How to make the most of LinkedIn Services when self-employed
Last month we looked at ways to make the most of your LinkedIn profile as a contractor, giving you tips on completing your profile, choosing the right photos, how to make connections, what and when to post, how to ask for recommendations and lots, lots more. However, one thing we didn’t touch upon was LinkedIn Services, a fairly new offering from the professional social network.
As it happens though, there’s so much to say about LinkedIn Services we thought it best to write a whole separate article on it – especially as it can be of such great use to the self-employed. In fact, if you’re a limited company contractor, we’d say it should be your top self-marketing priority to have a page on there. Here’s why…
What is LinkedIn Services?
LinkedIn Services is a marketplace for self-employed professionals. It’s a space on LinkedIn where you can set up a “service” page for your business, which is then connected to your personal LinkedIn profile so that you can still take advantage of recommendations and credentials you’ve earned.
Any member can have a service page and it’s completely free, rather than being a Premium feature. Once created, your service page will display:
- A list of services you can provide for a potential client
- Connections that you share
- Ratings and reviews from previous clients
The page will be searchable from LinkedIn and allows interested clients to pitch projects to you using the “request a proposal” feature. This allows a client to outline their project and ask a contractor to put forth a proposal. Clients can either use LinkedIn’s filters to request trusted providers only, or they can manually search through service pages to find contractors who will be a good fit. It also makes brilliant use of LinkedIn’s networking capabilities and recommendations.
A great addition would be to allow contractors to search for opportunities, but at present that’s not a feature the service offers. So, the most proactive thing contractors can do is set up their service page in a way that really lets them stand out and give them the best chance of being invited to submit proposals for projects.
How you can showcase your contractor business on LinkedIn Services
It’s actually very simple and intuitive to set up your LinkedIn Service page. Head on over to LinkedIn, make sure you’re logged in and pop over to your profile page. At the top, just under your name and location, you’ll see an “Open to” button. Click it and select “Providing services”, which is where the fun begins.
- First of all, select your services. You can add up to 10 but you don’t need to use all 10 slots. The more services you add, the more searches you will appear in – but arbitrarily adding services that are ‘close’ to what you offer may leave you looking as if you promise more than you can deliver. Offering a smaller number of services will show you to be a specialist
- You then have 500 characters for an “About” blurb. Here you can give some examples of experience and elaborate on your skills and services. As it’s a short blurb, be sure to keep it focused
- Next, you can select your work location. Is it just based on where you live or can you work remotely?
- Finally, you can choose whether to allow non-contacts to message you for free. If you turn this off, it would limit your potential clients to just those who are already in your network
What else should LinkedIn Service contractors consider?
One of the biggest things to consider is your network. The wider your network, the better LinkedIn Services will work. But be selective about who you add. The most useful contacts to have for LinkedIn Services include old and new clients, previous colleagues and managers, and fellow contractors in your field who you’ve collaborated with in the past. This is because the algorithms depends on contacts-in-common to decide who to put you in front of. Recommendations are also really useful here too.
The other thing to consider is that LinkedIn Service isn’t a recruitment platform that handles invoicing and payment for you. These will be done independently in the usual way so you will need to make sure you have your contracts in place and that your client provides you with an IR35 Status Determination Statement. In short, make sure all of your usual checks and balances are in place as LinkedIn Service is just a place to showcase your skills rather than a full-service recruitment platform.
LinkedIn Service is a great marketing tool to add to your arsenal as a contractor. It’s free and it takes advantage of your existing profile and network, making it incredibly easy to set up and requiring very little maintenance from you as the contractor. That’s definitely a win.