We are inundated with social media do's and don'ts, but what about LinkedIn? The professional networking site isn't designed to operate like social media, and for that reason alone, most blanketed advice simply doesn't apply. Truth is, I think a lot of people aren't really sure what to do on LinkedIn, or what their profile should offer, or even how to master the networking platform for maximum benefit. And I see a lot of copycat profiles now, where a thought leader took one approach of amping up their profile, and every single one of their followers did the same. Enough with the guessing game. You know I went straight to the experts for the nitty gritty details of everything LinkedIn, TR Garland.
"LinkedIn is not a social platform or technology so it requires a different mindset. Your prospective client or partner will always be one click away from viewing someone else so you need to captivate and capture attention."
Is LinkedIn Really The Busiest Trade Show On Earth?
According to TR Garland, the LinkedIn Expert for service-based professionals, being seen on LinkedIn is like being a part of the busiest trade show on earth. Which means you need to carefully design your profile like you would a trade show booth to captivate and capture attention. So let's talk the value of visual branding and the top 3 trade show tips you need to get your profile noticed aka rock your trade show booth.
The Value of Visual Branding
If your message and branding, and visuals, miss the mark, you're in trouble. Because that perception means everything online. As TR pointed out, your prospective client or partner is one click away from someone else's booth/profile. So you need to ask yourself a few questions:
What do they want to see?
What do they get excited about?
What is my goal for this profile?
How do I want to be perceived?
Am I focusing on ME or THEM?
Is this visually appealing, bright, and clean?
Pro Tip #1: If you aren't the creative type, it's smart to hire this out so you can make sure your messaging is clear, your visual branding is on point, and your profile is one prospective clients or partners want to look at.
Top 3 Trade Show Tips You Need to Rock Your Booth/Profile
Use a giveaway that benefits you. It's great to give something away, but if you aren't capturing email addresses or contact info, it isn't worth your while. Giveaways are a great way to connect with that prospective client or partner, but make sure it benefits you. If you give an ebook or evergreen content, whatever it is, make sure that giveaway is 1) visually branded to showcase your business, and 2) a good use of your time.
Have a plan. You would never just show up with your table and products and props, and then decide how you'd run your booth. You have to have a plan. Same for your profile. Plan, plan, plan. Make sure you've answered the questions above on visual branding, make sure you've got a plan for follow-up, giveaways, capturing contact info... you need a strategic plan for every aspect of this process. Pro Tip: Have a filing system to organize leads so you know who's who, how you got the introduction to them, what they need from you, and so on. Put follow-ups on your calendar. It only takes a minute, and that follow-up is what sets you apart. Plenty of people will request a connection with someone LinkedIn, and then they get that add, and they never do anything after that. Follow-up, go that extra mile, set yourself apart from the crowd.
Be Approachable with a WE mindset. If you are so busy pitching your business, or being me-centric, you won't leave any space for an organic or real connection. This goes beyond your resume and what you are good at. Focus on your visitors. Think about the questions above as you consider how you will design your profile. Here's the other thing; how you conduct your business, your attitude, and how you compose yourself will determine your overall success while interacting with others on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn, the busiest trade show on Earth, wants to help you share your message and capabilities with the rest of the business world: are you ready? Nobody in their right mind would go into something this weighted unprepared. So use the pro tips and nitty gritty advice above to rock your booth and be a LinkedIn superstar!