If you’re an artist, architect, designer, or photographer, you need to be on LinkedIn. The social network gives professionals the ability to easily showcase their unique skills and portfolios to millions of potential clients. But in order to do so, creatives have to utilize the platform to its fullest potential.
Why Should I Use Social Media?
Those who are not naturally tech savvy may be wary of investing time and energy in building profile pages on social media sites like LinkedIn. However, social media affords artisans a range of opportunities to build their brand and network with people in their fields.
- Presence: Social media platforms help you establish an online presence in which prospective clients can see and engage. As nearly 25 percent of the population visits a social media site every day, it’s a hugely powerful tool in brand building.
- Amplification: Social media can also be helpful in amplifying the reach of your existing marketing efforts. In particular, a company that creates a relationship with a popular brand influencer can benefit from having its brand exposed to thousands of potential customers.
- Community Interaction: Social media lets your company develop a voice that consumers can recognize and connect with. As a recent survey found, 71 percent of consumers who have a positive interaction with a brand are likely to recommend it to friends. Those interactions can be very valuable.
- Conversation Monitoring: Social media allows you to monitor the conversation surrounding your brand. Through the platform, you can find out how your latest output is being perceived and gain invaluable feedback. You can also be proactive about dealing with any customer service issues. As the Harvard Business Review notes, developing a poor image online can be very harmful to a brand’s long-term viability.
A LinkedIn Profile Checklist
When setting up your LinkedIn account, it’s important to understand how to construct a profile that will catch a potential client’s eye. Registering and setting up an account with LinkedIn is an intuitive process that will only take a few minutes. After that’s done, you can begin constructing your profile. It should include:
- Photo: This picture should be a headshot or image that is both professional and pleasant.
- Headline: This portion of your profile should include your profession, your current job title, and employer. It should also include a short, engaging slogan that describes what you do best.
- Connections: When you sign up for your LinkedIn account, it will search your email address book and social media contacts for people you know who are already on the platform. It will then prompt you to invite those people to become your first set of connections.
- Summary Statement: Your summary statement should contain a brief biography and a statement of purpose.
- Experience: This section should list all of your prior relevant work experience, as well as your responsibilities and achievements at each prior employer.
- Recommendations: This part of your profile should be filled with glowing recommendations from your LinkedIn connections. Ideally, from past clients, co-workers, and bosses who will vouch for your expertise, talent, and professionalism.
- Endorsements: Once you set up your LinkedIn profile, you can ask your connections to endorse certain skills that you possess. The more endorsements you have, the more appealing your profile will be to potential clients.
- Groups: You should join as many LinkedIn Groups as you can that are relevant to you or your field. These include prior employers, organizations that you’re a member of and schools you’ve attended. You should also join groups related to your craft. For example, if you’re an interior designer, you could find a lot of useful connections in LinkedIn’s interior design groups.
Show Off Your Work
Within the “Experience” section of your profile, you can add links, files, and media pertaining to your past work to show off the breadth and range of your skills. LinkedIn allows you to add everything from image files to PDFs to PowerPoint presentations in this section. As such, it’s possible to create a robust digital portfolio in minutes.
After you’ve gone through your contacts list for connections, it’s time to start expanding beyond your immediate circle.
- Start with those closest to you. Search your college, organization, and employer groups – which is under the “Work” tab – for potential connections.
- Branch out. Go to the profile pages of individuals who you wish to connect with. From there, you can use the “Connect” feature to send them personalized invitations to link up.
- Make it personal. Always use the “Add a Note” feature when sending out invites. In these notes, explain how you know the person and why forming a connection would be mutually beneficial. As this Entrepreneur article explains, good etiquette is essential to generating good social media karma.
- Let others connect with you. Once your profile is up and running, you’ll begin receiving invitations from other users. These invites will appear in the “My Connections” tab and you will have the option to either “Accept” or “Ignore” them.
- Ask questions. If you receive an invitation from someone you don’t know and they didn’t send along a personalized note, you can contact them by using the “Message” feature. From there, you can politely ask them how they know you or why they wish to connect before you decide to accept or decline their invite.
Tips on How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn
Once you’ve set up an account and made some connections, you then need to focus on getting your potential clients to visit your LinkedIn profile.
- Add your LinkedIn URL to your personal website and other social media profiles. You should add it to your next batch of business cards and your email signature.
- Post weekly status updates. These updates should include topics like industry news, recent seminars you attended, and art and design tips that others can benefit from. (Since LinkedIn is a professional social network, it’s a bad idea to make status updates about politics, sex, religion, trivial life anecdotes, and negative commentary about previous clients.)
- Start blogging! If you have a passion for writing, you can use your LinkedIn page as a blog. Doing so will give you the chance to share your expertise, highlight your unique personality and craft a less formal online persona that will appeal to clients.
- Manage your skills. Keep an eye on your “Skills & Endorsements” tab to ensure that the areas of your expertise that have the most endorsements are listed at the top of the page. Note that you can, and should, reorder these based on skills you feel are your top strengths.
- Get help. When in doubt, click on the LinkedIn help section. It contains a wealth of information about how to optimize your profile, make connections and find new jobs.
When used correctly, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for professionals. With only a little bit of work, a creative professional can create a profile that can serve as an excellent showcase for their portfolio and brand. And since the platform has more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries, the rewards for putting in the time and effort needed to establish and maintain a quality LinkedIn profile are tremendous.
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