Take a long hard look at your LinkedIn profile… what does it say about your personal brand? Despite being one of the most popular social networking sites around, there are a surprising number of professionals who have a LinkedIn profile just for the sake of having one or who simply treat it as an online CV. But while listing your experience and your achievements may be a key reflection of your past, to use LinkedIn to full effect, you need to focus on your future.
Whether you’ve heard LinkedIn is great for positioning yourself (and consequently your brand) as an industry leader, are looking to connect with like-minded professionals or considering using the platform for recruitment purposes, a half-finished profile simply won’t cut the mustard amongst the discerning professionals that make up this community. Here’s how to optimise your LinkedIn profile to reap the benefits of this powerful social networking tool…
Back to basics
First things first, you need to ensure the basics of your profile are complete – each section of your profile offers an opportunity to make new connections…
Headline: While making your job title and location clear at first glance is essential, be aware that you have around 70-100 characters that can be used to maximise the impact of this part of your profile. A few choice words that clearly sum up what your company stands for could make all the difference when it comes to turning the head of an influential new contact. If it’s not clear what you do at first glance, your headline might well need some work.
Summary: Just below your headline comes the summary section, the part of your profile that needs to engage a new contact. Here, you can expand on what your role entails or what your company does. Keep it relatively short and sweet – this isn’t the place for your life story – and instead of reeling off your CV, choose to mention a couple of relevant past positions and a minimum of three skills.
However, do take care not to come across as too robotic and impersonal in your tone or you’ll have people switching off at the first hurdle. Walk the line between a conversational tone that’s a good match with your industry and succinctly getting to the point – that’s the mark of a great summary. And whatever you do, avoid referring to yourself in the third person. It’s not a good LinkedIn look.
Profile picture: As well as ensuring your tone is appropriate for your industry, that all-important profile picture must be too. For example, a creative might prefer a slightly edgier snap, while a CEO might be better off using a more serious shot to show they mean business. Either way, ensure your picture matches the one you use for your other platforms and that it’s a high-quality, well-lit headshot – preferably at least 200 x 200 pixels, so your audience can see your face and features clearly.
Experience: Finally, use your experience section to round up your past roles and accomplishments. But, while we all love to talk about ourselves, don’t get too bogged down in the detail. Stick to highlights such as job titles, a brief explanation of what your day-to-day work entailed and any noteworthy achievements.
DIY your URL
The default URL you receive when you create a LinkedIn profile is a blend of random letters and numbers. In short, it leaves a lot to be desired from an SEO point of view. So, creating your own personal and customised URL has to come top of your ‘to do’ list. Click on ‘manage public profile’ in settings, and choose ‘customise your public profile URL’. Not only will it be much easier to direct contacts towards your profile, you’ll rank higher in Google too.
Testimonials speak louder than your words
LinkedIn has a nifty section that allows for what they call ‘written recommendations’ from your contacts. Ask a few reputable colleagues or clients to jot down a glowing recommendation for you and you’ll boost the credibility of your profile in a heartbeat. Contacts can also ‘endorse’ you for the skills you allege to possess. This might be super easy – it just takes one click – but the more endorsements you rack up, the greater your chance of appearing in the results when someone searches LinkedIn for your skillset.
Join a few groups
If you want to boost your name in the circles that matter, consider joining a few carefully chosen LinkedIn groups associated with your industry. While many are filled with mind-numbing self-promotion, there are valuable groups out there that encourage discussions and meaningful interactions. You could even consider creating your own – just be sure to place an emphasis on the topic and not on your own brand. If you’re wondering how much you need to contribute to groups, I would say that quality trumps quantity every time. Aim to actively participate in two or three groups on a regular basis as a way to grow those connections over time.
SEO is essential
It may not be the most interesting of topics, but SEO is a crucial consideration when optimising your LinkedIn profile. If you want to get your name out there and make it visible in the search listings, ensure you mention all the relevant keywords you want to be associated with in the different parts of your profile. From your job title and career history, to your summary section and personal interests, spread the right words around and the rankings are more likely to favour you.
Post relevant industry updates
Last but not least, you don’t just want to primp your profile and then leave it to gather dust. Well, not if you want to position yourself as a thought leader anyway. Creating relevant, valuable content and posting it to your feed will help you stay front and centre in the minds of your contacts. Curating and sharing content is a great strategy too, but do ensure you add your own personal opinion to the piece. Aim for a little bit of activity every day to keep your momentum going.
If you’re trying to run your business and juggle your own content marketing, it’s all too likely the idea of optimising and managing your LinkedIn profile on top of all your other responsibilities makes you want to go and lie down in a darkened room. We can help take the headache out of this task by looking after your LinkedIn for you. Contact M2 Bespoke today to find out more about the content marketing services we provide.