LinkedIn was created as a home for millions of professionals across the world to professionally hang out, connect and network. It went public in 2011 and already its stats are pretty amazing, it has become the defacto “go-to” platform for recruiting & job-seeking, business networking & prospecting, client selling & lead generating, and authority marketing & expert positioning.
Another interesting fact to note; By the time you’ve finished reading this post, at least, 120 new members have joined LinkedIn looking to make use of the platform’s rich resources, business and partnership opportunities, increasing the number of professionals you have to compete with for attention from all over the globe.
The difference between a professional who uses LinkedIn to build and grow their business to achieve explosive success and another whose business hasn’t gained any traction since opening up an account on LinkedIn lies in how their profiles are set up. The effort that you put forth into your LinkedIn profile makes all the difference. It’s the difference from garnering only a few views to receiving an increasing number of daily views, and having a profile that’s capable of converting those “views” into genuine opportunities and meaningful relationships.
The fact that LinkedIn has over 1 billion searches per day for companies and names makes it your perfect opportunity to expand your professional network, build your business reputation and help businesses and connections know what you do and who you are and how you can help. Simply put, your success on LinkedIn is heavily-tied to having a compelling profile. In this article we’ll walk through various ways, you can optimize your LinkedIn profile and attract more recognition to you, your business, and/or your products/services. .
From an official LinkedIn statistic, adding a Photo results in 14X more views than someone without one. For those scouting out your business, your profile is your digital welcome and introduction, and it is well-documented that people prefer to do business with a face; give them a face to relate to your brand. While adding a photo increases your profile views, there are a few “profile photo rules” that you should follow to further build your profile’s authority.
Your photo should be:
• The best of you (preferably the smiling you),
• Reflect your business (while a polo and or a throw-over jacket aren’t necessarily bad, if you are a Law practitioner looking to make relevant connections in your field, a profile picture with a corporate suit might do you greater good).
The connection a photo provides (the right photo, welcoming eyes, smiling and a warm reception) goes a long way in convincing people to do connect and do business with you.
Your headline works in the same way as the headline of a news story on the web or in the newspapers. Most people, today, wouldn’t spend time reading a headline that was dull, lacked attention-grabbing detail or failed to create curiosity which is why it’s so important to get your LinkedIn headline right. When composing your headline, make sure it is a reflection of who you are, what you do and most important of all, make it relevant to your field and target market.
The goal is to get your viewers’ attention and make them curious enough to want to read more about you. Avoid tacky sales lines and focus more on getting them interested enough to want to investigate what you’re all about.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile will indeed lead to getting ranked higher in LinkedIn. It’s really no different then how you would optimize the foundations of your website before starting an aggressive marketing campaign. Ensure that you include keywords so you will be found in searches. Search the keywords or key phrases used within your field to find someone like you. For this to work, you have to put on your recruiter’s hat and think how would I find myself, easily. Nice tool you can use for this exercise is to create a word cloud of your resume or profile and see what words stand out the most.
To rank higher in search results when your target market searches for your product and services, there are five key areas in your profile where you need to insert your keywords.
a) Title, Current & Previous Experiences
c) Website URL
d) Skills & Endorsements
e) Work Experiences
This is the most significant section of your profile. Once you have succeeded in capturing the attention of prospective clients with your headline and picture, this is the section they’ll naturally read next to decide if whether or not you’re the right fit, someone they would want to be associated with, or if can you solve their problem. You will find hundreds of different opinions on what is regarded as a good summary; however, the guidelines below have been tried and tested with several of our client’s LinkedIn profiles and have continued to perform well.
LinkedIn has morphed into becoming a powerful tool, but people still continue to buy into people and businesses that they like and trust. If you fail to establish this early on, no one is going to care about your personal brand and the product or service you offer.
The best way to establish trust is to share your business journey to date; everyone likes a good story. (Try to be authentic here, and don’t write some over-the-top hero story)
Now there are three major stages to cover in this regard:
Past: Begin by sharing how you got into business
Present: Talk about your journey to where you are now
Future: And round it up by saying what you are currently working on and what the future has in store.
Ensure that within each of these sections; you find a way to weave in as many career milestones, achievements, awards, and endorsements, etc.. You can even include the failure you experienced, as it adds a human element to your profile; however, make it clear that you learned a lesson from it.
Skills & Endorsements
LinkedIn launched the Endorsement feature in 2012 where users can endorse their connections for skills they have listed in the Skill section of their profile and recommend one they have not yet listed. These endorsements show up on your profile in the Skills & Expertise section.
Lots of people make the mistake in selecting all the 50 skills that LinkedIn allows. This is not encouraged or endorsed as good practice. Listing too many skills leaves you looking like a generalist, and people generally want to work with a specialist, an Expert, and/or an Authority. We recommend selecting 4-6 skills as a good number to start wtih. Most importantly, ensure that the skills you list are relevant to solving your client’s problems, relevant to your field and creates you a unique difference in the market.
Finally, this is an area most people totally ignore. Although LinkedIn orders the section of your profile automatically, you still have the option to reorder the sections in any way you prefer. Like the summary section of your profile, there are various theories on the layout pattern. Over the past few years, we have tested lots of different ways to structure a LinkedIn profile in a bid to reach optimum flow and consistency. From our experiences, the structure below is by far the best, as it offers the most engaging and compelling layout:
ii) Skills & Endorsements
v) Honors and awards
vii) Additional Info
To do rearrange your layout, go to edit mode, and hover your mouse pointer over the double-sided arrow beside the Edit link for each section. The pointer will turn into a four-arrowed icon, from here; you can click, drag and drop to your desired position on your profile.
These aforementioned steps, when followed, can help create a LinkedIn Profile that’s powerful, engaging, and performs extremely well in luring prospects, building your brand awareness, and generating profitable connections.
Luma Spark – Our mission is to tell stories that people remember—Personal Branding, Expert Positioning & Authority Marketing