LinkedIn Profile: Stand Out Whether You Are a Business of one or 1,000 To have a Company Page you will first have to start with a Personal Profile. …
LinkedIn Profile: Stand Out Whether You Are a Business of one or 1,000
To have a Company Page you will first have to start with a Personal Profile. You will need to use an email address from the domain of your company’s website and if you don’t already have a Profile, there is a seven day waiting period before you can start your Company Page. You can edit your Profile by either clicking on Profile then Edit Profile, or clicking anywhere on your Profile you would like to change.
Make it Polished
This is YOUR online presence. Put your best foot forward. You may want to start with a bio, resume or CV that has already been reviewed and approved by an expert or a trusted third party. These documents will usually give you the information you need to get started in the right direction. BUT, in no means will it give you everything you will want to include on your LinkedIn Profile.
I encourage clients to think of their Profile as more of a portfolio than a resume. It is important to understand that the more information, links and media you add of significance, the more readily you will be found and considered credible.
However you approach it, be consistent in how you present your information. If you use ALL CAPS for one job title, use it for all. If you indent one paragraph five spaces, follow suit on all. There aren’t a lot of formatting options on LinkedIn so make the most of it by making it easy for the visitor to find your important information quickly and easily.
Sometimes the spell checker catches things and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them and have found, at minimum, it is money well spent to pay an experienced Professional money to review your efforts. If you can, consider hiring a professional to optimize your LinkedIn for you to be sure you have the best chances of attracting the customers and clients you are targeting.
Spell Out Acronyms, but Include Them as Well
Given that you want to be found online (you do, don’t you?!) you will want to both spell out Acronyms, but include them as well. For example, Certified Public Account (CPA) or Clicks Per Ad (CPA) will ensure the right people find you more often than not.
Being mindful of how search engines work and particularly the LinkedIn Search Engine, which will help you optimize your Profile. In general, search engines start with the key words being searched. The engine then will typically assume that the more popular results are going to be relevant to you as well.
The search engine doesn’t stop there, though. Next a mathematical equation (or algorithm) will be applied according to predetermined ranking variables that differ from search engine to search engine.
As I am sure you have guessed: LinkedIn employs its own proprietary algorithm for returning results. They change these periodically in an attempt to improve and personalize the results of your searches. According to the LinkedIn Help Center, they consider your activity on LinkedIn, what Profiles are returned based on your search and similar members’ searches.
You will definitely want to have a complete Profile, enter your skills and connect with others in your industry to further insure you turn up in searches more often! You will also want to update key words and phrases that appear on your Profile regularly. There are trends in business and hiring just as there are fashions. Don’t fall out of date.
Headline is Key
I recently accepted an invitation from someone I don’t know because their invitation stood out from all the others I receive. Her name was in all caps, if I remember right. Sometimes, it is the headline or tagline that makes me take a closer look at the invitation. Do what you can to stand out without getting too unconventional (see next section).
The last thing you want to do is to be perceived as another “thing to do” or question mark by your prospect. Make it easy for him or her to accept your invitation or InMail by including a headline that makes it clear who you are and what you do.
The default for this field is your current position and company listed under your professional experience. You have the option of either changing that to modify your headline or clicking on the headline to change it directly there. In the end this 120 character tidbit should communicate why you are someone to connect with.
Think twitter – make it a powerful byte that will pay off by attracting and retaining prospects and customers.
Put Your Summary to Work for You
Just as with anything else, people are busy. Sometimes they don’t turn the page of a resume and sometimes they don’t read beyond the Summary on LinkedIn. Load it up! Put all the really important stuff here for them to get on the first go around.
You are limited in terms of characters, but it is pretty generous (around 2,000) and you can add links and media. Links and media contribute to your being found – media is a particularly important, trending online-marketing lure.
So what media should you include? LinkedIn allows all types, but does require links be public. You might chose to upload work samples or link to a portfolio. You may upload a PDF of your CV or your price list. You could include a video of you speaking directly to your potential client. Pictures of your store or staff are a nice way to connect with people.
Personalize your summary so that once a prospect wanders in, he or she stays awhile. Give them plenty to look at and to connect to. Make sure to link back to your Profile if a link takes them to an external website or blog. This is how you get more bang for your buck – even if you are using a free account.
Recognizable Titles, Terms, Key Words and Phrases
In your effort to be returned more often in a potential client’s search, you may be tempted to add popular keywords to your Profile or Company Page. Don’t do it. LinkedIn advises that this will likely have the opposite effect and keep you out of the search results. Use keywords and phrases that are applicable to your area of expertise instead. Don’t add MBA just because you think a lot of people will be searching for it.
Also, while you certainly want to stand out from others using the site, you will want to use titles and terms that are generally accepted. For example, Business Developer is going to have you showing up in more results than the Business Building Guru. This is partly because more people are going to be searching for Business Developer and partly because the search engine may not quite know what to make of Business Building Guru.
The same is true of the Skills section. You will notice as you start to type, a skill will pop up and reveal similar skills other users have entered. It is generally advisable to use one of these suggested skills rather than to make a new entry if at all possible. This can help you differentiate your networking skills for example as you may find that IT and sales folks are using the word networking differently, e.g., IT Networking and Client Networking.
Many users enter in their basic information and never or seldom return to their Profiles. This happens so often that I frequently get panicked emails from clients who can’t remember how to get to their Company Page we worked so hard on, because they haven’t been on LinkedIn in a while. You will benefit more from LinkedIn with regular use.
The staff at LinkedIn like to make changes and often make them without announcement or apology. While these changes are often beneficial, if you aren’t using the site frequently the changes can be hard to keep up with and make it more difficult to navigate around.
Move Other Sections Around According to Impact
As you use LinkedIn, you will come to see how adjustable the site is to your needs. Feel free to experiment – you won’t break it! Turn off your activity broadcast or go offline one weekend if you are trying anything too creative. Move sections around. Make your best assets appear at the top. Typically, I move all of my clients’ skills to just beneath the Summary so they won’t be missed and add most media to the Summary section.
As you make changes click on the view as button and view your Profile as a connection or as the Public. You can also export your Profile to PDF to print or edit. It is often helpful to ask a close friend, colleague or mentor give you feedback if you are not enlisting the help of a professional.
Regardless of how hard you work and the changes you make, you will never be “done” – Your Profile should be as up to date as you are. It should reflect your business, your industry and appear to meet your visitors’ needs or interests.
All Star Level
If you aren’t at All Star Level, consider hiring a professional. Even if you are, consider hiring a professional. I am somewhat biased, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have worked with a client who started out an All Star and couldn’t believe the improvements that could still be made. You may need a little help putting your best foot forward – there is nothing wrong with that, especially when you see the results!
Here are some tips from LinkedIn you might find helpful
Following people can directly benefit you by giving you up to the minute information about them or their company or their industry (perhaps yours as well). It can also benefit you indirectly by giving visitors to your page a better idea of what you are about. Who you follow gives them clues about what is important to you. Are you consistent in your desire to “go green,” for example? Do you follow who they would expect you to?
Following companies gives you similar information as following people, but makes a bigger impact both ways. I believe you benefit even more from following companies as their information is likely going to be more broad reaching than an individual’s. Similarly, visitors to your page will likely know Company XYZ where they may not recognize the name of the CEO.
We touched on Groups earlier, but the value cannot be overstated. In this context, Groups you join sends a message to your potential customers about your level of involvement in your field and the expertise that you may offer. A word of warning, though, it is not enough to just join groups, you need to be active and participate in them as well in order to get maximum benefit.
You might find, after being a member for a period of time, that a group is not actually as beneficial or on topic as you had hoped. Don’t be afraid to leave it and find one that has better value either directly or indirectly!
Groups can be a means to an end, as well. You may end up deciding to join a group to connect with a potential customer or prospect that may be difficult to reach. Through the group you may be able to engage or impress them, at least making them aware of you and your company. This may be all you need to soften them up and get in the door to earn their business.