connected to through the applicant and what’s the value of that connection?”.

When requesting a connection, it’s much better to be specific and to say why you feel the connection would be important. You should adopt this approach with your virtual assistant when you’re reaching out to others.

When you have a specific approach to building a network in this way, the quality of your network will grow to such a point that others will naturally gravitate toward you. You may find that you consequently spend less time reaching out and more time approving and enjoying the quality connections that arrive on your virtual doorstep.

Running your company page

Are you making the most of your company page? Look upon it as having a free website. You will be able to detail all your services and products and take advantage of a number of different multimedia integrations, like videos and presentations. As LinkedIn has a very sophisticated search engine, make sure that your LinkedIn page is front and centre and optimised as such. It’s no coincidence that references to LinkedIn pages often appear on the first page of Google.

Arrange with your virtual assistant to update this particular facility frequently, perhaps even on a daily basis. You may already be populating Twitter and Facebook, so go the extra distance and feed your LinkedIn company presence too.

Monitoring relevant groups

The groups feature on LinkedIn is where the real networking happens, as this allows individuals with a common industry or interest to come together in one area.

Your virtual assistant can help increase your visibility by posting links to your recent blog posts, sourcing industry news articles, or simply highlighting discussions that you could contribute to or questions that you can answer.  All of this helps to establish you as an expert in your field, and ultimately builds trust with both existing and potential clients and contacts.  Your VA may also be able to identify group members, either from your own industry or peripheral industries, that would make good connections, strengthening and developing your network outwith your normal contact sphere.

LinkedIn is part of a network of sites that your virtual assistant can maintain for you, including your blog and your website. By keeping up to date, fresh and relevant within LinkedIn you will be able to grow your network, enhance your visibility and drive traffic to your commercial sites.  Contact Yva at Boost Business Support for more information.

Do you find LinkedIn to be an effective marketing tool for your business?  Do you have any other tips for maximising its potential?  Share them in the comments below!

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