Starting the new year right: LinkedIn best practices

Starting the new year right: LinkedIn best practices

I don’t know about you, but I spend a big part of December doing business and life planning for the new year. Part of this year’s planning was reviewing all my digital and social platforms, making sure they were aligned with my plans moving forward.

LinkedIn is a major part of my marketing and sales strategy, so I thought I’d share the practices I’ll be putting in place for next year.

When looking at LinkedIn, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my branding cohesive?
  • Do I have a content calendar ready to go?
  • Who do I need to connect with this year?
  • What can I do to combine marketing efforts?

Is my branding cohesive?

For some, 2017 will be business as usual – but for others, 2017 will bring brand new business ventures. Maybe you’ll start a new company. Maybe you plan to resign from your current position and start a new job. Maybe your company is heading in a completely new direction. Or maybe you have a big launch, like a new product or book. Whatever you have up your sleeve, changes in your business and life should be reflected on LinkedIn!

linkedin profile screenshot

If you haven’t written anything done yet, then take the time to outline all the new things that will be happening with your business in the new year. Once you’ve done that, take a look at your LinkedIn profile:

  • Do you need to change your background image? (You might have to anyway, since LinkedIn’s new user interface means the background image has changed size and shape to 1536 x 768 pixels)
  • Do you need to replace your holiday banner from one of my previous posts?
  • Did you cut your hair or get new glasses? You might need a new photo.
  • Do you need to reword or rework your summary section to address changes in your business or life?
  • Do you need to add any new experience, or change the dates on an old job?
  • Do you have new skills you need to list?
  • Have you worked on any new publications or projects?
  • Should you ask for recommendations for new skills or jobs you have?

Making even these few adjustments to your profile will give it a solid refresh, drive more traffic to your profile (always good for business) and build your credibility amongst your peers.

TIP: Before making these changes, be sure to turn OFF sharing profile edits.

Do I have a content calendar ready to go?

Even if you aren’t a content creator (blogger, podcaster, YouTube maven), you may still want to create a content calendar for 2017. A 2017 paper calendar, Excel file, or software like Coschedule can all work – depending on how sophisticated you want your content calendar to be.

At the very least, you want to put down holidays and big event dates for your business, such as that upcoming product launch or promotional event. And if you do any social marketing, you can create tweets or updates ahead of time for the big stuff, so it’s ready to go when the time is right. Before I had an assistant, I regularly forgot to send out tweets about big webinars I was doing because I didn’t get them down in my calendar. Oops.

Now I use Coschedule for Quill posts, and for my own business I use an Excel workbook with a worksheet for all my blog post titles for the next year, and then worksheets for each month with the dates and times I want the content published (for my assistant) as well as social sharing guidelines.

excel spreadsheet screenshot

I have also created a folder for my content calendar and all the blog posts I will write for my LinkedIntoBusiness blog. Then all my assistant has to do is pull the right article at the right time and pop it into the right platform. I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to write or record content if I have a title!

TIP: This works even if you don’t have an assistant. But if you do, they’ll sure appreciate your organization.

Who do I need to connect with this year?

December is a great time to review review your connections. It’s also a good idea to audit who is influential in your business or industry so that you can make a concerted effort to find, connect and engage with them in the new year. I use a journal to list the 60 influencers in my industry, always including their contact info and descriptions.

You could certainly create your own evergreen influencer list in an Excel file or Word doc. Once you find them on LinkedIn, invite them to connect and you’ll gain access to their contact info. At the very least, you could copy their LinkedIn URL into your influencer list so you can keep an eye on them. If you use Sales Navigator (now called Sales Solutions) on LinkedIn, you can actually save them as a lead.

Once you know who your influencers are, and if they are on LinkedIn or not, you can engage with them (even if you’re not connected) by commenting on articles and posts. After a while, you might build a sense of awareness with them, so when you do invite them to connect, they take you up on it.

TIP: You can also join a group they are a member of and send them a private message through that group on LinkedIn, up to a maximum of 15 a month.

What can I do to combine marketing efforts?

If you have a business, you probably have several different marketing strategies in place. You might be using LinkedIn for active lead generation, Facebook groups to create community, a separate Facebook page for ads, and Twitter for social sharing. You may even have a marketing funnel in play, and use Instagram to promote your business. As you look at your marketing and sales engagement for the next year, take a 30,000-foot view of all the resources you have in play. After that, consider ways you can combine and cross-pollinate your efforts:

  • Do you have a “lead magnet” that feeds your marketing funnel? If so, great: use the link in your social sharing.
  • Ask people who invite you to connect on LinkedIn to join your newsletter – and give them a good incentive to do so.
  • Embed your YouTube videos in LinkedIn Posts, or share in updates.
  • Share your LinkedIn Post AS an update on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Make your most popular Instagram post an attractive graphic (use and share on LinkedIn, too.
the same video on linkedin and youtube

TIP: I create LinkedIn training videos using the iOS app ScreenShare. I then upload that onto YouTube and have it transcribed using I take that transcription and work it into a blog post, and plug the blog post copy into Publisher and embed the YouTube video. Once I publish the article on LinkedIn, I copy the link and upload it back onto YouTube. Finally, I share the post on all my social channels. Hello viral!

Wrapping up

December and January are great times to look at your business, consider all the moving parts, and see in what ways you can make those moving parts move even more effectively together. If you haven’t done so yet, carve out a little time between Christmas and New Year to review your business and plan for the year ahead.

Café Quill has plenty more advice on building your professional brand. Subscribe, follow us on social media – and don’t forget to share your unique insights!