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As a freelance trainer, LinkedIn can be a valuable marketing and networking tool, helping you connect with potential clients and grow your reputation. But how do you get found on LinkedIn?
We’ve put together our top hints and tips for making your profile easy to find, especially for new clients who may be looking for exactly the training you offer.
Do your keyword research
Having a good search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is arguably as important for your presence on LinkedIn as it is for your website. When people search on LinkedIn, the platform’s algorithms seek to return the most relevant profiles, based on their content and potential connections within the searcher’s network. Every search results page on LinkedIn is unique as a result.
To be found in the most relevant searches, you should spend some time researching the keywords and phrases that potential clients might use to find your services. There are some helpful free keyword research tools available. We like Google’s Keyword Planner, Keyword Eye, and WordTracker.
Once you have identified the best keywords, you can make sure that they appear in strategic places in your LinkedIn profile (see below for more advice about this).
Keyword optimise your profile
As discussed above, it’s helpful to include the keywords clients might be using to search for your services throughout your LinkedIn profile. There are several effective ways that you can do this:
- Create a keyword-rich professional headline – There are two schools of thought about this. The first advises that your profile headline should be your job role, while the second recommends writing a newspaper-style headline advertising the benefits of working with you in a single sentence. On my own profile, I’ve combined both approaches with the headline: “The Trainers Training Company. Helping freelance trainers to create successful businesses”. As you can see, ‘trainers’, ‘training’ and ‘freelance trainers’ all appear as keywords in that single headline.
- Write a keyword-rich Summary – Your LinkedIn Summary is where you can introduce yourself and give an overview of what you offer. Try to humanise your story, talk in the first person and show how you can help your clients. If you write with your focus keywords in mind, they should appear naturally in the copy. You might also want to include your Twitter handle and blog URL in your Summary so that they can be seen at a glance.
- Keyword optimise your Experience section – The Experience section of your LinkedIn profile is where you can list your different job roles, experience and skills related to that role. Again, it’s a good idea to incorporate the keywords that you want to be found for in searches in this section.
- Add keywords to your Education – If you’ve done any professional training or even developed skills that your clients are looking for at college or university, then it’s important to mention this in the Education section of your profile.
Connect with everyone you meet to grow your network
Whenever you make a new acquaintance, whether it’s at a networking event or even in the school playground or at a sports club, you should follow up with them by inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. The larger your network is, the further out it will extend. As LinkedIn is built on the principle of six degrees of separation, you never know who a new acquaintance might know.
To ensure that your request to connect is accepted, we always recommend personalising your invitation. Remind the person who you are and how you both met, as well as how much you enjoyed meeting them, and that you thought LinkedIn might be a good way to stay in touch.
Personalise your LinkedIn URL
Below your profile picture at the top of your LinkedIn profile page, you will notice that you have your own LinkedIn URL (circled in red in the image above). As you can see from this screenshot, I have personalised my URL with my name rather than using the default number-based URL that LinkedIn allocates initially. You could also add a keyword to your URL, such as ‘corporatetrainer’, or forgo using your name in favour of a role-specific vanity URL, such as ‘HighGrowthMentor’.
A personalised URL can help your profile to show up on search engine results pages as well as on LinkedIn, and can make it easier for people to guess your profile address if they know your name.
Check your Privacy settings
When you’re logged into your LinkedIn profile, you have the option to click on the ‘View Profile As’ button next to your profile picture to see what your profile looks like to your Connections.
You can also click on the drop-down arrow to the right of this button and then choose ‘Manage public profile settings’ to determine which elements of your profile should be visible to people who aren’t in your network.
If you want your profile to be seen by potential clients with whom you don’t yet have a connection, you will need to turn off or amend the privacy features to make your profile visible to a wider audience.
Promote your Projects & Publications
It’s a good idea to promote any projects or articles you’ve completed on your LinkedIn profile. If you have been involved in collaborative or associate training work, you can tag the people you’ve worked with (as long as they’re on LinkedIn too) to have the joint project visible to their connections as well as your own. This is an excellent way to build your reputation and audience.
Ask for Recommendations and Endorsements
LinkedIn Recommendations are a lot like reviews or testimonials, whereas an Endorsement is like a show of hands or vote of confidence from your contacts about the skills you say you can provide.
It’s a good idea to list at least ten skills for which you want Endorsements, preferably skills that feature the keywords you want to target.
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your contacts for their Recommendations – LinkedIn even provides an ‘Ask for recommendations’ option. The most effective approach is to send your connections a personalised message explaining what aspect of your services that you would like them to focus on in their review. This can be another powerful way to ensure that the right keywords show up on your profile.
Join relevant groups
The idea of a LinkedIn group is that people can come together to discuss their shared professional interests or disseminate information among their industry peers. It’s estimated that there are over two million groups on LinkedIn.
Although many LinkedIn groups appear to be dead or dormant, there are some active gems if you’re able to spend some time looking for them. Trying looking for groups focusing on ‘Trainers’ and ‘Coaches’.
Publish articles on LinkedIn
Did you know that you can publish articles on LinkedIn to be read by the wider LinkedIn community, as well as your own network? This is a great way to grow your reputation and visibility on the platform.
To publish an article, you simply need to click on the ‘Write an article’ option at the top of your newsfeed on your Home page (to the right of ‘Share an update’ or ‘Upload a photo’). Then add your headline, images and article before hitting the ‘Publish’ button.
Promote your LinkedIn profile elsewhere
To help spread the word about your presence on LinkedIn, we recommend sharing your LinkedIn URL with your network beyond the platform. You can do this by:
- Tweeting the link to your Twitter followers
- Adding the link to your Twitter biography
- Adding the link to your email signature
- Posting the link on Facebook
- Adding the link to your Facebook profile
- Linking to your profile from your website header and/or About page
- Adding your profile URL to your business cards
- Posting the meme to your Instagram page
Personalise your presence
Above all, when it comes to getting found on LinkedIn, the key is to treat the people with the same professionalism and respect that you would use at a face-to-face networking event. Personalise your invitations to connect, reach out to people for a reason without subjecting them to a hard sell, put connections in touch with one another, and comment on posts when you have something meaningful to say. These little touches can all help to grow your network and bring you to the attention of potential clients.
Want to connect on LinkedIn? You can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharongaskin