LinkedIn is the preferred platform to showcase one’s professionalism and to network with alumni, interest groups, and past, present, and potential future employers. The social giant has grown to over 433 million users and averages two new members every second! The August 9, 2016 Tuesday Call featured Telarus VP of Marketing Amy Bailey who covered LinkedIn profile optimization and best practices. The entire call recording can be found here.
Before Making Multiple Changes
By default, LinkedIn will notify your network about any changes you make to your profile. This is a very nice feature when you update one item like your job status, or new certification or skill. But this can become slightly annoying to others if you are doing a major overhaul of your profile. You can turn this feature off from your profile page sidebar. See the image for a reference.
Be sure to consider turning this feature back on after you have made all of your big changes!
Start with Your LinkedIn Profile Picture
Arguably one of the more important areas of profile customization is you photo. Those with a profile photo gain an average of 14 times the profile views of those who don’t. It makes sense, too. If there is no photo, there is an innate reaction to not trust that profile. Let your personality come through your photo. Put on your best face and smile and dress to impress. Yes, family and pets are great, but keep this photo to just you. Save that family portrait for your Facebook profile. The image you want to portray is that of someone others would easily want to walk up to at a party and say hello. And be certain this is a high resolution photo that displays well at 200 x 200 pixels.
You have 120 characters to concisely communicate the most important message you want to share. Stick to these three points to make a perfect headline:
- Describe what you do
- Outline your most impressive accomplishments
- Use keywords
Good examples of headlines might include your job title, or a good one we found was “Creating Great Experiences for our Managed Services Clients.” This might sound vague and cliche, but what he did was used Managed Services as a keyword for which he would want to be found organically.
This is an overall description that should consist of four parts:
- Target audience: Know who it is that you want to center your messaging around so when those people see your profile, you are speaking their language and communicating what they are looking for. Ask yourself, “What matters to them? How do I want them to feel?” Your summary should rouse passion and excitement about your business or what you can contribute.
- Content: Show your value. Use keywords your target audience might be searching for. Avoid coming off too strong, but use a moderate amount of power words and accurately describe recognition or unique skills you obtain. Too common is the mistake where summaries fail to differentiate. Show you are a strong asset with unique value propositions and remember to keep it classy. Use facts and impressive metrics you’ve achieved rather than opinions. Saying you were able to increase customer retention by a large percentage through specific skills you contributed over a specific time period goes much further than claiming to just be able to help customer retention in a general sense.
- Create: When you go to create your profile, it is important to craft it in a meaningful way. Start with an initial bold statement. Write your messaging in either the first or third person, but be consistent throughout. There is no better choice of the two here, just a personal preference. Have a strong narrative where you are descriptive and persuasive in the value you add. Close with a clear call to action. If you are a sales person, this should be a shining beacon of your capability in bringing people in through your words and getting them to act upon those good feelings you just sparked by calling or messaging you.
- Add multimedia: LinkedIn users now have the ability to add work samples like videos, links, slideshares, images, and other documents to better promote their work and abilities. This feature can be used with any experience you have posted. Adding work samples that came out of specific job positions is very powerful and a wonderful way to make your value claims gain credibility. Make sure your job experience is successfully linked to that company profile so others can see where you’ve been. This also allows you to be connected with all of those other people in that organization.
- Customize: Click the gear by your public URL (refer to photo for reference) and start editing the details of your profile. The extra steps you take to really customize your profile can go a long way. Start with making your public profile URL simple and memorable. If you have a common first and last name like John Smith, you may want to get creative and make your URL stand out. You can also take control over how your profile appears in search engines like Google and Bing. Toggle on or off displayable items like your past positions, groups, skills, or even profile picture.
Be Active on LinkedIn
Not only is it important to keep your personal profile information up to date, but also staying active on LinkedIn by posting, liking, sharing, and commenting. If you have a company or personal blog hosted on a different domain, then go ahead and post to that blog first, wait a few days, then repost the blog to your LinkedIn. It is a good practice to add a disclaimer to the bottom of the post that it was originally posted to your other domain and include a link. You should also spend time often making and fostering new connections. Providing recommendations and endorsing others for skills they’ve exhibited go a long way.
What Should You Post on LinkedIn?
Going back to knowing your audience and connections, contribute often by posting blogs, company news, industry news, and helpful videos. Try and resist posting personal things like details about your pets or family and trips you’ve taken. Those are more appropriate for Facebook. Really think about what interests you and your LinkedIn community. Likewise, stay out of politics while on LinkedIn. Remain neutral and save your stances and opinions for other social media platforms.
If you post once per day, you can reach 60% of your network! So it is worth the investment of your time to increase your connections and activity to not only boost your personal brand, but plant seeds for future opportunities. A word of caution to leave you with in regards to your posting frequency should be added. Do not spam connections by generic personal messages or excessive sales-pitch-sounding posts. Be respectful and use moderation and you won’t have to worry about ruining your profile integrity.