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  • Small Business Briefcase - How to Leverage LinkedIn

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    Every year, social media’s impact on businesses grows, and the tools and rules for harnessing its power continually change. Internationally known branding expert Paul Copcutt shared how to get the most from the platform most often “linked” to business.

    There have been a lot of changes on LinkedIn in the past 12-18 months and a lot more to come. Like many social media platforms, a shift in its algorithm means you must put in some effort to get noticed, because if you do nothing, LinkedIn assumes you are not worthy of further exposure. Take these actions steps every day to stay “interesting.”
    1. POST: What were previously called updates are now posts that you add to your news feed. Because not all your network is seeing everything you do anymore, you are not inundating them with content, so even once a day is not too much. Start off slowly by posting something once a week. As you exercise your “posting muscle,” you can go to twice a week and then three times. Always go for quality over quantity, and make content relevant and interesting. Ask a question to stimulate engagement and a conversation.
    2. PROFILE: The second most viewed area of anyone’s profile is, “Who’s viewed your profile?”. Be sure to do more than only check. If the person who looked is a first connection who you have not spoken to in a while, send a quick message and ask how things are. If the person is a second degree connection (i.e. you know someone who knows them), they dropped by for a reason, so visit their profile, and if they are someone you are interested in, reach out to take it further.
    3. PRAISE: The golden measure of activity on LinkedIn is no longer “Views” or “Likes.” What you want from your posts is engagement, the “Comments” and “Shares.” The algorithm measures those as being stimulated by someone who is interesting, and they will preference the next post you make. But you can’t expect anyone to do this on your posts if you’re not doing it for others. Take a minute or two to comment and even share other people’s posts. PAUL COPCUTT, one of the first personal brand experts in North America over a decade ago, is a regular workshop facilitator and speaker inside Fortune 500 organizations including Hershey, General Mills, Enbridge, TD, McKesson, Cap Gemini and Scotiabank and an invited speaker at Professional Associations and Major Conferences. He specializes in leveraging his personal experiences and unique communication skills to inspire professionals and executives who are technically very good at what they do, but who struggle with communicating that effectively. A regular media resource, Copcutt has been featured in Forbes, Elle, Money, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal as well as online and all major Canadian newspapers. His own corporate career started in banking and ended in biotech, two subjects he failed at school. He still listens to early 80’s punk music before he speaks and wears custom Converse. (They’ve never been a client.)
    It’s no longer your parents’ resume database. LinkedIn has become a lively and stimulating professional networking platform where people are making personal connections. Be sure that your profile reflects more of who you are than your job title and responsibilities. Do not be hesitant to share more about yourself. That is how you’ll attract more like-minded professionals to your network.

    This is a little contrary to the previous point, but LinkedIn is not Facebook, so the headshot needs to reflect a more business-like approach. Yes, almost all cameras today can produce great images, but your headshot is the most instantly viewed part of your profile, so paying a few dollars to have a professional take it could be the difference between your next promotion or staying stuck where you are.

    Because LinkedIn is becoming more personal, it pays to take the time to ensure your first interactions with a new connection are personalized. When you are reaching out to a new person who you want to connect with, take the time to personalize the invitation explaining why you’re reaching out or pointing out a mutual connection or tie. After all, it’s a person on the other end, not a robot.
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