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Using LinkedIn as a Freelancer + Biz Owner

Sep 23, 2015

FreelancerLinkedIn

I have a total thing for social media. In fact, I probably spend way too much time on it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest — they’re all so much fun.

However, since I’ve been doing my own thing and running a business, LinkedIn has quickly become my absolute favorite social network. I think it’s such a powerful tool for meeting new people, setting up informational interviews, and even growing your business. However, I know so many people who set up a profile only to let it sit there neglected and unused.

Let me tell you — you absolutely do not want to be one of those people! LinkedIn is an amazing resource for building your network and spreading the word about your work. So, use it as such!

Not sure where to get started? Here are six things I think you absolutely must be doing on LinkedIn as a freelancer and business owner.

USING LINKEDIN TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

1. POST YOUR RECENT WORK.

Yes, I have a website that acts as my portfolio. But, I also love to share some updates about my recently published work on LinkedIn. Mine is all added as a media clip under my current position as a freelance writer.

Of course, these pieces also appear in my formal portfolio. However, posting a select sampling gets my work in front of people who might not ever even visit my website!

2. PROACTIVELY REACH OUT TO CONNECTIONS THAT COULD BENEFIT YOU.

There’s really no point in having LinkedIn if you’re never going to try to grow your network. So, after I meet someone at an appointment or networking event, I like to follow up by connecting with them on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to start an informal relationship and keep those lines of communication open!

I also like to put out “feelers” using LinkedIn. I’ll search for people in my area who might be looking for someone with my skills and expertise (web designers, agency owners, etc.) and send them a proactive connection request with a friendly, personalized introductory message. More often than not, it starts a great conversation! I’ve gotten plenty of meetings — and even work! — by using just LinkedIn.

3. KEEP IT UPDATED.

Fair warning: LinkedIn definitely won’t be effective if you don’t ever actually use it. So, don’t just set up a profile and let it become outdated. Think of LinkedIn as your digital resume — you always want it to reflect your current set of skills, experience, and knowledge. So, make a point of keeping it updated!

I like to sit down once a month and swap out some published pieces, add any new skills I’ve picked up, and even do some cleaning up of other elements of my profile. That way, I’m always confident that people are getting the best representation of who I am — regardless of when they stop by my profile.

4. HAVE AN AMAZING PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY.

Too often, I think the summary portion on LinkedIn is completely neglected. Heck, I see tons of users who don’t put anything in that block. But, to me, the summary is one of the most important parts of your profile! It’s the second thing I look at — after the photo.

So, take some time do sit down and crank out an amazing summary. You want it to be one that explains why you’re great at what you do, but is also somewhat casual and conversational. It’s still a social network, after all!

5. CHECK IN FREQUENTLY.

I check LinkedIn probably more than I check any other social network — I’d say at least three times per day. Often it’s just a quick glance at the app on my phone, but I still like to stay in the loop on all of the posts and happenings.

Another thing that I always keep a close eye on is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature. This sneaky thing is my very best friend. If someone has come back to my profile a few times, I’ll send them a quick message just to start a conversation. Obviously, they’re already interested in what I’m doing, so I figure a personal touch can’t hurt. This has led to some unexpected work and connections as well!

6. FOLLOW INFLUENCERS, INDUSTRY LEADERS, AND COMPANIES.

LinkedIn is also a great resource for information — not just connections. Tons of influencers and industry leaders post great tips and articles. So, follow a bunch of your favorites in order to have lots of valuable content filling up your feed.

Additionally, I always, always, always follow a company on LinkedIn after I’ve pitched them my information (actually, I usually follow all of their social accounts!). Liking some of their posts on LinkedIn is a great way to show that you’re engaged and interested in what’s going on with them.

I also like to scope out a few of a company’s employees’ profiles after submitting my information. They’ll see that I looked at their profile, and — more often than not — they’ll look at mine in return. Voila! All of a sudden they have a name and some background to associate with that person that just emailed them.

Do you use LinkedIn as much as you should? What sorts of tips and tricks do you have to share?

Until next time!