Heya folks. Clarissa here. I was recently interviewed by Frankie Magazine’s Emma Do alongside their Marketing Manager Jess Hope for the Xero ‘Strictly Business’ column about why more small businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives need to join LinkedIn. You can read the article here. For the extended version, have a squizz below.
You're right. LinkedIn has had the reputation of being a little cheesy in the past. From Gary-Vee- wanna-bees to that genius kid and their start-up tech company wanting to prove the naysayers wrong, they're all on there. But the good thing is LinkedIn has finally evolved outside the 'I wear a suit to work' category and now everyone is welcome.
I'd recommend it to anyone regardless of what industry there in and what stage in their career they're at. It’s one of the most underused yet most powerful personal branding and marketing tools in the digital age. Especially creatives. Creatives can use this once iron-pressed shirt dystopia to their advantage and learn a few ways to maximise their accounts and get under the noses of potential recruiters and clients.
Honestly, I wouldn't limit LinkedIn to anyone. Just as society's view on what is considered a professional career has changed, so has LinkedIn as a community. Whether you’re a jewellery designer, sign writer, ceramicist, yoga instructor, chef, graphic designer, photographer, artist, stylist, musician or blogger. If you're looking to connect with like-minded individuals in your industry, showcase your incredible work and expand your opportunities – then LinkedIn is for you.
Still unconvinced? I get it. Creatives would rather spend their time, well, creating. That doesn't mean there aren’t any benefits for the artistically inclined on there. It can be a great place to voice a few of your out-of-the-box thoughts about your business, get valuable feedback from industry folk, showcase your work or just follow a couple brands you've always dreamt of collaborating with. You never know what opportunity might pop up in your feed.
Um, you get you paid! Haha, I'm kidding, kinda. Well, think about it, everyone on LinkedIn knows why they are there. It's not like you’re trying to give your elevator pitch to a room full of strangers. Your LinkedIn audience is served warm. These are people you have worked with or know to some degree. Users are there to listen, learn and engage with what's new in industries that interest them. All you need to do is show them what you do. It’s a marketers dream.
Compared to other social media like Instagram and Facebook, which can sometimes feel shallow and blown up, LinkedIn offers a more sophisticated space where you can connect, learn and grow on an intellectual level among supportive peers. There’s no tall poppy syndrome here. Content is sharp and considered, connections are familiar, praise is plentiful, and as new users begin to join the app (ahem, creatives I’m looking at you!) there’s been a move away from corporate jargon and a trend towards more casual, open-minded conversations with substance and I’m pleased to say, emojis!
For those wanting to get serious, LinkedIn also offers ‘Premium' paid plans that allow you to access salary insights, directly message recruiters and do some sneaky profile browsing among other things. Another cool feature is LinkedIn Learning which gives you access to thousands of online courses taught by industry experts covering topics from 'How to Create And Run a Brilliant Remote Workshop' to 'Drawing Vector Graphics'. I sound like I’m trying to get LinkedIn laid at a bar. But I promise guys, I'm not being a shifty wingman. LinkedIn has gotten better.
When compared to Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is very much still in its infancy as a social media platform however it is growing rapidly. The good news is this gives you room to experiment with your strategy while allowing for organic, ad-hoc activities.
As a freelancer, you should treat LinkedIn as your digital playground. Build up your network by connecting with clients new and old, publish long-form posts about your business journey or a how-to video showing off your craft, give and request recommendations to strengthen your reputation, and engage in discussions as your comments are seen by those outside your network and broaden your reach to new audiences.
As a small business owner, you should look at LinkedIn as a digital marketplace. Not only would I encourage you to be active on your personal profile but, if you haven't already, set up a company page and be equally as active on it to cement your brand and attract clients as well as new talent. Cross-promote posts on your personal and company page to increase views, start a LinkedIn group to better connect with your clients and create polls for feedback and engagement.
While I’m no slave to the algorithm gods, every interaction helps LinkedIn get to know you and your business better and create a more targeted user experience.
As a new mum and small business, my time is limited and its easy to feel a little out of touch with the professional world when you’re covered in snot, your hair’s a greasy mop and you’re answering a client call with a toddler singing his lungs out in the background.
Throw 2020 into the mix and well, I don’t get out much as I used to. Personally, LinkedIn has an been invaluable resource in helping connect with past clients, meet new ones, keep updated with trends in the marketing industry and share news relating to my business such as upcoming workshops, client case studies and brand collaborations.
Earlier on in my LinkedIn days, I replied to a friend’s post asking for help on setting up Facebook ads. Turns out it was the exact thing a friend of his, who also happened to be a small business owner, had been trying to wrap their head around for quite some time. A few weeks later I found myself running a workshop with his team at their office. They were happy because we were able to flesh out ideas for an ad funnel strategy and I was happy because this was a job opportunity which I didn't even see coming.
Also just recently, I conducted a webinar for a local council program assisting small businesses on how to pivot with digital marketing during the onset of coronavirus. After the webinar, I had a handful of small business owners and sole traders find me through Google search and connect via LinkedIn. I had a couple join on as long-term clients and it’s been pretty fulfilling seeing them kick their own goals over the last few months.
When it comes to joining LinkedIn, first set yourself up with a personal profile. If you operate under a seperate business name, I’d suggest also creating a company page to differentiate the two brands.
1.) Get a cute head shot for your profile photo! Don’t follow the stock standard corporate head shots. Instead, get creative and show your personality. Take it outdoors and find a nice wall in your neighbourhood, or show off your pearly whites in front of a handmade backdrop. With over 660 million users on LinkedIn globally, you gotta stand out.
2.) Optimise your profile. It’s searchable. Most people are found on LinkedIn using search terms. Use relevant words to your industry in your title, headline and summary. Creatives tend to be natural storytellers, so use your summary to detail key achievements that may not be mentioned otherwise in your CV.
3). Fill out the services section on your profile. Services is a new LinkedIn feature that helps freelancers and those working in small businesses showcase services that they offer. It can also boost your visibility in search results.
Bonus tip! Add posts, articles, links and media to your profile. This is a great place to showcase your portfolio, case studies or other places where your work has appeared.
LinkedIn can be one more app wishing us a 'good morning' as we wake up to the social media notifications chirping. By creating a bit of time each day (or even each week) to chip away at a few thoughts, see what else is happening in your industry (and outside) or just connect with potential collaboration partners, you never know what opportunities might arise. Proactively engaging with a platform that circles on my career really helps bring clarity to which direction I want to go and why it is that I do what I do each day for a living. Seeing LinkedIn as your online career journal can be just another way of looking at it.
Connect with me on LinkedIn here.