The Evolution of LinkedIn: What Entrepreneurs Need to Now Know

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There is a popular idiom, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Well, this does not necessarily hold true depending on the concept, content, and context. Many times, we miss out on valuable connections and key opportunities that could affect our sphere of influence and impact our bottom line. Recently, I had a conversation with Tajuana Ross, LinkedIn Coach and CEO of Get Over Yourself Career and Life Coaching, Inc. Over the past few years, she has gained specialized subject matter expertise and insightful knowledge that she strongly believes that the majority of African American entrepreneurs most likely are not aware of.

LinkedIn dominates any other platform when it comes to lead conversion. It is the primary place where people go to vet someone’s credentials. Depending on which side of the pendulum you’re on, it can become sales prevention or sales enablement. Since, it is the only platform designed for business, conversations are much more productive and buying decisions can be made easier. It is still true that your network is your net worth, so LinkedIn should be non-negotiable.

“The platform is so vast, having a brand that stands out there is critical to build quality business relationships.”

In earlier years, LinkedIn was dubbed a place to only find jobs or for recruiters to look for talent. But since we’re in a gig economy and there has been a mass exodus from corporate America, the platform has evolved to be a huge branding tool. And with all of the competition, business owners are really forced to step up their game and go beyond using it as simply an online resume’. Successful brands are the ones on the platform who are using more effective engagement strategies, that keep them in front of their audience utilizing LinkedIn’s newest features. For instance, entrepreneurs are doing live broadcasting, and using their stories powerfully. As a result, their brands are prominently placed and positioned to be top of mind and frequently sought after.

While it’s true that the majority of African Americans are aware of the platform but not necessarily the power that can be produced and leveraged from it. According to Tajuana, LinkedIn is not sexy and generally not the topic of conversation when it comes to social media “happenings.” In fact, some consider it to be rather intimidating and daunting. You rarely see your favorite influencers raving about their presence on LinkedIn like other popular platforms namely Facebook and Instagram.

Ross has witnessed this platform transform her clients from minimally making it to negotiating multimillion-dollar contracts. Those who were uncertain to what their brand was became totally empowered by the response and engagement they saw from all over the world. So many gained the confidence to leave their jobs and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Personally, she has built strategic relationships that allow her to grow and thrive in her business. Her passion about educating and bringing awareness to minorities is due to the power of the platform in her own life.

“My mission is to change the business owner perceptions about the platform in hopes that they are able to build the kinds of relationships that I have.”

Ross shares up-to-date strategies on how to build an effective profile. The profile is a long piece of content covering a lot of real estate. This P.O.W.E.R. model when applied really helps entrepreneurs strategically position brands for greater insight, influence and impact.

P – Purposeful Content That Matters:

This gives a clear understanding of your profile of what your brand is all about—it’s your brand story. You are not giving “fluff” or regurgitated bullet points but real content that allows us to lean in and want to connect and engage with you.

O – Opposite of One’s Resume’:

With the exception of some, typically a resume’ is not inviting, not something that people like to read or seek out to gather information about you. So rather than having a resume’ approach, your profile content should be written in the first person, so that you’re having an actual conversation. Mixing it up in how you present yourself can be vital.

W – What Problems Do You Solve:

This is where you’re giving the audience a clear understanding of what makes you different and how to distinguish yourself in the marketplace. But most importantly, identifying where your value comes from and why they need you. It’s your value that validates what problems you solve.

E – Energy We Get From You In Real Life:

I encourage people to be as unfiltered as possible on your LinkedIn profile because we should be able to gain insight to what your brand is all about. We should have the same response here as we would have anywhere else such as virtually or face-to-face. It’s the energy that you always carry with you, that language that you always use, and the fingerprint that makes us always recognize your brand.

R – Results That Are Measurable:

People are all about results. They want to know what you have done and what are the real end results that follow. It’s about actual, tangible results that can be measured in terms of what it is that you bring to the table.

“When someone makes their story come alive, and they show up authentically with results in tow—they have power and we pay attention to those who have power!”

Photo Courtesy: Victor Powell

No matter where someone is with their experience or journey with LinkedIn, she strongly recommends investing in the premium service. For serious entrepreneurs, LinkedIn has trained profile viewers to look for that premium logo that is attached to your name. Since it’s the platform where people vet you and make a buying decision, when they don’t see that premium logo, they immediately make judgment about your brand which may not be favorable or even true. The biggest assumption that viewers will make is that if you’re not investing in your brand, why should they? It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or veteran on the platform, the premium account validates that you are a serious business person that always has skin in the game. Ready. Set. Go!

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