Will you have a little downtime over the next couple weeks? As you reflect on what you want to achieve in 2019, see if you can find some time to refresh your brand online so it is aligned with your current goals.

What are your top business priorities for the coming year?

Maybe your focus is recruiting, brand awareness, or lead generation for your business. Or maybe you want a higher profile in the industry, a board role, or are starting to think about selling your business. No matter the goal, there’s a lot you can be doing on LinkedIn now to set yourself up for success in 2019.

Over the last three months, we interviewed multiple experts to get their advice on using LinkedIn to achieve different professional goals. Here are the top tips they shared.

Goal #1: Gain a Competitive Advantage in Recruiting

When recruiting is a priority, setting up your social media presence to appeal to ideal candidates is a strategic move.

LinkedIn Tips:

  • Share what sets you apart. You want your LinkedIn profile to tell the story of what you do and why it matters. Showcase the problems your company works to solve, who you solve them for, and how you solve them. Share your traction — well-known clients, awards, and achievements. Everyone wants to work for a company that is successful and growing rapidly.
  • Promote your company culture. What makes your company’s culture different and appealing? Maybe you have Nerf gun wars, take part in community volunteer projects, or have yoga classes in the office. Tell those stories in blog posts, use a team photo for your header graphic, or upload a video of employees talking about what they like best about working for your company.
  • Address your management style. Most CEOs are deeply intentional about their management style and their leadership philosophy. When you share those principles in blog posts or videos, you attract people who want to be managed and led by someone with those attributes.

For the full story on optimizing your personal brand for recruiting, click here.

Goal #2: Take Lead Generation to the Next Level

When your primary goal is generating leads, your social media presence should be geared toward customers and partners.

LinkedIn Tips:

  • Talk to your potential customers. Make sure your LinkedIn profile tells the story of why people should do business with you (rather than why they should hire you). Who do you help? How do you help them? What results have your customers achieved?
  • Make the next steps easy. Upload high-quality introductory materials to your profile: videos, e-books, PPTs, case studies. Include your email address or phone number in your summary. Use your contact info to link to your calendar, so people can easily schedule a time to talk with you one on one.
  • Sign up for Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator is the version of LinkedIn designed for salespeople. It has powerful search and relationship-building capabilities that can be highly beneficial when used appropriately. Use Sales Navigator to build targeted prospecting lists, research accounts, introduce yourself, and stay in touch with your contacts. The first 30 days are often free, so if you have some downtime now, this is a good time to experiment with what’s possible.

For the story on using LinkedIn for lead generation, click here.

Goal #3: Secure a Board Position

Joining a corporate board is a good next step for experienced executives looking to make an impact with their business and leadership skills. A corporate board position can be lucrative; but even if you’re on the board of a non-profit or startup, sitting on a board boosts your reputation and can bring new opportunities.

LinkedIn Tips:

  • Package your story. Look at your expertise from the board’s perspective, and determine how to package yourself so it’s easy for board members to see what you bring to the table and how you will fit into the framework of the board.
  • Think “keywords.” What are the phrases an executive recruiter might search on when they’re looking for someone like you? Make sure you embed those phrases throughout your profile.
  • Engage your network. Board recruiters look for people who are active and respected in the industry. Make those attributes visible by engaging with other thought leaders online, commenting on posts, liking and sharing, and writing thoughtful blog posts.

For the full story on joining a corporate board, click here.

Goal #4: Sell Your Business

Even if you’re just starting to consider the possibility of selling your business, there are steps you can take now to prepare and position your business for a higher valuation.

LinkedIn Tips:

  • Make yourself findable. Use keywords on your profile to make yourself more visible online. Building your network also helps, because people who have the free version of LinkedIn can only see members who are within three degrees. The more people in your network, the more people there are who can find you.
  • Build the personal brands of your company’s leaders. Decide who else in your company should have a higher profile. When others in your company — especially leaders — have a higher profile, it becomes easier for you to walk away.
  • Create a strategic social media presence. A potential buyer will want to see what your company is doing compared to your competitors, in terms of social media activity. But there are benefits for you in social media too, and now is the perfect time of year to get online and poke around. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about what your competitors are doing and how customers perceive the latest market trends. Think social media doesn’t matter for you? Read The Four Billion Dollar Tweet and find out just how important social media can be for your business.

For the full story on preparing to sell your business, click here.

Leveraging LinkedIn can translate into major business and professional opportunities in 2019. Explore its tools, post more often and more thoughtfully, streamline your online presence, and take the time to plan steps for making the most of LinkedIn in the new year.

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