LinkedIn is the most important social networking platform for limited company contractors and freelancers, so if you aren't already utilising the power of LinkedIn, this article will give you the basics of how to get started.
Although you might use a Facebook page or Twitter account to promote your services to a certain extent, it's LinkedIn where you're most likely to make new professional contacts and hear about new assignments.
So, where should you start when it comes to using LinkedIn to promote your work?
Setting up a profile
It only takes a few moments to set up a profile on LinkedIn, but it's important to make sure you're including the following features:
- A clear headshot, where you're dressed smartly and look professional. According to LinkedIn, profiles with a photo on average get 21 per cent more views than those without, so this could boost your chances of finding work.
- Make sure you include the words 'freelance' or 'contractor' in your job title. There's also space to specify whether or not you are currently looking for work. This can help to prevent you from being inundated with requests when you've already got a busy workload.
- Use keywords that clients are likely to be searching for. If you're a software engineer, specify which types of programme you're most experienced with; if you're a freelance writer, list the sectors you've written for in the past, as well as any extra skills you have, such as SEO copywriting experience.
- List your previous work experience, but be careful not to provide too much information, or it's likely that people won't read it and will move on to someone else's profile. Focus on highlighting the skills you've used in the past and the results your work had helped to generate for previous clients.
Once your profile has been set up, you'll be able to start receiving messages from companies interested in working with you. To increase your chances of catching their attention, follow the profiles of organisations in your industry and share articles relevant to your profession from time to time. This will help to boost your presence in other people's newsfeeds, making you more visible on the site.
Skills and endorsements
LinkedIn also has a feature that lets people you've worked with in the past endorse you for certain skills and recommend you to other clients. If you've had a positive relationship with a particular client, you could ask them to do this for you.
It's important to make sure you control which skills are most prominent on your LinkedIn profile by setting these up in your skills and endorsements section. This allows you to subtly encourage clients to choose these when they endorse you rather than ones they may come up with themselves.
To pre-select these skills, go to 'Edit Profile' where you will see skills under the 'recommended for you' section. Click on the skills option and add it to your profile. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills, so select as many as you see fit to highlight your areas of expertise.
When initially adding in skills, they will appear in the order that you entered them, but, over time, as people start endorsing you for certain skills, your top three most endorsed skills will appear most prominently.