The Complete Guide to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Go for maximum visibility, then make sure what people see looks nice
Don’t think of LinkedIn as a resume, instead, think of it as an inbound marketing tool where you can create your own future and tell your story. LinkedIn is being used by companies in more ways than you can imagine, including social recruiting, public relations, community-building, social selling, social media marketing (including social advertising), and employee advocacy.
It’s vital that you too not only have a presence but are engaged with your consumers, with your clients, and with your tribe.
LinkedIn can give you exposure and access to important people. It can also help you attract new prospects, keep in front of existing clients, spark marketing or business partnership possibilities, generate more introductions and referrals, provide invitations to speak at events or conferences, uncover media or press inquiries, and much more.
This is a very brief look at what a LinkedIn optimized profile can do for you and your business. With more than 610 million members in over 200 countries, LinkedIn is a way to build your professional identity, discover professional opportunities, business deals, and new ventures.
LinkedIn is a great platform to build awareness and allow your customers an insight into the humans behind the brand. A profile allows people to know what your value proposition is, what kind of value you bring to the table, and how to get into touch with you next.
Visibility and Search
The main reason to complete your profile is to ensure that you’ll appear in LinkedIn search results. Another way is to create regular engaging content that showcases your expertise and allows potential customers to get to know you.
Your content needs to be meaningful and add value to your customer. Unlike Facebook and Twitter where your profiles are based on the content you share, LinkedIn is focused on growing your professional network, building your personal brand, and increasing your industry knowledge. By commenting on other people’s posts, you also showcase your expertise and increase your visibility within the algorithm on the platform.
An incomplete Profile will push you down the LinkedIn search rankings. That’s a problem when it comes to being indexed on the internet. There are 63,000 searches per second every day on Google. Up to 92% of people only look at the first page of search results.
LinkedIn has seen huge growth over the past few years and while it used to be the place you ‘put’ your CV and looked for a job, today the platform is the place to be to share ideas, network locally and globally, develop your own brand and benefit from the opportunities it is driving, both personally and professionally.
Optimizing your profile is essential to maximize all those benefits.
Fast Guide to Optimization
Clients are more likely to find you when you change these (privacy) settings. It’s a smart and simple marketing tactic that takes the LinkedIn provided URL and makes it yours. Put it to good use by adding it anywhere it will get clicks (email signature, blog, other social media platforms, etc.).
Click on: Customize Your LinkedIn URL and Make your Profile Public, to change it straight away.
Everybody starts with the same LinkedIn blue banner background. There’s nothing that screams laziness and lack of confidence than the blue banner. It’s a great idea to update this to represent your professional image. We would recommend you use a company image, e.g. the banner used on the landing page of your website.
Bonus strategy: Aim to keep your profile image and banner consistent across multiple platforms to ensure instant recognition.
I would recommend slogans to drive business, such as “Providing healthy food for healthy pets.” This kind of headline grabs attention and builds profile traffic. The first thing people often mention is the headline. Stand out — be more than just your profession!
Extremely important: It’s not just your headline, it’s also your calling card. When you’re active on LinkedIn, commenting on a post or listed on it as a group member or in a search result, there are only 3 identifiers that people see, photo, name, and headline.
Remember, people do business with people, not logos or blank silhouettes. This signals a lack of credibility to potential clients and a lack of care about your business. Just like in real life, it’s important to make a good first impression and the digital world is no exception. Just having a photo results in increased connection requests and profile views.
There are many different opinions and there’s no right or wrong way to take your photo. Of course, your optimal profile picture depends on your profession, your sector of activity, and your role. In general, your best picture is the one that makes you look sympathetic and professional at the same time.
Top Tip: No sunglasses, no drinks, no phone, no cigarettes, no joint photo of you wearing your best maid-of-honour outfit. This is not your Facebook profile picture. Choose it like it’s meant to be the profile picture on your company website, sympathetic and professional. If you threw it on thinking, this will do, it probably won’t. Keep it clean.
This section is often overlooked but is a great opportunity to tell your brand story and who you are. This shouldn’t read like an extension of your CV. Content is king and storytelling is an incredibly strong brand message.
The key is to make sure we get a sense of your personality and how you approach your working life, not just your skills and experience. You have 2000 characters to use in this section. You don’t need to use all of this space.
Bonus strategy: Add a call to action, such as ‘I invite you to connect’ or adding links to your website or relevant professional portfolios or projects demonstrating examples of your work.
Your current experience should talk about your company and what you offer. It’s another opportunity to sell you and your business. You have 2000 characters to fit it all in. Make it compelling.
For your business, you may like to tell a brief story of why you established your company, the story so far and list some of your key services.
Are you a speaker? Did you create a product or write a book? Add those to your current experience.
Are you on any boards or committees? Create another experience for each of those.
Top Tip: Don’t forget about the keywords in the title and descriptions. Also ensure you have the company listed correctly. Once you’ve created a LinkedIn company page, this allows you to feature your logo, and readers can click on the logo to find out more about your company. It also means you don’t need to include too many details about the company in the experience section!
This is where you can feature your relevant and more recent education. It’s recommended you include any undergraduate, postgraduate, certificate, and diploma qualifications. LinkedIn also provides a certification section, which is relevant if you have specific, industry-based certifications.
Remember: The first entry is what will appear on the right-hand side of your LinkedIn profile below your background image.
Skills and endorsements
This section can increase your level of social proof and improve your search ranking. A simple and effective way to build your professional brand and engage your network.
You can add a maximum of 50 skills. These can be validated by 1st-degree connections to reinforce their weighting. When a connection endorses your skills, it acts as social proof (someone other than you saying you’ve demonstrated these skills) and can contribute to the strength of your profile, and increases the likelihood that you’ll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills you possess.
Bonus strategy: Adding skills helps with your SEO ranking. Pin your top three to optimize the keyword search.
Just as with the skills section, giving and receiving recommendations can help with your professional brand and boosts your optimization. We would recommend a maximum of 10 as most people won’t bother reading 100.
You should be aiming for high quality testimonials from senior professionals who are respected and well known in your industry.
You can include all of the following:
• Publications (ebook, blog, book) or been written about
• Project: Working on any projects for your company? Add the name, dates, creator, associated with, URL and description.
• Honors and awards
- Organizations: Add any organizations you’re part of, including chambers of commerce or boards
This appears in your summary at the top. Make sure it’s up to date with your current email, website or blog link, phone, and Twitter handle.
The final section gives your prospective client an idea of what motivates you and where your interests are. These are groups you’ve chosen to follow so try and avoid anything that may prove to be divisive such as politics.
That was a quick and easy guide to Linkedin. Now get networking!