I’m excited to bring you this interview with Emily Crookston who has schooled me—and will soon do the same to you—on the what, why, and how to use LinkedIn to achieve your professional goals, no matter what they are. Marketer and ghost writer extraordinaire, Emily believes in the power of LinkedIn to tell your story, build your brand, and share a point of view. In this interview, she explains why it’s a critical platform for anyone to use professionally, not just job seekers or business owners. And she’ll dish on her favorite strategies. You can find Emily at ThePocketPhD.com to learn more about her work. Listen to the full interview with the player above, and enjoy some of my favorite highlights here.
We began by establishing who LinkedIn is really for
“A lot of people have the impression of LinkedIn as this place where only job seekers and recruiters hang out. It’s just a place you go when you’re worried about being out of work or you are trying to find a new position because you’re kind of unhappy where you are,” she began. “But I think that perception is really old. Since the pandemic, a lot of people have started using LinkedIn who weren’t using it before, like me.
And so, you can really find a community of people who are interested in basically doing social media in a business sense, like finding business friends, building an industry community that they can really tap into when they have questions or when they’re looking for jobs. People are really finding that they can build a personal brand through LinkedIn. So even if you are in corporate and really happy with your position and not thinking about looking for a job you can still use LinkedIn as a way to build some rapport within your industry, find people who are like minded and become really kind of a thought leader within your industry if that’s what you want to do.”
If you’re new to LinkedIn, where should you begin?
Well, the first thing to know is that it’s never too late to start. And if you’re not already active, there’s no better time than now to begin.
Here are some of Emily’s top pointers for getting started:
- Check your profile: “If you haven’t thought about your profile in five years, you’ll see things that need to be changed. If you just read your about section, it may be talking about things that you cared about five years ago that no longer matter to you.”
- Craft a clear headline: “So many people aren’t saying what they do in their headline. They have these lovely little personal taglines that say that they ‘increase brilliance and opportunity’ or they’re a ‘disruptor and they wanna change the industry’ but they don’t say how they do any of that stuff. Come up with a title.” She reminds us, this isn’t your official resume, so it’s OK to make one up! Get creative.
- Start engaging. Not ready to author an article? That’s OK. Just start browsing and commenting on other people’s posts. Just be a part of conversations that interest you and draw you in.
Already onboard? Here’s how to use LinkedIn to amplify its impact
Already a power LinkedIn user? Emily’s got some great pointers for you too.
- Set strategic goals: Consider what you’re trying to achieve. “Are you looking to build connections with other people in your industry? Or outside of your industry because you want a broader impact or something? Are you looking for speaking opportunities? Think about your goal for LinkedIn and then adjust your title [and profile] accordingly.” Emily explains that VP of Finance may be the title to use if you’re seeking a new job or to build industry connections. But if it’s speaking gigs you’re seeking, you may want something more like Keynote Speaker Delivering Financial Education and Confidence to let people know what you’re striving for.
- Use your hashtags wisely: Research hashtags. Choose some keywords of interest, type them into the search box with a hashtag, and click on the list that pops up for you. “You can see how many followers are following each of those hashtags and then you can play with it from there. So, what I recommend is to change up the title a little bit. The first thing in your headline, it should be a really SEO-friendly kind of title. And you can put the other stuff that makes you unique and the innovator disruptor stuff that can still be in there but don’t put it at the beginning.” Use hashtags in your titles as well as in your posts and comments. The algorithm loves that stuff.
- Use generosity to your advantage: This may sound counterintuitive, but LinkedIn rewards good community members. So, if you’re planning to post your own content and you’re hoping it gets lots of eyeballs, start by commenting on other people’s posts first. “The strategy I use generally,” she says, “is if I have 30 minutes to spend on LinkedIn, I divide that time in half and I say, okay, I’m going to spend 15 minutes commenting on other people’s stuff, I’ll post my post and then I’ll spend 15 more minutes commenting and starting conversations with other people.” Give and receive.
Listen to the full interview at the top of this story or click the podcast player below.