Whilst LinkedIn doesn't get the media attention of many of the other faster growing social sites it's been slowly gathering pace since its launch in 2003 and now they have 277 million users.
Most photographers concentrate on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ when it comes to connection with potential new clients but LinkedIn is a powerful and much underestimated tool. Today I'm going to show you how to put your LinkedIn account to use as a photographer!
Choose Your Connections Wisely
The goal for your LinkedIn account shouldn't be to get the largest number of connections. Your goal should be to get the RIGHT connections. LinkedIn simply wasn't designed for people to have thousands of thousands of fans and followers so I recommend taking a much simpler approach and use it purely to connect with past clients, influential people in your local area and clients that you would like to have on your books in the future. If you are looking to connect with someone don't' just simply leave the standard automatic “I'd like to connect with you on LinkedIn.” message in there. Take just 10 seconds to craft a personal message and you are far more likely to get accepted. I deny about 90% of people who just send me the automated message! If you want to connect with me and have access to my circles then you'll need to show me that you really want it and aren't just hitting the connect button for the sake of it.
My connections can view a selection of bright images leading to samples of my writing underneath one of my businesses.
Add Photos And Links To Your Profile
This feature was added a long time ago to LinkedIn but an incredible number of people just don't take advantage of it. To me it's like setting up a Facebook page and not bothering to show an incredible image at the top of the page! In some respects LinkedIn is better though because you can show lots of photos and even direct links to sections or posts on your website! My personal profile uses this setup in a few ways. Under Shutter Muse, my photography education business and website, I have links to past articles so that people can view some of my writing samples. Beneath this I have a collection of images under my other business which is Dan Carr Photography, these are a more typical collection of portfolio images to quickly give people an idea for the type of photography that I often specialize in.
At this point you'll be able to add photos, documents and even presentations, or you can choose to submit a link to a specific web page as I've done in the examples further up the page. You can choose to associate these uploads or links with a specific business or you can have them posted directly beneath your opening biography. Once you have assets uploaded, you can click the edit button on them and re-assign them quickly to other parts of your profile.
It's not perfect because LinkedIn used some odd aspect ratios of their images, and confusingly uses different ones depending on where the images are posted on your profile. Having said that, it's much better than no images at all and when someone clicks on one of the photos they are sent into a popup gallery of all your photos complete with thumbnail navigation so you can actually put 10 or 20 photos up there if you wanted to. I found that it needed a little experimenting to find which images looked best in certain places but once I was done I felt like it completely transformed my profile and gave people a much better reason stick around and learn more about me, my work and my services.
Set Up Your Company Page On LinkedIn
There's a coupe of ways that people can receive content on LinkedIn. One way is to connect with an individual person and the second way is to follow a business. Anyone can follow a business, but a connection must be mutually approved. Perhaps someone doesn't feel that they can connect with you directly but they can follow your business and find out a ton of information from your business page. Having a LinkedIn company page also gives you something to share publicly on your website. I found that sharing a LinkedIn button on my website that lead to my personal LinkedIn profile was giving me too many people asking for connections. Instead you can send people to your business page and they are free to follow that instead. For most people this is far more useful for them anyway as your business page can offer information about your business such as services offered and opening hours.
To set up a company page, follow these instructions HERE
An image of dimensions 646×220 can be used as a header, and smaller logos can be uploaded as well to sit in different places on the page. Of course your header image is key here, many people can probably use the same image they are using on their Facebook business page.
One of my LinkedIn business pages.
Another great thing about LinkedIn company pages is that they recently implemented some great analytic options that will tell you how many people viewed your updates and how many people clicked them as well.
Automate Your Photography Content And Updates To LinkedIn
Photographers are always juggling too many tasks so some of you might be thinking that you just don't have time to deal with yet another network. I personally automate almost everything to do with LinkedIn though and I do it with services that you can use for free. IFTTT (If This Then That) is a free service that lets you connect all your social networks together to automate the posting of content. You can have it share all your Facebook Page posts to LinkedIn or share Instagram photos that are tagged with a specific tag. You can also automate the posting of all of your blog posts to your LinkedIn profile! I never manually post content to LinkedIn, but my content gets shared there from many different outlets. I even take things one step further and share all of this content through a second amazing service called Buffer which queues up the content and posts it at the time when it's most likely to engage with the largest number of people. The end result? Once this is all set up, more people view the content that I create and more people are aware of my photography on a daily basis.
The best thing about LinkedIn is that you aren't competing with so many other people for space on the timeline like you are on Facebook! Very few people use LinkedIn in this way and on top of that I tend to find that it's different people using it as well so your content is reaching a wider audience.
You're not going to gather as many followers for your business as you might do on Facebook, but since you can automate it once it's all set up then it's an instant win for any extra people that see your new work.
Automate Your New Connections
Do you use online accounting software to help run your photo business? Freshbooks? Quickbooks Online? Wouldn't it be awesome if you could automatically send a LinkedIn connection invite to all your new clients? Well you can! Zapier is an incredible service that allows you to interconnect over 200 web-based applications, it's like IFTTT on steroids. I've written about it before in the context of automating a photography business. They just introduced a new feature that allows you to automate the sending of LinkedIn connection requests to people whose name and e-mail address you have. You can connect your invoicing system (I'm using FreshBooks) to LinkedIn through Zapier and then whenever you create a new client in your database it will automatically send them a request to connect on LinkedIn. Awesome right?!
Bonus Tip For Power Users
Ok since you've got to the bottom of this rather long post I'm going to reward you with a special bonus tip. This one requires a little extra work but here's what we are going to do: send an awesome welcome e-mail to all your new connections that shows them examples of your work and introduces them to the services that you offer.
Use a mailing service like Aweber or MailChimp to craft a beautiful template that shows just how amazing your work is and directs people to your portfolio website. When you get a new connection on LinkedIn, look in their profile for their e-mail address then add them to a special group in your mailing list called “LinkedIn connections”. Set up an autoresponder in your mailing system to send your welcome template to tnew subscribers in that group the next morning at 9 am. Perhaps your connection had just heard you are a great photographer, now you get to start the conversation and SHOW them how great your work is!
Time To Take Action
I'm sure that you're sitting there thinking ” hmm this is pretty cool…” Well there's no time to start like the present! I want you to jump onto LinkedIn right now and at least start adding some photos to your profile page. Then schedule some time for yourself next week to set up a company page and then link it to your profile and set up some automated content connections with IFTTT. All of this can be done in under 30 minutes!
Like what you read?