LinkedIn has become a “must have” social media platform for almost anyone in business. It’s the place to showcase and advance your personal brand and demonstrate your expertise, among other things.
The LinkedIn platform offers tremendous opportunities to connect with other people in your field or industry, join multiple business or professional groups, and post content, including videos, images and articles. It’s also a place to generate leads and tends to have users who are more affluent, influential and educated than other social media.
Whatever activity you perform on LinkedIn will always lead people back to your profile. So you’ll want to make sure your profile is up to date and fully optimized with all of the features that LinkedIn offers.
Here are 10 tips for making sure your LinkedIn profile works for you.
- Have a high quality headshot. A professional picture is a must. Profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed by others. Wear business-appropriate attire and avoid distracting backgrounds. And no cocktail-in-hand photos or on-the-beach vacation shots.
Create a headline that reinforces your business or professional brand. Your LinkedIn profile has space for 110 characters that appear prominently just under your name. Some people use it for their business title. But it’s often better to include information that will entice viewers into finding out more. But don’t use it as an overt place to sell. That’s a turnoff.
- Create a compelling professional summary. This will take some time and effort. But it will be worth it. Your professional summary should support what you say in your headline and expand on your branding. And it can potentially end with a good call to action.
- Choose your industry carefully. When filling out your profile, LinkedIn asks you to designate an industry. Think in terms of what someone searching for what you offer might type into a search box. Note that if you upgrade to a paid or “premium” LinkedIn account (worth considering), you will receive reports on who has viewed your profile and what industries they were from.
- Customize your profile URL. LinkedIn will automatically generate a URL that links to your profile. This will be long and complicated. But you can customize this URL to something shorter that includes your name and will be much more “sharing friendly.” This is the URL you can include in your email signature, or print on business cards.
- Post strong and regular status updates. But this isn’t Facebook. Your updates here should only reflect the business side of your life. Sharing thoughtful, relevant news that might interest your target visitors is a great way to keep your professional profile fresh and engage with your growing network of connections.
- Include valuable keywords. In your profile summary and updates, be sure to include words and phrases that people you hope to attract might search for. Try this: On LinkedIn, search for keywords you are thinking of using. Then examine the profiles of the people who show up to see how they’ve done it.
- Use clear contact information. LinkedIn gives you the ability to include contact information, including email address, up to three websites and Twitter handle. Don’t make it hard for visitors to contact you. Be sure to include accurate information.
- Use the publishing platform. Since early 2014, LinkedIn has been slowly inviting more and more LinkedIn members to publish blog posts on LinkedIn. Once you have established a high quality profile and a large network of connections, you will likely be invited to participate. If you are, accept and start writing. It’s a great place to gain exposure.
- Join relevant groups. LinkedIn groups are a fantastic way to connect with others in your industry or with interests related to what you sell. Search for groups by keyword and find the ones that make the best fit. Some will be open groups that anyone can join, and others will require that you be approved. You can join as many as 50.
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