Is your LinkedIn profile at 100% yet? I know mine isn’t. I’m chipping away at it, getting a little done every couple of weeks. But just the other day I realized this isn’t enough. One of my goals as an independent professional is to use LinkedIn to its full potential and drive people to my profile and my business page. Why? Because online marketing is key to building my reputation, attracting leads to my business and generating ideas and discussions with like-minded professionals.
This week we have a guest blogpost by LinkedIn specialist, Anita Windisman. She provides us with five ways we can improve our LinkedIn profile.
With over 161 million members in over 200 countries LinkedIn is the largest site for business professionals. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, this is the site where you connect directly with people you know, and can research the prospects you want to get to know. Consider it an online Rolodex that is always kept up to date. One of the best ways for consultants, freelancers and independent business professionals to build their professional brand online is through an effective profile on LinkedIn.
Here are 5 tips to help you optimize your own LinkedIn profile to make it captivating and informative in order to be found by your target audience – known as inbound lead generation.
1. Write a Descriptive Headline
Your headline is the sentence that appears just below your name. Rather than just stating your title and company, make it a short descriptive phrase that provides a snapshot of the product or service and the benefit you provide. You only have 120 characters to work with, so make every word count. For example: Certified Management Consultant, Award-winning writer, helps people with expertise to be recognized as thought-leaders.
2. Upload a Professional Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words. LinkedIn statistics prove that a profile with a photo is seven times more likely to be viewed than one that without a photo. Make sure you upload a professional image of yourself, preferably in colour and against a light or neutral background. It’s best if you wear professional attire. Crop your photo to show your head and shoulders – and leave your kids, spouse and pets out of the shot! A friendly photo of yourself will draw people into you.
3. Tell Your Story Under the “Summary”
The “summary” section is the place where you can shine and “tell your story”. Are you passionate about your business and the work you do? Do you have a particular expertise? Definitely state it here to show how you are unique. Also ensure that you briefly summarize your experience here incorporating key words that relate to your business. For this section, write in full sentences in the “first” person, using the word “I”. With 2,000 characters as your limit, 3 to 4 short paragraphs will be enough.
4. Add Specialties and Skills
There are two places in your profile where you can list your expertise. One is in the “specialties” section below your summary and the other is under “skills” – where you can add up to 50 of them. Make sure you pay extra attention to skills, because this is one of the ways in which you will be found when someone conducts a search using key words on LinkedIn. Get specific, using descriptive terms such as: technical writing, content marketing or crisis communication.
5. Get Recommendations
Nothing beats a word of mouth referral. This is the place where you can ask your satisfied clients to provide a short testimonial for you. About 4-5 sentences is all that is needed in order for your happy customers to provide information on how they know you, the work you provided and why you excelled.
Commit to spending 10 minutes on LinkedIn every day as part of your morning routine, and soon you will see LinkedIn working for you!
Anita Windisman is the President of One of a Kind Marketing where the philosophy is building business relationships one at a time through social media. The company specializes in providing LinkedIn training for sales teams and business professionals. The next LinkedIn workshop for small business owners is June 19 or sign up to get LinkedIn tips.