LinkedIn, love it, loathe it or simply don’t know enough about it?
Michelle Collins from Pink Spaghetti Chester & North Wales shares her personal experience of using the platform for both individuals and small businesses.
Having worked in a public-sector organisation for 12 years when my job role was threatened with redundancy I quickly ensured that my CV was up-to-date. I had of course heard of LinkedIn but didn’t know the benefits and definitely hadn’t made time to create a profile. Knowing that I would soon be job hunting I bit the bullet and set one up, it seemed relatively easy to do with a straightforward way of connecting with those that I already knew, a little more research and effort and I had my profile set up and started to connect with others. I had no clear strategy but felt sure that I was doing the right thing.
By the time redundancy came I had already found Pink Spaghetti, however LinkedIn became ever more important as I need to network to grow my business, so I quickly learnt how to perfect my profile, attending courses and watching what others who looked successful were doing.
One of my first clients was a business coach who was passionate about LinkedIn and the benefits of networking online – I learnt so much about LinkedIn while working for him. The search functionality is excellent, and I was able to easily find him prospective clients and connect with them, starting conversations and inviting them to breakfast seminars where he could meet them in person. I attended a couple of seminars – they were fantastic and busy – it was a very successful use of LinkedIn as a marketing tool. From that my confidence grew and it is now easy to see opportunities on the platform not only for myself but for my clients, many of whom are nervous about the etiquette of using LinkedIn.
As my business grew I was recommended to more people; job hunters and business owners alike. With a background in HR I was quickly able to work on people’s profiles not only making sure that the basics were completed but also ensuring the skills and experiences were displayed correctly. One such recommendation led me to an engineer who was looking for work, we worked together on his profile, the starting point being to change the headline on his profile to state that he was looking for a new opportunity, without this how would anybody have known at that point he wanted to be approached? In two hours we connected with a number of recruiters, requested recommendations from his past employers and within the week he had been offered a new role, his skills and experience of course played the major role in this, but it was great to be able to use an instrument such as LinkedIn to accelerate the process.
I fall into the “love LinkedIn” category and have had the pleasure of not only providing LinkedIn training to clients but also work at the University of Salford with graduates stepping onto the platform: it is always a pleasure to hear from them and their successes. Amongst my clients I have worked with a top LinkedIn Influencer and several recruitment companies, however the some of the best feedback that I have had is from the smaller business owners who have managed to problem solve, find new clients and use their LinkedIn connections to grow their businesses. A good profile is a powerful tool and a definite must if you want to get ahead.
Michelle’s top tips on using LinkedIn for your business
- Make sure that your headline is up to date and explains exactly who you are and what you have to offer – people will make a decision on whether to connect within seconds so this headline is vital.
- Try to go onto the platform every working day, even if you don’t have the confidence to post at first. Join in a conversation – it’s a great way to make yourself visible to others.
- Make sure that your contact details are up to date and your phone number and email are displayed – if you are taking the time to network it’s vital that you can be contacted.