We’ve all been around that guy at parties, haven’t we?

The one who can’t stop bragging about all his accomplishments and conquests?

When I run across people like that, I want to quote my grandmother: “Self-praise stinks.”

I can still see Grandma Nemo wagging her wrinkled finger at me, making it clear that bragging was for bozos.

So why do we do it with our LinkedIn profiles?

LinkedIn Confidential

Look, if you want the secret to crafting a LinkedIn profile that turns strangers into prospects and prospects into clients, you need to be more 1936 than 2014.

Here’s what I mean: “I know and you know people who blunder through life trying to wigwag other people into becoming interested in them. Of course, it doesn’t work. People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves – morning, noon and after dinner.” – Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Carnegie first published those words in 1936, and they’ve never been more true than in today’s “look at me!” age of selfies and social media “humble brags.”

Shouting vs. Listening

There’s WAY too much shouting going on with LinkedIn right now. Groups are inundated with blatant sales pitches and spam. I get LinkedIn Messages from people I don’t know asking me to watch a sales presentation or video on a topic I never asked to hear about.

And that’s the key. Seth Godin calls it Permission Marketing. When you make your LinkedIn profile client-facing, people are going to give you permission to engage, because they want to learn more. You’ll get invitations to connect, see new people following your posts or have more requests to join your Group.

All of that is permission to keep going! The secret is understanding that, to begin with, a self-facing, “all about me” LinkedIn profile is a MAJOR turn-off.

Know Your Audience

For instance, if you’re a podiatrist, don’t start your profile by telling me (a potential patient) where you went to medical school, what degrees you carry or the various certifications you’ve received. Instead, explain to me how you can help my feet feel better. And then show me why you can do it better, faster or easier than anyone else in your profession! Include videos of client testimonials, or before and after photos of foot surgeries you’ve done. (Okay, maybe not that last one. Foot pictures can be gross!)

If your goal here on LinkedIn is to land me as a patient, then make your profile all about ME! Create a Q&A series or add some FAQs that help remove the most common barriers keeping new patients from choosing your clinic.

Even better, speak my language! In my world, you are a “foot doctor,” not a podiatrist. Make it all about me and my feet, and I promise myself and other potential patients will jump for joy as a result!

Your Turn

So how about it? Tell me in the comments who you are and what you do, and let’s start reframing your LinkedIn profile! Or, if you’ve done it already, share with us what’s working best for you!

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