B2B marketing on LinkedIn has come a long way. After years of being seen as “just” a platform for job seekers, it’s become a hub for marketers, sales people, influencers, and even freelancers serving the B2B market. And LinkedIn is good for much more than just job seeking. It offers opportunities for lead generation, sales, audience building, networking, and yes – recruitment.
But none of those things happen without work. Success on LinkedIn requires a certain amount of effort and strategy. This is not a platform you’ll do well on if you just repost whatever you’ve just published on Facebook or Instagram. LinkedIn has its own culture.
If you want to fit into that culture and get real results from this platform, the following 20 things are essential for your LinkedIn profile and presence. Make sure you’ve checked every one of them off your to-do list.
1. Do get a great profile headshot for yourself.
Ideally, you’ll invest $200-$600 for a great, professional business headshot that you can use across the web and anywhere else. But if that’s not a purchase you want to make right now (or your current headshot is good enough and is less than 7 years old), you could get a friend to take a “professional-enough” photo of you.
Just, please – don’t confuse LinkedIn headshots with what you’d use for dating. Smile and look like you want to meet people, but avoid the open mouth gasp some social media pros use on other platforms. And, please, do not pose like you’re trying to look sexy.
There’s a great “photo testing” tool called Photofeeler that will give you feedback about your headshot from other people. It evaluates photos for different conditions: business, dating, or social media. For business, your photo will be rated based on how competent, likable, and influential other users think you look.
2. Do write a keyword-optimized headline.
This is basically a headline, and so it follows all the usual rules of headlines. Namely: Do not confuse people. Confused people will skip over your profile and move on to the next person in their list.
Another common mistake: Using just your current title and company name as your headline. As in, “Marketing Manager, CFO Strategies.” This does have a good keyword, and it’s clear, but it’s not likely to attract your next great opportunity. It’s also not using the 120 characters available very well.
This headline uses those characters better: “Marketing Manager, CFO Strategies | Award-Winning Social Media and PPC Expert in B2B SaaS Marketing.” Even that headline only uses 103 characters, but it will get far more clicks and attention than a title-only headline.
3. Do personalize your LinkedIn URL.
You want something like this: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephan-tranner/
Not this: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephan-tranner-b233b760/
Fortunately, this is a quick fix.
- Click the “Me” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click View profile.
- Click Edit public profile & URLin the right rail.
- Change your URL to whatever you want it to be.
- Click Save.
4. Do write a great About section.
Here’s the secret to great LinkedIn About sections: They’re not actually about you. They’re about your clients, customers, or the next company that will hire you.
Yes, you will be talking about yourself in the summary. But talk about how you can help your target audience – about what you can do for them. Anything you mention about yourself will only be to provide evidence of what you can do for them.
Because this section is long, you may also want to add line breaks to create sections and use all caps for section headers. Of course, try to sprinkle in a few keywords and keyword variations so your profile can appear in more searches.
Most people now also close their summary with a call to action and their contact information. They may even add a few emojis for bullet points, or to highlight an email address.
5. Do complete your experience section with plenty of keywords sprinkled in.
This is the part of your LinkedIn profile where you get to pull information in from your resume. Just be sure to use the available space, and always be thinking about what terms your ideal client or boss would use when they are looking for someone like you.
6. Do complete the Skills section.
While you can include up to 50 skills, sometimes it’s nice to leave a little room for skills you may acquire later on. Because other people can endorse you for certain skills, if you don’t think carefully about what you include here, you may have to delete a skill (and its associated endorsements) at some point in the future.
7. Do complete the Education section.
This doesn’t have to be just four-year degrees. Any licenses or certifications can be included here. They will give you another opportunity to use more keywords and to demonstrate that you’re growing in your career.
8. Do research the keywords you’re using in your profile.
We’ve mentioned this several times in this article, but it’s important enough to deserve a point of its own. Take the time to do some keyword research to find out what terms and related terms people use when they’re looking for someone like you.
Ideally, you’ll have one primary keyword that you’ll use throughout your profile, then 5-7 other related keywords or keyword variations that you’ll use where they sound better, make more sense, or address a different aspect of your business skills.
9. Do check your LinkedIn Social Selling Index score.
Want a quick, free way to see how your profile compares to others in your field, and what you might do to improve your profile? Head over to LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index tool and get your score.
10. Do create a company page.
According to LinkedIn expert Mark Williams, a company page alone isn’t going to rocket your engagement rates up. But it is still an essential element of marketing your B2B company on LinkedIn. It’s also a required element for advertising. So get that company page up. Our article, X, will show you everything you need to know to get started.
11. Do start posting your own content.
The goal of LinkedIn posts is to start a conversation. So create posts that are interesting and make people want to respond, but be cautious about going for “shock factor.” It’s not good branding to have an argument break out around your post.
Aim for at least two posts per week, or do as many as five if you can. Vary the types of posts you publish. In our article about LinkedIn video marketing, one expert said he posts video content twice a week, then variations on text or image posts the other days of the week.
But don’t forget the poll. This might not work every day, but having a “Friday poll” could be an interesting way to boost engagement and set up a schedule your audience comes to expect. Polls are also, of course, excellent for engagement.
12. Do engage with other people’s content at least once a week.
Engagement goes both ways on LinkedIn. So if you want people to comment and react to your posts, you need to comment and react to their posts.
Fortunately, this doesn’t take all that much time. Just a few minutes is enough to like a couple of posts and make a brief comment on one or two posts.
13. Do join a few Groups.
These aren’t as powerful as they used to be, but a complete LinkedIn profile requires that you join even a few groups. Five is enough to cover the bases, especially if you only pick groups that you might genuinely want to participate in on a regular basis.
14. Do start creating and sharing videos.
We have a whole other article about how to use video on LinkedIn, but it’s such an important content format now that it deserves its own point here. Remember: video doesn’t have to be long. Even a minute of video is enough. All you have to do is think of four one-minute segments of video to record for your profile, and you’ve got a month’s worth of video for LinkedIn. Make it count!
15. Do get a few recommendations.
Even three recommendations is a great start. You can usually get at least a few simply by leaving recommendations for other people. I’ve found this works especially well on Fridays. Often if I write a recommendation for someone Friday morning, they’ll leave me a recommendation by Friday afternoon, if not over the weekend.
16. Do upload your “publications.”
This sounds grand, but “publications” can also include any blog posts you’ve written. And this is yet another great opportunity to demonstrate your expertise AND showcase your work and how you can help prospective clients, customers, or employers.
17. Do publish a few articles.
Speaking of blog posts… can you republish any of them to your LinkedIn articles? It could get your content much more visibility, but it will also serve to demonstrate your expert and help you get more out of LinkedIn overall.
18. Do NOT over automate.
There are some really interesting tools available that will let you automate a lot of your networking activities on LinkedIn. And while they may be tempting… be careful.
LinkedIn will not send a warning if it detects you using these sorts of automated tools. It will just deactivate your account. Let me say that again: You will not get a warning if LinkedIn disapproves of your use of automated tools. You’ll just log in one day to find yourself locked out of years’ worth of work.
Now, can you use something like Buffer or any of the automated posting tools? Sure. Most LinkedIn experts report that you won’t get as much engagement from automated posts, but they aren’t going to get you banned. Sending 1,000 connection requests in an hour? That’ll get you banned.
19. Do NOT send sales messages right after you’ve connected with someone.
Everyone gets these too-early sales pitches. Everyone hates them. So don’t sour a new connection by pushing a sale too soon. Instead, start by endorsing your new connection for a skill they clearly have, or send them an article or a piece of research you know they’ll be interested in.
20. Do NOT forget that LinkedIn is a unique platform.
It is not Facebook. It is not Instagram. It is not Twitter.
As we discussed in our article, B2B Video Marketing on LinkedIn, one of the most notable changes in social media in the last year or so is how the cultures of the different social platforms have come into their own. Posting the same thing to all four platforms was never a good idea, but now it’s an even worse idea. This is especially true for LinkedIn.
Please understand, however, that “professional” doesn’t have to mean unapproachable, or even bland. People do business with people, and they like content that is honest, direct, engaging, and even a little bit fun.
B2B ≠ boring.