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Position Yourself as an Expert

February 2014

Content is Key in Order to Stand Out on LinkedIn

Colleen McKenna, LinkedIn Expert

Colleen McKenna, LinkedIn Expert

How can you turn your LinkedIn experience into a differentiator?

Your profile and your network are passive if you don’t do anything beyond the basics. LinkedIn provides you with a platform that highlights what you have done throughout your career and an online network to connect with clients, prospects, alumni, strategic partners, potential employees, and more. That’s all good. Actually, it’s great if you think about it and embrace it. But let’s not stop there – that would be shortsighted. LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to do more than just job hunt and network. Think of it as a way to build your brand, and grow and engage a network that can be a source of inspiration, business opportunity, personal growth and more. Leveraging that takes some work and creativity.

Share Your Content
Are you or anyone in your organization blogging? Are you creating any original content like white papers, case studies, e-books, presentation decks, webinars or podcasts? If so, put them to work.

According to the Corporate Executive Board, B2B buyers are more than 60 percent along in their buying process before they engage salespeople. And, on top of that, 65 percent of a salesperson’s time is spent not selling (Forrester
Research). Not exactly great news for your salespeople or your company.

Take your content or the content your marketing department is creating and consider sharing it with your LinkedIn network, LinkedIn groups and select individuals (those you are and are not connected to). You will, over time, develop greater value for yourself and your organization.

Share Others’ Content
Don’t have original content yet? Don’t worry. Find good content from trade publications, partners, LinkedIn’s Pulse and other sources and share it. Almost every publication now offers a share button and LinkedIn’s icon will be there. Click the LinkedIn icon, and it creates the link for you and even allows you to post a comment. Let people know you have actually read what you are sharing and agree, disagree or have a thought or two about it.

Build Value
There is so much information and content to review, understand and process. It’s not all created equal. When someone shares an article with me, I am more likely to read it because they know I will be interested. I can’t possibly read everything out there. I appreciate it when people send me posts, articles and podcasts that add value to my business. In turn, they are highly valued to me. I know they are the people who are keyed in, relevant and interested in their business, clients and associates. I tend to rely on these people when I have a question.

That, I think, is what you want to aspire to, for you and your salespeople. You want to be the go-to resource in your industry, region and network. People are looking for those they can learn from, ask questions of, refer to – and it should be you.

Become a Source
Beyond your prospects and customers, consider that journalists and bloggers seek out sources for their content and are always researching to find subject matter experts to interview and quote. Often they want to find new voices that not everyone else is quoting.

I did a quick LinkedIn search focused on keywords: “journalist” or “blogger” or “writer” and it turns up more than 922,000 results. I can then begin to filter to make the search more manageable. First, I filter for only my second-level connections, then I add in “social media” (your keyword and industry may be very different) and then I add in “New York Times.”

Now I have a list that I can potentially reach out to, connect with and offer my expertise if they ever need anyone. Begin to build a network of influencers who are interested in your content. Search your current network to see how many media people are currently in it. Strive to add some if they’re not there.

Hit the Speaking Circuit
Networking and business groups, CEO peer groups, companies and associations all have meetings where they bring experts and consultants in to share insight and knowledge. It’s hard to break into this if you don’t have a voice, especially on LinkedIn.

In a quick search, there are more than 1 million people potentially looking for speakers. Be visible on LinkedIn in groups and with sharing, and you become more visible overall.

Stay Top of Mind
You can’t always know when someone is looking for an expert, a speaker, or the product or service you provide.

Sharing content consistently and contributing when others share is the key. Giving one talk, or sharing every once in a while is not going to do it. There needs to be a body of content you can point to that illustrates and positions you as an expert. And, jump in and participate in conversations. You may be surprised whom you may meet serendipitously.

When I post an update, I can quickly see who viewed it, liked it and commented on it. It helps me understand who is active in my network.

LinkedIn won’t make you a subject matter expert, but it is the means by which you share your expertise with the world. LinkedIn does allow you to showcase your knowledge by posting content through status updates, rich media links under your summary, experience and education, and a new section called projects. And, frankly, it’s better to demonstrate your expertise rather than state that you are an expert. There’s a big difference in credibility. If you are a subject matter expert, mention your area of expertise on your profile.

Building your credibility online is important for you and your business. It validates you in a way that allows people to decide to meet, engage and potentially do business with you sooner and with more confidence than they would have otherwise.

Differentiate yourself on LinkedIn – build your brand. Don’t just use LinkedIn as your online resume. Share content, build value, and go beyond the basics to leverage the real power of LinkedIn.

After a lifetime in business development and marketing, Colleen McKenna launched her own business in early 2011 focused on helping business professionals use technology to reposition themselves and grow their business with a strategic focus on LinkedIn. She has worked with more than 3,500 business professionals to help them craft and navigate their professional brand for awareness, business development and recruiting. Contact her at colleen@interoadvisory.com or www.linkedin.com/in/colleenmckenna. I95

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