18 Top tips for PRs to make the most of LinkedIn

We asked those who shine on LinkedIn for their top tips for making the most of the platform and also for encouraging the rest of their team, or company, to use it well too. Below are their pearls of wisdom.

From Jane Ferré, executive career coach:

1. Write for your target audience

“Write your profile in a way that speaks to those people who you want to get noticed by. If you have a business, write it for your ideal clients, if you are in the job market, write your profile to speak to potential employers or recruiters.”

2. Show off

“Produce content that demonstrates your expertise. This should include posts, articles, and videos.”

3. Focus on recommendations

“Write recommendations to anyone who has impressed you, ask for recommendations from anyone you have worked with. You can talk all day about how great you are - it is much more powerful when someone else says it.”

From Nick Boothroyd, director of recruiting at not-for-profit enterprise Creative Access:

4. Sell yourself

“PRs are good at selling their clients. but often less good at selling themselves. Treat your Linked-In profile like a pitch.”

5. Add a photo

“It doesn’t need to be a corporate headshot, use one that represents you. Members with a photo get up to: ​9 x more connection requests​; 21 x more views; and 36 x more messages.”

From Ann Young, CEO of photo-editing service Fix The Photo:

6. Connect strategically and selectively

“To make the most of your presence on LinkedIn, make sure to connect strategically. Connecting to too many people will dilute the quality of your connections. It is important to take time before connecting with others to assess whether there would be a benefit for them in connecting with you or vice versa.

“LinkedIn should be an extension of community building around your product or service; it's not a place to sell. Think about your contacts first and foremost. If there is no real need to connect with that individual, then it should be avoided.”

7. Update your skills

“I encourage my team to use it to advance both personal and business growth. One of the main things I do is to remind them that by posting and updating profiles and groups, we are boosting our presence online. I also remind them to update their skills and recommendations because it's one way for us to gain more leads.”

From Katie Martin, digital marketing apprentice at outdoor leisure specialist OLPRO:

8. Follow pages and groups

“Follow pages and/or groups that are relevant to your area of work - this has been invaluable to me as I have been able to discover more about my own job role as well as across the industry, and a lot of what I have learnt from these pages and groups I have been able to use in my role.”

9. Engage with others’ posts

“Posting or sharing posts that will invoke a conversation - this is a great way to connect with other people as well as see what your peers think of certain topics, which can help you in your job role with networking as well as interacting with like-minded people.”

From Stuart Bruce, PR futurist at Stuart Bruce Associates:

10. Look at your analytics

“Look at your analytics and the analytics for your team to see what is working for you. Two great tools to help you do that are Inlytics.io (which also has a free plan) and Shield. It makes it easier to see what types of posts work best for you, which are likely to include posts with PDFs, LinkedIn polls, no external link, three to five hashtags. Posts that achieve ‘velocity’ also do well, which means getting likes and specifically comments within the first couple of hours.”

From Amy Watt, career coach at Megawatt Coaching:

11. Don’t overthink it

“A lot of people in the comms industry suffer from LinkedIn Paranoia - that fear that people in your network will judge you for what you're posting. They imagine that past colleagues, friends, relatives will all judge them for showing up and showing off on the platform. The best way to address this phobia is to block the thoughts of others' responses from your mind (they probably won't see your post anyway) and focus entirely on who you want to reach. Adapt your content so it supports, inspires or updates them. It's when we try and please everyone with our content, instead of creating for our specific audience, that it has the least impact. So ask yourself: Who do I want to reach? What are their pain points? How can I help them?”

From Alex Moss, founder and CEO of B2B SaaS software Tactical Arbitrage:

12. Use it as a business development tool

“I encourage my team to use LinkedIn in a business development capacity, not necessarily in a marketing capacity. You can learn so much about your competitors, your prospective customers, and how people in the industry generally think. Keep an eye out for who they've added to their network, what they've read, and what activity they're involved with on the platform. Combine this with your own knowledge of your customers and prospects and you'll soon get a really good picture of what matters to them and how you can improve your product or service to better target your customers.”

From Tim Gibbon, founder of communications consultancy Elemental:

13. Use LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI)

LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI) is a good indicator to monitor how a profile could be developing. To create and maintain a strong LinkedIn presence means starting and keeping up with the basics is paramount. Many don’t get it right. Use the SSI as a guide and follow its tips. A few relevant posts per week should naturally grow and maintain this and not create fatigue on a feed and stretch content creation too thin.”

14. Include your team

“A healthy and positive group learning approach could encourage colleagues to engage in this activity to involve a team effectively. Once colleagues can see how the LinkedIn activity is positive for the individual, the agency or brand, they would be inspired also to do the same.

“A train-a-trainer method to secure success (and even failures) could share the knowledge and learn in-house. An inclusive approach inviting team members to these train-a-trainer sessions and becoming trainers could further ensure the experience is shared across the team and learning enhanced. If the team has a good vibe and support for learning, leader boards, contests, and rewards could be used to consistent participation.”

From Richard Stevenson, director at PR agency Quick Brown Fox:

15. Show, don’t tell

“LinkedIn works best when your content has its roots in real-world events and business experience. While vaporous articles on your concept or areas of expertise can be insightful, they fundamentally lack the natural human engagement that comes with showing real results, the journey, potholes, and wrong turnings encountered along the way. Get the story right, and LinkedIn can have a profoundly wider reach than the event or PR activity that the post is based on, making it a potent tool.”

“Quick Brown Fox recently marketed ourselves by sponsoring a trade awards event with over 200 target-customer attendees. Yet, our jazzed-up LinkedIn posts about Team Fox being at the event, individually personalised by each team member for their own LinkedIn posts, reached ten times that number of potential customers within a week. ‘Show, don’t tell,’ as they say in Creative Writing 101 - and it’s just as true on LinkedIn.”

From Gavin Finney, head of content at agency Aduro Communications:

16. Forget you are on LinkedIn!

The key to making the most of LinkedIn is to forget it’s LinkedIn. There was a time when only your stuffy, overdressed mate posted, but now it’s a legitimate social network for everyone. So think about how you’d behave elsewhere. Got an opinion? Write about it. Sounds obvious, but posting articles on LinkedIn is really valuable and presents you as a thought leader.”

17. Post a film

“Even better, shoot some film content about your opinion. We all know moving image is many times more engaging than anything else going around.”

18. Don’t forget the hashtag

“Don’t shy away from your human side at work. #Informal and #authentic is the #way of the #modern #business #walk, especially in the #creative #industries when you’re looking for #kindred #spirits. Oh, and don’t forget #hashtags either.”

And talking of hashtags, look out for my #journorequest every Monday, so that you get a chance to get quoted in a future PRinsight…

If you'd like to understand more about LinkedIn as a Marketing Channel, then you can register for this PRmoment's webinar. It's on 11 Nov and tickets are only £35 + vat. All delegates will be sent a recording of the session afterwards.