You have a LinkedIn profile. Most everyone does these days. The question is, are you making your LinkedIn profile work for you?
This isn’t a rhetorical question. LinkedIn is one of the world’s most powerful marketing tools for businesses and professionals. Many of its most valuable features are valuable because they’re free to all users (or all business users, at least). A LinkedIn Premium membership can certainly unlock more doors, including some on this list, but it’s not essential.
It’s true that LinkedIn can feel intimidating to those not used to working with it. LinkedIn isn’t as mobile-friendly as Instagram or easy for nontechnical people to use as Facebook. But it doesn’t require extensive knowledge of coding or an uncanny ability to interpret analytics. At its heart is a user-friendly social media platform.
In other words, there’s no excuse not to use the full breadth of LinkedIn’s tools and capabilities. These nine are particularly potent.
1. LinkedIn Sharing Buttons
This external LinkedIn tool is no less powerful than the tools and capabilities found on the platform itself. In fact, there’s a reason it ranks number one here. Adding LinkedIn sharing buttons to your personal website, corporate website, and other prominent nodes in your digital presence is an excellent way to direct high-quality traffic to your LinkedIn profile.
2. Custom Public Profile URL
Your LinkedIn page has a unique URL; everyone’s does. But this URL might not be custom. If it’s just a sequence of letters and numbers, it’s the sort of “off the shelf” URL LinkedIn assigns to every unique profile. Those “off the shelf” URLs don’t exactly scream “I care about my LinkedIn presence.”
Contrast that uncaring “default” appearance with the look of a profile with custom URL capabilities. The LinkedIn profile for Paul Esterhuizen, a South African philanthropist and entrepreneur, uses a straightforward custom URL: the subject’s full name. Though simple, the difference is night and day.
3. LinkedIn Job Postings
Looking for a change? Looking for an extra pair of hands? Either way, LinkedIn’s job postings can help. Use them to quickly find high-quality talent (and weed out irrelevant or spammy candidates) for your organization. Or upload your CV and take your pick of the opportunities available to you.
Canva is a LinkedIn-compatible image creation tool that’s absolutely indispensable to marketers whose limited budgets can’t match their ample reserves of creativity. Even if you use Canva as a stock photo generator for original LinkedIn posts — more on those below — it’s a valuable asset in your LinkedIn lineup. And it’s free.
5. Open for Business
LinkedIn’s Open for Business tools help individual professionals show off like big, complex organizations. Use them to showcase your core professional services with as much detail as you’re willing to share. Keep at it and you might generate all the leads you can handle right here, without resorting to more expensive marketing channels.
InMail is LinkedIn’s in-house email marketing suite. More accurately, it’s a commercial version of LinkedIn messaging, with many of the tools and capabilities you’d expect from a third-party solution. The advantage: By associating your LinkedIn presence with your message marketing suite, you lend the latter a credibility that’s sure to increase conversions.
7. Article Creation Tools
Did you know that LinkedIn has a built-in blogging platform. It does; it’s just not advertised as such. You can create and promote engaging, text- and image-rich articles right within your LinkedIn profile, leveraging the platform’s built-in optimization, user base, and sharing capabilities to reach a much wider audience than your personal or professional website ever could.
8. LinkedIn Live
LinkedIn Live is LinkedIn’s visual content portal for thought leaders and brands. Like other live-action social media tools, it’s a potent asset for users seeking online audiences that prefer to watch and listen than read and absorb.
9. Showcase Pages
LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages help businesses of all sizes show off their products and services. Like Open for Business for professionals, Showcase Pages are powerful marketing assets that may reduce or even eliminate the need for more expensive, professionalized marketing channels, such as PR outreach or traditional media.
Make LinkedIn an Asset, Not a Liability
Why should Facebook and Twitter have all the fun? For professionals and businesses, LinkedIn is a more powerful marketing asset than either. There’s no good reason to treat it as a liability.
You don’t have to. If you can consistently and competently use these nine LinkedIn tools and capabilities, you’ll be in a better position than the majority of LinkedIn users. And your professional life will almost certainly be better for it.
Time to get to work.