Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn isn’t simply a platform for job hunters and recruiters, but also multi-dimensional social media channel to build your circle of influence and network with other professionals.

The stats alone will convince you that LinkedIn is a marketing tool you just can’t ignore.

  1. There are more than 350 million users on LinkedIn — in 200 countries and territories. That’s quite the global reach.
  2. 35% of users access LinkedIn everyday
  3. Reachforce found that 44% of B2B marketers have generated leads via LinkedIn.
  4. There are over 1 billion LinkedIn endorsements
  5. Over 25 million LinkedIn profiles are viewed each day

Your LinkedIn profile will act as your laser-focused billboard, presenting you as the subject matter expert in your field. Writing it may seem like a daunting task, but simply set aside some time, maybe a weekend to brainstorm what you want to share. Gather your information in outline form and dive in. If you aren’t confident with your skills, hire out the creative writing aspect but keep in mind, you’ll have to do some of the heavy lifting as well.

Headline

By default, LinkedIn will populate this field with your current company and job title. You are not obligated to retain this. Mix it up and get creative using robust keywords and phrases. List your expertise and other credentials as well, but don’t overwhelm the header with details. It can be overkill. Try to keep it to about 10-15 words. Less is more.

Summary

Design your killer profile to gain traction with a strong summary, industry keywords and in the first person tense, using “I.” Example: “I facilitated a team of 18 people to drive sales 24% above the previous quarter.” List 4-5 of your principal achievements. It’s important to note that you are writing to your target market, so make sure you are hitting some of the crucial points that would make the most sense to them.

Photo

If you don’t have a professional headshot, make time for a photo shoot. Wear something businesslike, no flash or bling. AND smile. It portrays you as someone who is real, reachable, open and personable. People are influenced by visual images, so keep in mind that you have just a few seconds to make an impression. Make it a good one.

Content

Fill in the blanks: awards, recognition, special achievements, education, associations, volunteer work and so forth. It helps to clearly demonstrate your well-roundedness, diversity in projects and skills as well as making you appear more versatile.

Endorsements/Recommendations

It never hurts to ask. Reach out to people you know, past and present clients, or even colleagues. People are always delighted to share a few kudos. Give it a try. Here’s a small tip for you, reciprocate the kindness.

Claim Your Custom Profile URL

LinkedIn’s default profile URL is not only hard to remember and share but it doesn’t showcase your name or your brand, making it more difficult for Google to display your profile page in the search results. Personalize your custom URL with your name or company name that is consistent with your other social media platforms. Click here to update your profile URL settings.

Status Updates

Everything you share is a direct reflection of yourself, your brand and your company. Your content is the cornerstone of building your digital footprint and circle of influence. It’s how you communicate your expertise with your target audience. It helps establish you as a credible source by nurturing the relationships with real content that drives conversation, educates, and encourages that coveted SHARE. With each post, consider what your audience wants and needs. Don’t get too comfortable on the soapbox because if that’s where you’re shouting your message from – trust me, no one is listening. Always remember that good content solves your customers’ problems. This is what drives your own personal influence. There’s no need to shout how awesome you are. Your content will speak for itself.

Consistency and frequency are key to authenticating your online reputation. It isn’t good enough to share a post on LinkedIn once a week. You won’t be able to develop a watchful audience unless you maintain a visible presence. Sharing content that matters – and doing it often – is the only way to build your personal brand.

To keep yourself in check, outline the topics or themes you’d like to share in support of your keywords and phrases. Write your own posts as a LinkedIn Publisher, in addition to searching for quality content from others to share as status updates. Authoring your posts in the Publisher format allows:

  1. People to follow you
  2. You to write long form posts
  3. Google to index your posts
  4. Your posts to reach a larger public audience
  5. Showcase your expertise

You’ve got your posts all lined up but what’s next? When to post? According to HubSpot research, the best times to share content on LinkedIn are on Tuesday’s 10-11 am (via AddThis) while Fannit stated the best times are 7-8 am and 5-6 pm. My suggestion is also to test different days and times to see what produces the best results with your personal audience. Science and social metrics can be a struggle, but pay attention to your engagement, comments, likes and shares. Everyone is different as are their goals and tactics. Find what works best for you.

Start with this as a recipe for posting

  1. Post 2-3 times per day, 7 days a week
  2. Mix up your posts with URLs, images, or even quotes
  3. Comment on other people’s content
  4. Share in various target groups
  5. Write long-form posts as “LinkedIn Publisher”
  6. Search for our keywords and phrases in the “posts” section

Growing your network

The next rung toward your success is to join a few industry groups with like-minded peers, target audience and influencers. Participating in LinkedIn Groups affords you the opportunity to further develop your own thought leadership with professionals in your field. They function as a “private” space to interact with other members that share common interests, skills and industries, further widening your network and affiliations. While you are permitted to join up to 50 groups, it is advisable that you maintain a level of sanity and be a little choosy with the number of groups you join. It can be overwhelming to try and keep up with the discussions as well as share relevant content. Don’t overextend yourself.

Creating your profile, posting and joining groups is the foundation to your LinkedIn success but as with any SOCIAL network, it requires the human touch and by that I mean engagement with your community. Set aside time each day to fully engage in conversations and comment on posts that resonate with you. It is the nurturing of relationships that builds trust in you and your brand. People buy from people. That will never change.