Mark Amtower


5 LinkedIn must-dos for govcon professionals

At this point most people have figured out two things about LinkedIn: first, you have to be here; second, it is not a “hard sell” platform, it is a “social sell” platform. OK, well maybe not as many people have learned No. 2, but with more than 1.5 million feds on LinkedIn, there are few who fail to see the value on being on LinkedIn.

For those still a little confused, social selling is more about positioning your company as a preferred source and your key talent as experts. These help develop the credentials for being a preferred vendor. LinkedIn is a marketing tool, not a sales tool. Social selling is getting on the radar of the prospect before you make a direct approach, turning a cold call into a warm call.

What can and should you do to stand out and become that preferred source, getting on the radar of those you want to do business with?

As a LinkedIn company coach and perpetual student of the platform, these are five things I recommend you need to be doing on a regular basis.

First, make certain your subject matter experts and other key personnel have profiles that provide all the information necessary to convince buyers and influencers of their legitimate positions in the market. Regardless of where they speak or publish, their profiles have to create a strong impression. LinkedIn profiles are one of the top sources for vetting those in our market.

A mediocre profile does not create new opportunities or allow you to exploit current opportunities. There are several key elements to the profile, but the top three are the photo, the headline and your summary. Use a professional headshot with a smile, create a headline that emphasizes the main skill, and write a summary that addresses what you and your company do in the government contracting arena.

Be specific and be clear.

Second, monitor the activity of your competitors and key subject matter experts in the market. You can do so anonymously by adjusting the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” in the Privacy and Settings mode. This will allow you to view profiles and see what people are up to. You want to monitor key competitors and learn from the subject matter experts.

The third task is monitoring the groups you belong to on a regular basis. You can do this by scanning the group emails that come out on a daily basis. Review recent posts and comment when you have something to add. Being active in the groups will raise your visibility, and being active in a positive manner can raise your credibility. I am assuming that you belong to groups germane to your work and your company.

The fourth area is monitoring “Who viewed my profile.” In 2014 this was the most popular feature on LinkedIn, and justifiably so.  Let’s say you have 49 profile visitors a week, an average of seven per day. About 50 percent of those will be first degree connections, but that leaves about 25 people who viewed you for some reason. I have been able to use this to reach out to and connect with some very interesting and influential people, including people in companies I would like to work with.

The fifth activity is your connection requests. When you receive requests to connect, always vet the individual before connecting. Often those who don’t look like a solid fit turn into good connections, not always, but often enough. If they look peripheral, ask for clarification before saying no.

The same is true when you are reaching out to connect. Make sure you are reaching out to the right person, then offer a context for the outreach. Don’t simply use the LinkedIn form letter.

Five simple activities done on a regular basis can make LinkedIn pay more dividends for you.

Amtower is presenting the final 2015 session of LinkedIn for GovCon Oct. 7 in Columbia, Md.

About the Author

Mark Amtower advises government contractors on all facets of business-to-government (B2G) marketing and leveraging LinkedIn. Find Mark on LinkedIn at

Reader Comments

Fri, Sep 25, 2015 Amtower

First, no I don't get paid for/by LinkedIn. I write about it and teach it because it is among the most useful tools available. David - not only are you right on target, you are among many who have found -or have been found- for new positions from rival firms. Several experienced ECS III and SEWP IV program managers were offered positions at winners of CIO-CS and SEWP V.

Mon, Sep 21, 2015 David

Your Sept. 15 comment is spot on. I easily have concluded I would rather be very visible rather than anonymous and just accepted a major offer allowing me to skip at least two levels to join the largest competitor of my firm. They had other info on me, including some very surprising info from other social media that seems like spoofing, but they had a major handle on me from LinkedIn. I could play the LinkedIn game all day--and never get my work done, so I better get back to it. Thanks.

Wed, Sep 16, 2015

Do u get paid to proselytize for LinkedIn?

Tue, Sep 15, 2015 Amtower

First, how long ago was that and have you heard the same comments recently? If you are at a certain level in the company hierarchy, headhunters will always be reaching out. In the Privacy and Settings, you can turn off your update broadcasts- so any when you change anything on your profile. Visibility comes with both upsides and potential downsides. The alternative is anonymity. Hope this helps.

Tue, Sep 15, 2015 David

Question. When I first posted detailed info a few years ago, the first thing that happened was that headhunters and recruiters deluged me. The second thing was that mgrs. and execs. in my com pay asked me why I was looking for a job. Even later, clients asked me was I planning to leave (because of the LinkedIn posting). How would you address these downsides??

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