Hi, I’m Andrea Urquhart. Welcome to The Specialist Studio, my bespoke business mentoring space for professional coaches growing their coaching or mentoring consultancy. Today we’re digging into LinkedIn and talking about the importance of leveraging your presence there.


Why LinkedIn should be number 1 on your list

I bet people who are trying to help you grow your business have told you to use LinkedIn.

Maybe you’ve already got a profile but you’re one of the LinkedIn “ghosts” who don’t post or interact, popping on now and again only to shy away with a feeling of overwhelm at the relentless tide of posts, opinions and confidence that float along on the mysterious Microsoft algorithm of the site.

Perhaps you pop on regularly and interact with content but feel unsure about posting. Or maybe you tried posting something and didn’t get much reaction, if any. You can see others are using it confidently, but you just don’t “get” it.

The truth is, if you’re building a coaching consultancy business, you need to learn how to leverage LinkedIn. Conquer that fear, demystify how it works and start dipping your toe in the water until you’re confident to ride the networking tides it offers you.

With over 760million users, LinkedIn is a big player for professional, social networking. More than 260million of those are active each month. And it’s not a stuffy site either. Increasingly, college students are joining. 40% of the monthly active users access the site daily. 38% of users are millennials, many in executive positions. But for a newbie user, the site can feel overwhelming.

According to Hubspot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for generating leads. Leads are potential, “warm” clients who are interested in what you do and working with you. And you need them. But LinkedIn doesn’t just help generate leads; it’s a networking site. Arguably the most important aspect of the site is that it will help you connect with a whole array of people who will cheer you on, offer advice, show friendship and become colleagues or collaborators. Ditching the loneliness of solopreneurship is one of the most important things you can do. You’ll be surprised how you can grow friendship and trust with colleagues and clients all over your nation and the world, simply from digging in to LinkedIn and finding your way there.

There is so much to say about LinkedIn – particularly its search capabilities and how you can really “work” it. For now, as a newcomer or returner, you need to get established there, so here are 5 key actions that will help you do that.


1) Take time to update your LinkedIn profile.

Your profile should never look like a C.V. It needs a high-quality banner image (head to Canva to D.I.Y it or connect with me for recommendations of experts who can help you). Don’t leave that banner blank – it screams newbie or a lack of confidence. Some people update and change their banner regularly, using it to share their latest offers. Whatever you decide to do initially, keep it simple. If you use your own images, make sure they are high quality and clear.

Similarly, your profile picture should be a high quality professional looking picture. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be stuffy. Far from it. A head shot with an approachable smile and clothing that you’d head to work in, not the beach. Don’t be tempted to hide behind an image of your logo. LinkedIn is about connection and the power of commenting is huge on the site. People want to see who is commenting and are much more likely to accept connection requests from you if have a picture of you on your profile.

If you have professional titles or academic qualifications that you want people to notice, you can add these onto your name. Simply add them after your surname in that box. Again, that’s purely up to you. There is no right or wrong in that.

Your headline should be carefully crafted to explain exactly who you help and what outcome they get. You’ll notice many people use “I help….”. Personally, I advise all my clients to avoid the verb help. Be creative here. Help is very generic and doesn’t immediately tell people anything. This is where being specific on your niche is important. For more on this, checkout my blog on niching. Once you’re sorted on your niche, get back to your LinkedIn profile and use clear and powerful language to explain what you do. Try I coach, I empower, I enable, I transform, I support…. Then say who you work with and how you create a transformation for them. For example I could say: I empower professionals and academics to grow their thriving coaching consultancy.   Don’t make your headline too complicated. There’s time to work on that later, once you’re really clear on exactly who your ideal clients are. And I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll need to do more work on refining exactly who you want as your clients. For tips on how to do this, check out my article on defining your ideal therapy or coaching client avatar

Then you have your About Me section. Use short paragraphs. Say a little more about you – don’t give your whole c.v. history. Include some bullet points about the results you get with clients. List your services. And don’t forget to invite your reader to connect with you. Tell them how.

When you write the About Me section and your headline, you need to use some searchable keywords within your text and headlines to help other people on the site find you when they are searching for coaches. The obvious ones are the type of coach you are and the people you want to work with. For example, a health coach working with women on their eating will want to incorporate words like: health, coach, diet, anti-diet, women’s coach, lifestyle, body image. If they’ve had CBT, RTT or NLP training, then mentioning those is important too.

If you have a website, you can use the Features section to add a link to your website. This will show at the bottom of your profile for people wanting to know more about you.

Working on your LinkedIn profile is something that you should revisit regularly, especially when you are starting up. You’ll become more confident over time about how you share what you do. You’ll also get more clarity. Most coaches starting their business are on a journey, and where you’re at now is not where you’ll be in 6 months’ time, so it makes sense to keep checking back in on your profile.

Your profile is key because it’s your shop window. It’s the place that people will usually check out before they connect with you. It’s the place people will revisit when they like one of your posts or interactions and want to know more about you. It’s the place that the LinkedIn search engine takes people to when they search characteristics mentioned in your profile: your location, your industry, the keywords you’ve included in your profile.

2) Take the plunge and reach out to connect with people on LinkedIn

Let’s clarify what we mean by connection and network. When you connect with someone on LinkedIn, they become one of your connections. That means they are a 1st connection. You have both agreed to connect. This is called becoming part of each others’ networks. I have a network of connections. You create your network of connections. When you and I connect as 1st connections, you see my network of connections as 2nd connections. Any of my 1st connections who aren’t also your 1st connections may still be visible in your post feed if I comment on or react to one of their posts. You’ll see their post and my interaction with it, and you’ll be able to interact with their post too. If you want to become a 1st connection of that person, then you go to their profile and send a connection request.

Little is really known about the LinkedIn algorithms, most of what you hear is conjecture, but it does seem to have a waterline of 500 connections before the algorithm begins to favour what you post. This means that many newbies feel like they are posting into a void and wonder what all the fuss about Linked In is about. Rest assured, the more connections you add, the more people potentially see your posts.

Once you’ve sorted out your profile, your primary 2 activities are reaching out to connect with people and commenting on the posts of people you have connected with.

There are different schools of thought about how you should connect on Linked In. The platform itself advises that you only connect with people you know or have met, or who you have a connection in common with. They advise that you send a personal note or message with the connection request.

Connection requests should be simple and respectful. Adding something personal and encouraging about the person’s profile or a post you’ve seen can also help. Don’t dive straight in with advice. Don’t try to connect with a sales pitch. This puts most people’s back up straight away. Although you’ll experience many people doing that to you, those people are unlikely to be posting regularly or looking for authentic connection. They are simply playing a numbers game, firing off sales posts until someone responds. Simply ignore them.

The most important thing to say about connection requests is treat others in the way you like to be connected with. It can be as simple as: Please add me to your network. It can be a little longer with something personal: I saw your post on xxx today. That really resonates with me. I’m new to LinkedIn and would love to be added to your network.

After all, once you are connected, then you’ll see more of that person’s posts. And that is what LinkedIn is created for: building networks and connecting with people you want to be connected with.

The second school of thought about connecting is to use the My Network section and look through suggested connections and simply click connect or check their profiles then click connect. You can influence the recommended connections by using the search bar to find specific people through job role, industry or location.

The suggestions in My Network are usually 2nd connections, so you have one or more connections already in common. Despite LinkedIn creating this capability, on the record, they advise people to still write a note to that person when connecting. However, many users, myself included don’t always do that. Personally, I find that I have just the same amount of people accept my request whether I add a note or not. I think the success here is about ensuring your profile is clear and carefully checking who you are requesting connection with to see if you have similar interests or connections in common.

Initially, try a combination of both ways of connecting. Many people accept all requests, others are very picky. That’s up to them, there’s no right or wrong here.

Not everyone who successfully uses LinkedIn posts content. There are many people who simply work off their profile and in the private messaging function. This can be sales or networking driven. Generally, coaches who simply post but don’t pay attention to networking, either via messages, commenting on posts or attending networking groups, will find it harder to generate leads.

Remember that until someone is your connection, they are most likely a stranger to you. Don’t let this scare you. Instead, let it give you courage. You have nothing to lose by reaching out to them with a connection request. If they ignore it, you lose nothing; you simply move on to discover people who are open to connecting with you. And that’s what you’re looking for; people who want to get to know you.

Put aside some regular time to increase you network and fire off those connection requests in whatever way you feel most comfortable with.

3) The LinkedIn currency is interaction

You may have heard people refer to LinkedIn as a gold mine. I certainly have heard this a few times from people who have taken the time to successfully build their personal brand there or to quietly get on with networking successfully on the platform. Whether or not it helps you to think of using it as mining, one thing is clear: the undisputed currency of Linked In is interaction.

Interaction comes in many forms. It can be in the privacy of messaging. It can be publicly on posts in the form of insightful or encouraging comments. The algorithms show posts you’ve commented on to your wider network. So if you create a post, you want to add a call to action or question at the end that encourages interaction from your network. The more regularly people interact on your posts, the more regularly they will see your new ones.

If you don’t like posting, but you cultivate your courage with private messaging, that is where Linked In becomes the most satisfying. Bringing people off the platform onto a live call with you or into a networking group, either as a potential client or collaborator, is the aim of focusing on messaging. And remember, many people simply browse the posts on LinkedIn but will respond to a genuine offer to get to know each other. You never know who that person is connected to, and even if they are not your ideal client, they may well know someone who is, or be able to recommend you connect with someone who can support you in your business.

I always recommend considering your intention before you log on to LinkedIn each time. Are you there to comment on your network’s posts today? Are you there to look for new connections? Are you there to post yourself? Are you there to check in on connections you already have and to see how they are? This can help lower the overwhelm as you take control of your activity and see the fruit of it.

4) Visibility and posting on LinkedIn

Only around 20% of your network are likely to see your posts. If that. People log on at different times. People log on for different reasons. Remember that it takes time to build a great network and don’t beat yourself up if your post hasn’t got the traction you hoped for.

Even when you have well over that initial 500 connections, not everyone in your network will see your posts. So don’t be shy about repeating topics or posts about events you’re planning. It can be discouraging to take your time curating a heartfelt post and then barely anyone views or interacts with it. Don’t despair. Simply copy your text and repost next day or in a few days. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that no-one is interested. It’s not true. They simply haven’t see what you’ve posted.

There are varying views about how often to post. Again, Microsoft are tightlipped about their algorithms, so no-one really knows what works bests. Some people fire off several posts a day with the rationale that the more you post, the more likely your network are to see something. Others post just once a week but make it a high value post with a video or article. And still others are somewhere in between.

You simply need to try what works for you. There are all sorts of tips that fly around about how to get more engagement, but at the end of the day, when these are fact checked, they don’t always work. It doesn’t seem to matter if you put a link in the text or the comments, or if you comment on your own post first – although you’ll find people who swear that it does.

The one truth that we know does affect how your posts are received is your interaction on other people’s posts. If you give to others through interaction, you will gain support and visibility too.

5) Strategic consistency on LinkedIn brings the most gains

There is so much more to say about LinkedIn and so many tools within it for searching, networking, recruiting and sales. Premium accounts open up more of these features, but you don’t need a premium account initially to begin to grow your busines, find great connections and win clients. Save you money for now and learn how to consistently use the many free aspects of the platform to find clients, front your busines and connect with collaborators.

Remember too that just like on other social media platforms, all that glitters isn’t necessarily solid! Whilst LinkedIn has a reputation for higher credibility in posts than other platforms, you will still find that people generally create their profile and their posts to give the impression that they are busy and flourishing. You never know when you connect with someone where they are at. They might have a lousy profile but be hugely successful. They may have a shiny profile but no clients. There are also users who are very active with high visibility who don’t actually have a clear business strategy or clients. It’s possible to spend hours on LinkedIn, join networking meetings, get to know lots of people and still not have done any business yourself there that brings you clients or progress in your business.

This is where strategy and consistency are important. Consistently:

Check in with how you are using the platform.

Show up by commenting on your network’s posts.

Post – whether daily, occasionally or weekly.

Expand your network and consistently invite people to connect on live calls with you.

Consistency brings strategy to life. That’s what builds momentum.

If you’d like to know more about how you can grow a flourishing coaching consultancy, get in touch with me today. I work with professionals transitioning from corporate and academia to grow their own specialist coaching consultancy. You can work with me on my signature programme 1:1 or in groups of up to 6 coaches. I also offer monthly mentoring options. Typically, my clients gain clients whilst still completing the programme along with gaining clarity, confidence and a big satisfied smile on their face!

Book a Discovery Call with me here: https://live.vcita.com/site/strengthen

hello@thespecialiststudio.com        www.thespecialiststudio.com 

Andrea Urquhart

Andrea Urquhart

Business Mentor & Coach for Specialist Coaches

Andrea is a full member of the Association of Business Mentors. With professional experience as a teacher and Positive Psychology Coach, she enables mature new coaches transitioning from academia or corporate backgrounds to establish and grow a flourishing coaching consultancy. 

She’s known for her ability to enable her clients to gain clarity, confidence and clients; growing momentum in their business. 

Andrea is based in West Sussex, UK and works primarily online with clients. Her signature programme, Kickstart Your Coaching Consultancy is 10weeks long and available in small groups or 1:1 options.