LinkedIn Tips for Freelancers & Creatives To Secure New Business: Turn Connections into Conversations, and Conversations into Contracts
By: Latesha Byrd, Career Designer and CEO/Founder Byrd Career Consulting
Do you use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to build your brand and get clientele for your business? If so, you need to add LinkedIn to the list. For one, you could be leaving a lot of money on the table and missing out on an additional revenue stream! Although many see LinkedIn as a site for only job seekers and recruiters, it is extremely effective in generating new leads for your business.
With almost 6 million users, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world. Essentially, it’s like an online networking event that never ends. There’s always someone to connect with that could become your next biggest customer. Due to the significant amount of leads I received from this platform, I was able to leave Corporate America and jump into full-time entrepreneurship. I like to call LinkedIn, “the resume that never sleeps”.
Here are 8 tips to make your profile pop and secure those bags that you’ve been missing out on.
Editor's note: these are practical tips you can start using right now! why wait?!
1. Focus on what users will see when they first view your profile: your profile picture, and cover photo.
This is your future client’s first impression of you when they visit your profile. Invest in a professional photo-shoot to ensure you have bright, high-quality images. For my customized cover photo, I used a template from Canva. LinkedIn gives all users a default cover photo, making it optional to change, so many users don’t change it. On a platform that focuses more on content than imagery (like Instagram) – having your profile picture and cover photo that’s representative of your brand will make your profile stand out. Make sure it’s reflective of your brand. For example, if you’re an artist, show off your artwork or if you’re a speaker, use a photo of you speaking in front of an audience.
2. Change your headline to something creative, such as your business slogan or personal mission statement.
Your headline should NOT be your job title (boring!), especially if you are the CEO of your company. Simply having “CEO” as your headline gives no explanation on the work that you actually do. It should include what you do or how you help others, not just who you are. Use your personal mission statement here to get buy-in from customers. For example, take a look at The Plug’s and Black Tech Interactive CEO/Founder, Sherrell Dorsey’s headline: “Data-driven strategist, journalist, and entrepreneur building smarter and more inclusive innovation communities”. Using industry relevant keywords in your headline will help improve your search results, as prospective clients may be searching for your services.
3. Update your professional summary with a bomb story that demonstrates your areas of expertise and what you have to offer.
It’s the one section on your profile to show your personality, define your brand, share your accomplishments and show passion for your work. Think of it as your bio, in a more genuine and storytelling manner that welcomes users to your profile and engages them in a way that motivates them to do business with you. You can also add media files to your summary, such as links to media interviews, publication features, or work portfolios/samples.
4. Request recommendations from former clients to build online social proof.
The #1 way businesses grow is through referrals. Requesting recommendations from past clients is an easy method to enhance your reputation and prove that you’re good at what you do. We all love a good review, right? I know I use Yelp faithfully when I’m considering a new restaurant. Prospective customers may rely on those reviews before making the decision to work with your business.
5. Apply to become a freelancer on LinkedIn ProFinder (a hidden gem) to attract new leads.
LinkedIn ProFinder is essentially an online professional marketplace, where users can search for and hire quality freelance professionals similar to Fiverr. Many business owners have been able to grow six-figure businesses from utilizing LinkedIn ProFinder. The services offered through ProFinder is everything from web design, mobile development, graphic design, PR Consulting, content strategy, digital marketing, photography, to even DJ’ing and bartending. Check it out to find out what services you can offer through this tool.
6. Create a FREE Company LinkedIn Page.
The standard LinkedIn Company Page is $FREE.99. Having a Company LinkedIn page is effective in driving traffic to your website and increasing conversion rates. Setting up a Company Page takes less than five minutes! All that’s needed is your business logo, website link, company description and voila! You now have a Company LinkedIn Page.
7. Post regularly (at least weekly) to further promote yourself as a subject matter expert.
LinkedIn has become much more of a social platform, so posting something as simple as an industry-specific and thought-provoking discussion question to foster dialogue is key. You can also share articles, tips and other resources that will deem you an industry thought‐leader. Posting a well-captioned photo or video as a status update typically generates the highest engagement. The goal for posting regularly is to get users to view your profile and once you get them there – they’ll be locked in from the jump with your eye-catching cover photo, profile pic and professional summary.
8. Track engagement metrics to measure the effectiveness of your LinkedIn marketing strategy.
So, now that you’ve made all these bomb changes to your profile, how can you tell if it is actually effective? LinkedIn has some really cool features that allow you to track engagement in your dashboard, showing you how many times your profile or post have been viewed and how often you’ve shown up in searches. You can also track analytics on your Company LinkedIn Page. You’ll want to use the metrics to gauge how successful your profile is in attracting users to your profile through the content on your page, to the content you share.
Using LinkedIn to position yourself as an authority in your field of work and get in front of your future clients will do wonders for your online brand. Turn your connections into conversations, and conversations into contracts. Good luck and secure these LinkedIn bags like I know you will!