Above the fold on LinkedIn

It’s a phrase that’s been used in both the newspaper business and in Website design. In newspapers, “above the fold” refers to the upper half of the front page of a newspaper, where the “big story” of the day is located. It’s always accompanied by a big headline, and usually has an eye-catching photo.

With Websites, “above the fold,” also known as “above the scroll,” is all about the top portion of a Web page (usually the homepage) that is visible without scrolling. Like in newspapers, what appears above the fold on a Website is whatever the site’s owner deems important for you to read, see, view in a video, etc.

The idea is pretty similar in Social Selling with your LinkedIn Profile. You want to catch people’s attention so they’ll read into your Profile. Your intent is to “sell” them enough so they’ll want to contact you about your product(s) or service(s). That’s why I say, “above the fold is where you mine for gold.”

For our purposes, “above the fold” will refer to three important items in your LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Your banner or background.
  2. Your Profile photograph.
  3. Your Headline.

It’s not enough to have just something or anything in those areas. They’re actually the most important part of your Profile. Keep in mind that you’ve only got three seconds to capture and keep someone’s attention. You do that in those three areas.

What to Do

Simple. Grab ’em and don’t let go. Here’s how:

Banner/background. Here’s where my concept of ABB (always be branding) comes in. Your banner is like having free advertising space on a building somewhere. Don’t underestimate its power. Brand this “real estate” with your Website address, logo and other pertinent images. Also be sure to include your phone number and even email address. Remember the goal of Social Selling is to take your conversations offline, so make it easy for your profile viewers to contact you!

Photo. Your photo must be professional. No photos of you and your spouse (or just you with your spouse cropped out, leaving only her/his hand on your shoulder), you at the Super Bowl, you holding that big fish you caught, etc. While this item is second in this list, it’s probably the most important of the three. Your photo is the first impression many of your prospects will have of you. So, please, do yourself a favor. Invest in a professional headshot.

Headline. This one is pretty simple: Your headline should not be your title and company. As I said in a previous post on LinkedIn Headlines, you want to “attract” people to your Profile by phrasing your Headline to provide your value proposition, or what you bring to your customers or clients when you sell your product or service to them. When you show your clients how you help them in your Headline, they’ll be that much more interested in reading the rest of your Profile.

Keep this in mind, too. If you’re in sales, nothing will scare a prospect away from you faster than having “Sales Associate,” “Account Executive,” “Sales Pro” or anything else sales-y in your Headline. It’s unfortunate, but true. A value proposition-based Headline, though, leaves that stigma in the dust.

There’s so much that goes into crafting the Headline, you should devote a lot of time to it. Again, my previous post will be a huge help with that.

How Important is Above the Fold?

In the mid 1980s, I was an intern in a television news department in Toledo. It was there that a very wise news producer told me that when it came to the “lede”—the first sentence or two—of any news story, I needed to concentrate on a very key concept:

It’s not “why should I (the viewer) care?”; it’s “make me care.”

That was very wise advise that helped me go from intern to (eventually) the 11 PM newscast producer at that station. That same advice will help you in crafting a truly “make me care” Profile.

This article originally appeared at LinkedIn.