LinkedIn is much more than just a business networking platform.
It’s also an extremely powerful tool for making money online.
But most people are using LinkedIn wrong.
I’m going to show you how to use LinkedIn effectively, so you can start attracting new leads, making more money and growing your business – in just 10 easy steps.
How do I know what I’m talking about? Well, I used these exact steps to grow my LinkedIn audience from 2,000 old, stale, and barely-used connections to a lively horde of over 17,500 active, relevant, and engaged followers.
That also means a regular flow of incoming client leads for my SEO consulting services.
I also benefit from sponsored brand deals, affiliate income and partnership opportunities, and the ability to grow my email list more quickly (great for my upcoming digital product sales).
Yep, that means making money. And all from learning how to use LinkedIn effectively.
Sound good? Let’s dive in and I’ll show you how I did it.
How To Use LinkedIn Effectively in 2023 [10 Easy Steps]
#1. Activate Creator Mode
The first essential step is to make sure your LinkedIn profile is set up in Creator Mode, instead of the default setting you probably have right now.
Creator Mode opens up a range of useful features to help you use LinkedIn more effectively.
To active Creator Mode, click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then click “View Profile”. Here’s what it looks like.
Then scroll down to Resources and click on Creator mode: Off. Click Next on the pop-up window.
Add topics (hashtags) to indicate the topics you post about the most (you can choose up to 5 topics).
Having topics set up is helpful for getting found on LinkedIn, as people will use the topic hashtags to search for relevant profiles in those areas. It’s similar to the way hashtags are used on Twitter and Instagram, for example.
Once that’s done, click “Done”, and follow the prompts to turn on Creator Mode for your profile.
#2. Add a clear profile photo
Using LinkedIn effectively is all about building your personal brand.
One basic first step in this process is making sure you’ve got a clear and appealing profile photo that reflects your personal brand (or the one you’re aiming to build). Here’s mine.
I went the extra mile and had a set of professional photos taken. This is super useful because you can display them across all your professional social profiles, as well as on your blog.
But you don’t have to go that far. Taking a clear shot on your iPhone will be enough for now. Make sure you’re looking directly at the camera and aim for a friendly yet professional facial expression.
It’s popular on LinkedIn to add a bright colored background to your profile photo. I chose this specific red because it’s the same color I’m using on this website. Having a consistent color scheme looks professional and helps to build your personal brand.
If you want to do the same, I recommend using Canva to import your profile pic and easily add a colored background. You should be able to get this done with the free version.
#3. Make your banner work for you
Next up, let’s get that banner maxed out to its full capacity. The LinkedIn banner is the wide section that sits behind your profile photo (the blue part with white text on my image below).
It’s valuable profile real estate, but too many people simply leave their banner blank. Or they add a photo of something meaningless, like a city skyline (that’s what I used to do).
Instead, the best way to leverage your LinkedIn banner is to add an eye-catching headline about what you’re offering (and maybe a call to action too).
You can see how I’ve done mine. It gives a brief snapshot of what I offer, including a call-to-action inviting the reader to download my lead magnet (a free blog post checklist).
I’ve also snuck my blog homepage URL into the bottom right-hand corner.
#4. Craft a compelling tagline
The tagline is another important opportunity to grab the attention of your profile visitor in the first few seconds. It’s the two lines of text directly under your name. Here’s mine.
Lots of people are still using LinkedIn in the old-fashioned way and simply put their current job title in the tagline. This is a total waste of valuable profile real estate and doesn’t help build your personal brand.
Instead, leverage the tagline to include a concise and snappy summary of what to do and how it benefits the reader.
If you want, you can use a similar format to mine. Another popular format is “I help [XYZ persona] achieve [ABC benefit]”.
For example, “I help globe-trotting digital nomads lower their taxes using 100% legal strategies”
Or, “I help busy entrepreneurs book new sales calls using their LinkedIn profile”
Think carefully about what you do, who you serve, and how your offer benefits your audience. Then try to boil that down into a nice concise tagline.
#5. Leverage your featured section
Another key step in how to use LinkedIn effectively is getting the featured section of your profile right.
The featured section gives you a prominent place to showcase your prime offers for your audience, while also driving more traffic to your email list. Here’s mine.
For maximum effect, I recommend putting three main components in your featured section.
- A link to book a free discovery call, e.g. in Calendly or TidyCal. This is great if your goal is to attract new leads for your business. It works well for consultants and coaches in particular.
- A link where visitors can sign up for your newsletter, ideally offering them something for free to sweeten the deal (I haven’t done this here, but I’ve got a lead magnet on my banner).
- A link to your paid consultations, your online course, or any other paid product or service you offer.
To get my featured section looking nicely branded, I created simple images in Canva (using my brand colors), then added the relevant URL to each one.
Note: I use a custom image size to create these in Canva: Width 502px, Height 262px
To get started, simply click the + icon on your featured section, select “Link”, then paste in the URL you want to send people to, and click “Add”. You’ll then see the below screen, prompting you to add more details to your link.
Fill in the information for your link, then add the image you created in Canva in the thumbnail section. Click Save, and the end result should look similar to mine.
#6. Add a great About section
To use LinkedIn effectively, don’t use the About section of your profile to publish an extended version of your career history. That’s not helpful to your audience.
Instead, use your About section to craft an interesting narrative about what you offer and how you help your target audience solve their main problems.
Try to make the text as engaging as possible, while also showcasing your expertise neatly woven into the narrative. You can also slot in extra calls to action as I’ve done at the bottom of the text.
#7. Start posting content daily
Now we’ve got your LinkedIn profile optimized, the next step is to learn how to post content to build an audience. This is a big topic, so I plan to create a more detailed post on it soon. But for now, here are the basics you need to get started.
At the heart of learning how to use LinkedIn effectively is mastering the process of publishing insightful content for your audience.
This is undoubtedly the number one essential factor in growing your personal brand, driving traffic to your website, and bringing in new leads for your business.
But knowing how to get started isn’t always so simple.
Many people already post content on LinkedIn. Perhaps you’re one of them.
But they post entirely the WRONG kind of content.
Things like: links to news articles, industry news, career updates, and random thoughts.
This is a surefire way to ensure your LinkedIn profile stays unseen and stuck in 2010. Instead, the best way to grow on LinkedIn is by publishing content that meets the following criteria.
Great LinkedIn content:
- Helps the audience you want to build (i.e. your ideal clients)
- Is authentic, engaging and reflects your expertise
- Is structured correctly to leverage the LinkedIn algorithm (which makes sure it gets seen)
Start by choosing three “pillars”, that reflect your expertise in the area you want to eventually sell in. For example, my three main content pillars are:
- Making money with blogging
- Growing organic traffic with SEO
- Achieving a digital nomad lifestyle
Most of my LinkedIn posts revolve around these three topics. I use the first two the most frequently, because they relate directly to the products and services that make me money.
The digital nomad lifestyle pillar plays more of a personal branding role in my overall LinkedIn strategy. Talking about this topic adds color and human interest to my posts, which in turn increases my rapport with my audience.
To create an effective LinkedIn post, you not only have to write good content, but also play to the algorithm.
Here’s my top-performing post of all time. Look at all that engagement. This post was flying!
So what made it so successful? Well, it starts with the hook (i.e. the first sentence). The goal here is to entice the viewer to click “show more…”
The hook I’ve used here speaks directly to my ideal audience (those looking to build a blog that ranks high on Google).
First, the hook tells the reader that I’ve got one “best” tip for achieving those major goals. Then, it adds the enticing caveat “even as a new blogger” – making the tip feel achievable.
Seeing all that is enough to make my ideal reader jump on this post and click like it’s the hottest deal in town.
When the LinkedIn algorithm notices that a certain post is getting lots of click-throughs, likes, comments, and reposts, it then serves that post to a wider range of people.
That has the snowball effect of attracting additional engagement, meaning the post can really fly high.
After the hook, make sure you follow through and give the reader what you promised. My favorite format is sharing useful tips to help my audience achieve their blogging and SEO goals. From time to time, I also like using LinkedIn carousels to drive extra engagement.
But my LinkedIn posts aren’t always about educating my audience. I also use other posting tactics to drive new leads and even directly sell to my audience (either my own services or affiliate products).
For example, I post about results I’ve achieved for myself and my clients (this tactic is great for attracting new leads). I also create sales-centric posts that promote my own service and products (I do this around once per week).
Start getting used to writing posts in this new way. And don’t worry – in your first few weeks, few people will see your post. So no need to be shy about it. Just start creating content, learn from others, and you’ll soon start to see exciting growth.
#8. Use a smart commenting strategy
Another great area to grow your LinkedIn is by commenting intelligently on your own posts and those of others. Here’s how I approach this part of my LinkedIn strategy.
- I try to reply to as many comments as possible when people leave them on my own posts
- I also read posts from other people in my network and interact with their content via comments
- I’ll also comment on posts from big LinkedIn accounts (such as those with over 100,000 followers), which also helps attracts new followers to my own profile.
When commenting or replying to a comment, don’t just say something bland like “great post”. Instead, engage intelligently, e.g. highlighting what you liked about the post, or sharing one of your own experiences that relates to it.
And please, DON’T use AI tools to craft your comments. Commenting on LinkedIn is one area where it pays to stay authentic and human.
#9. Connect with (and DM) people who engage with your posts
Another way to grow your LinkedIn audience is by sending connection requests to people who like and comment on your posts.
Oftentimes, some of those people will send you connection requests as well.
I try to only connect with people who I think are interesting and relevant, who would either make great potential clients, partners, or just because I enjoy their content.
I normally send a short note with each connection request. You don’t have to do that, and likely people will still accept your requests, especially if it’s obvious where the two of you have topics and connections in common.
Nevertheless, adding a note is a nice gesture that can make you stand out from the rest (especially with so many link builders and similar spamming random contact requests all over LinkedIn).
Don’t be shy about sending DMs to people introducing yourself and starting a conversation. I aim to keep these natural and never sales-y.
From time to time, I also arrange Zoom coffee calls with people who really interest me or where I think we have a good synergy to work on something together.
#10. Promote your product or service
Another important part of learning how to use LinkedIn effectively is knowing when to promote your product or service.
Some people like to send a sales pitch immediately with the first DM (this is known as “pitch slapping”, and many people dislike it).
Others will chat with the prospect for a few messages before sending over the pitch. I don’t like that either, because it feels inauthentic.
But everyone’s mileage varies in this area. You should do what feels right for your personality and your area of business.
Personally, my favorite way to promote my services is through a “P.S.” on my relevant LinkedIn posts.
In those cases, I’d include a PS section at the bottom of the post, with a call to action inviting the reader to check out one of my relevant services (or sign up to my email list). This tactic works remarkably well, while still being unobtrusive.
Important: never include an external URL in the body of your post. If you do, LinkedIn will kill the reach of that post, because it doesn’t want your post to drive people off the platform.
Instead, use a text similar to mine and just pop the URL in the comments.
How to Use LinkedIn Effectively: Key Takeaways
LinkedIn is more than just a networking platform – it’s a potent tool for making money online.
By following these 10 actionable steps, you can unlock its massive potential to attract new leads, boost your income, and grow your business.
These steps will help you transform your LinkedIn presence from a dry and boring profile into a dynamic revenue-generating platform. Remember, consistency and authenticity are key.
As you apply these strategies, monitor your growth, adapt to your audience’s responses, and refine your approach for continued success.