Savvy project marketers know that LinkedIn is no longer a simple recruitment tool. Rather, it Is a vital platform to build your profile as an industry influencer.
As LinkedIn continues its speedy evolution from glorified contact book into a content destination for industry news and opinion, project marketing professionals have a big opportunity to boost credibility and build relationships like never before.
While you may have once used LinkedIn as a simple recruitment tool, it has fast become a gathering place for industry players who are seeking out deeper relationships and insights. That means replacing the hard sell with genuine forward-thinking thought leadership.
And that’s where the power of LinkedIn comes into focus as a content platform that lets you position yourself as a credible industry specialist. It makes people want to hear from you because you’re adding value to their day.
STEP ONE: COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE
It may sound simple, but your journey towards becoming an influential voice on LinkedIn starts with having a complete profile.
Making a strong first impression begins with your profile photo, which should convey a professional image that matches your personal brand.
The next port of call is your headline. Here you have just 120 characters to express your relevance and experience.
Think of this as your elevator pitch. Focus on keywords that property development decision makers would be likely to use when searching for project marketing advice and stay on point.
And take the time to richly populate the past experience and education fields, and link to your relevant websites, blogs or Twitter feeds.
Here’s an example of a well-populated LinkedIn profile from a property investment specialist in the US.
STEP TWO: OPTIMISE YOUR PROFILE
In order to become an influential force on LinkedIn, you first must be easily found. That means optimising your profile to rank high in the search results of the property development decision makers who are likely to be buying what you’re selling.
Now it’s time to dig a little deeper into the summary section of your LinkedIn profile. This is your chance to expand on your expertise and clearly express your unique selling point and the value you offer clients.
Consider writing in the first person to build a connection with the reader, and while keyword stuffing will be detrimental, do write in the vernacular of your audience.
That is, if a property developer is browsing LinkedIn for marketing tips, they are unlikely to respond to marketing jargon or convoluted concepts so avoid writing in those terms.
In short, put yourself and your expertise in context for your potential clients and build your foundations firmly with good, useful information.
Here’s an example of an optimised profile – note the use of SlideShare portfolio pieces in the ‘summary’ section:
STEP THREE: BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE
To become an influential thought leader you need an audience, and leveraging your network is key to boosting your visibility on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn offers several ways to help maximise your network such as searching your email contacts to identify past and present colleagues.
The next step is to build your secondary network. Here you can be quite strategic thanks to LinkedIn’s deep search function and focus on revealing the decision makers within key prospect companies.
And here’s where a paid subscription might come in handy. The various levels of premium accounts offer a number of ‘InMails’, which essentially allow you to directly contact a target before they’ve accepted your invitation to connect.
Focusing on other industry influencers with large networks in property development is a very powerful way to build your audience quickly. They’re more likely to share your content and give you a boost in the newsfeed or relevant contacts.
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STEP FOUR: JOIN GROUPS
Visit the ‘groups’ tab and LinkedIn will suggest some relevant groups based on the information in your profile. Participating in group discussions is an excellent way to add new connections to your network and become visible in your industry.
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. However, it pays to be strategic here. Take some time to research and identify the top six to ten groups you feel are most relevant to property development decision makers.
Spend some time following the discussions of each group and map the major contributors and where their expertise tends to fall, and think about the unique perspective you can add to the conversation. Don’t be too pushy in these groups—it’s important to be someone who adds value and helps advance a discussion, rather than someone who’s pitching the whole time.
STEP FIVE: CREATE AND CURATE CONTENT
Now it’s time to start creating shareable content to significantly expand your network and build your social influence.
It’s important to have a content strategy in place here. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the message you want to communicate and how you want to position yourself relative to other project marketing voices.
If you know what unique value you bring to the conversation, it will be much easier to keep your content on message and that’s going to get people paying a lot more attention to you in the long term.
Building a library of targeted content assets such as articles, ebooks, whitepapers, podcasts and video will naturally boost your influence as you become not only a trusted voice but also a source of unique best-practice insights for your industry peers.
You should also share content from other sources that you have not produced yourself. This is perfectly valid and is one of the most time efficient ways to stand out on LinkedIn. Search for content on property development or project marketing news sites, include infographics and make your own assessment on whatever you post. It positions you as someone who’s giving thought to the big issues in the industry.