Never waste a crisis.
Think about that for a second. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, the natural inclination is to spend all your time assessing, planning, and mobilizing for the current threat.
But what happens when you come out on the other side of the crisis? What could you be doing right now to set yourself up for future success — whatever that future may look like?
With every event, meeting, and communication now happening online, LinkedIn is the ideal place to start. Use this time to think about what you want to achieve, both for your business and your personal brand, and make sure your current LinkedIn activity is in line with your long-term future goals.
Here are 19 tips to get you started:
Complete Your Profile
1. Review your LinkedIn profile and make sure all sections are up to date: your work experience, About section, accomplishments, and skills should all be current. Fill in any gaps in your profile.
2. The newest section of your profile is called “Featured.” You can upload videos, web links, and photos — it’s a great way to draw attention to your most useful educational materials. And you can build credibility with links to videos of you or articles about your business.
3. Add a header background photo if you don’t already have one — this is a creative way to make your profile stand out. Use a photo of you at a speaking engagement, of your team, or of your solution. Or just upload your logo.
4. Optimize where you appear in searches — think about keywords people might search on to find someone like you, and then include those keywords throughout your profile.
Optimize Your News Feed
5. Let LinkedIn bring you the news you care about. What topics are you most interested in right now? What companies do you want to track? Which industry leaders do you want to learn from? Follow organizations, people, and hashtags (topics), and their posts will automatically show up in your news feed.
6. While you’re adding to your “Follow” list, take the time to unfollow individuals or companies you’re no longer interested in hearing from, especially if they’re dominating your feed.
Increase Your Engagement
7. Check your notifications to see who’s checked out your profile; these are often people who could turn into meaningful business connections. Also look to see if any of your connections have been mentioned in the news or received a recent promotion, and send them a quick “congratulations” message.
8. Since you made your news feed more useful (see tip #5), you can use your feed to find interesting conversations. Add a comment or two — it’s a quick and easy way to engage with new people and businesses.
9. Share one original post this week. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a full-blown article. Just share something you found interesting, or pose a question to your network. What are you wondering about right now? Where are you looking for feedback? Go ahead and ask.
Grow Your Network
10. Draft a description — include the title, industry, company size, geographic region, experience — of the types of connections you want to make on LinkedIn. What kind of people would you like to have in your professional network? Who could help your business grow? Search for these types of people and invite them to connect. Try to find 10 new people each week.
11. Create connect-request templates and customize each one with a personal note. This shouldn’t be a hard sell. Simply introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in connecting.
12. When people accept your requests, send a sincere note — again, not a sales pitch — thanking them for the connection and saying you are looking forward to staying in touch.
Build Relationships with Current Connections
13. Look through your inbox and list of current connections. Is there someone you meant to follow up with, but never did? Is there anyone who could potentially bring you more business? Do any of your connections provide a service that could help you?
14. Once you identify those individuals, draft a short note to each of them. Given the current situation, you could simply send them best wishes, share what you’re doing to stay productive, or provide a link from your business that shares a positive message or a way to help.
15. From there, wait to see who responds. Check your inbox regularly, and reply to any messages in a sincere way that’s relevant to that person’s business and current circumstances.
Focus on Your Future LinkedIn Strategy
16. Figure out your “why.” Sure, LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but why is it important to you and your business? What goals do you want to accomplish through using LinkedIn?
17. With those goals in mind, think specifically about what you’ll have to do to achieve them. Do you need to start posting more? Are you interested in sharing new types of media? Do you need to designate time in your schedule for LinkedIn updates and engagement?
18. What is your timeline for achieving your goals, and what resources will you need to help you reach them? Maybe you have an assistant who can handle this for you, or perhaps outsourcing is a good option. Do you need a writer or editor? Answer these questions to finalize your plan.
19. Finally, think about how you’ll measure the results of your efforts. Do you want a larger network? More engagement? Higher quality leads? More people viewing your profile or inviting you to connect? Whatever your objectives are, figure out how to gauge your success over a specific period of time — and then adjust your activities to increase that success.
While it’s important to focus on the challenges we’re facing today, there will be huge opportunities in the future. Seize this moment to invest in your LinkedIn presence — even if it’s only for a few minutes each day — and you’ll be setting yourself up for success down the road.
Ready to Get Started? A Social Action Plan Can Help
If you have questions or want advice as you implement these tips, call in to our free LinkedIn Office Hours on Fridays at 1pm ET. You will speak with one of our expert coaches, who will give you feedback and more suggestions.
When you’re ready to take LinkedIn to the next level, have a coach design a personal Social Action Plan customized to you and your situation.
You will get the exact steps you should take on LinkedIn, drafts of introductory connect messages, a list of topics to post about, suggestions of people to follow, hashtags to use, and more.
Your coach will show you (or your social media assistant) how to do everything on your own. If you want additional support, your coach can help craft your social activity plan for each month, and even deliver specific recommendations every week for your consideration.