Today I’d like to talk about your LinkedIn profile. Now, chances are you have one, right? If you don’t, then get one. It’s really easy. Let me give you a couple of things to think about to get started.

First and foremost, if you’re going to set up a LinkedIn profile, do it with a personal email account, like a Gmail account or something along those lines. Why would you do that?

Well, the reason is, if you change jobs at any time, that way the LinkedIn profile is not 100% associated with the job. For example, if you’re working at XYZ Company, and then you set up a profile at Brian at XYZCompany dot com, and then you leave the company. Well guess what? When they shut the email down, you have no more access to that LinkedIn profile, unless you can get to it quickly enough and switch out the emails so that you can continue with the account. What happens is a lot of people switch jobs and they end up with all of these dead LinkedIn profiles sitting out there. So, create your LinkedIn account with a unique email that is yours. That’s why I suggest a Gmail or something along that lines.

Here’s the next thing that I want you to think about. The following are the five most important things on your LinkedIn profile, and the reason I consider them the five most important is because this is all of the stuff that’s sitting above the fold, meaning nobody has to scroll down to see any of this info. It’s all sitting right there and most of it, on a mobile device, is sitting right at the top of the screen.

Background Photo

Let’s start with the basics. The very first thing is the background photo or the header image. Now, it looks a little different on the desktop than it does on the mobile, but the bottom line is that same image works in both places. To create this graphic, you can use a tool like Canva, or if you’ve got more mad skills, you can use something like Photoshop. The dimensions of that graphic in pixels is 1,584 pixels wide by 396 pixels tall.

You want to optimize it so that it looks good both on the desktop and on the mobile device because people will be checking it from both places. That is prime real estate for you to add the personality of who you are, what your company does, or some graphical expression of what problem you solve. That’s what it’s there for!

Your Headshot

The other thing that’s important is your headshot. You want your headshot to be something that looks professional. You don’t want a picture of your dog. You don’t want a logo. And here’s the thing: You can easily take your headshot with a phone, but invest the money. Go get a real photographer with real lighting to take a good shot. Put on a suit. Do something that’s representative of you that shows your personality, but the bottom line is a headshot is an investment. It’s no different than anything else, like getting business cards; it’s something that will pay off in the long run.

Your Title

Those are the first two things, both images. Now let’s get to the next part, and this is uber important. A lot of people think the next part down is what they do. It’s their title, right? Well, it’s not a title. What you need to realize is that your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand. And what that title is, is your personal branding message. So the question here is, what problem do you solve? Who do you solve it for, and what’s important?

When somebody’s reading that, can they get a sense of who you are by “CEO at XYZ Company?” No, I don’t think so. What you’ve got to say is, “I help people solve this problem by doing this.” And maybe there’s a little branding around that. So for example, I help companies find their perfect customers using online marketing and social media. I show you why and teach you how. That is my branding message. And that’s what I do. I help you grow your business by finding your ideal customers on social media. So the problem I solve is helping people figure out who they are and how to get to them. And how do I do that? I show you why and teach you how. That is my personal tagline. That’s the branding message that I want to get across.

Your Summary

The next part is the text that’s right below that, which is the summary information. Now, the first two lines of that are the part that stick out above the fold. And if somebody clicks, “See more,” then they could read the rest. Obviously you can fill in a lot more information, but those first two lines really need to build upon the brand that you’ve just laid out in the tagline.

I usually like writing it in the third person because it doesn’t sound all I, I, I, me, me, me. “Brian helps small to mid-sized companies connect with their perfect customers to generate more sales. LinkedIn sales prospecting strategies are abundant. Many take shortcuts … ” and on it goes.

The first thing I’m doing is saying who I work for, small to mid-size businesses. I help them find the perfect customers to generate more sales, and I do that through LinkedIn sales and prospecting strategies.

Now below that, I can add all kinds of stuff. I could fill it with links. I could fill it with keywords. I could fill it with all kinds of data, but those first two lines have to be compelling enough to get people to want to read more. That summary is uber important, especially those first two lines.

The last part. Below that, you have the ability to link additional information. You could put links to your websites. You can upload videos. You can put in PDFs. You could do slide shows. You can do whatever you can. That may be all that anybody sees when they get to your profile is the background photo, the headshot, the tagline, the first two lines of the summary and links to more content.

What Else Can You Do? 5 Ideas…

So now that you’ve optimized this, what else can you do with it? Well, here are five quick ideas that you can take and utilize the information that you spent this time building your personal brand and use it in other places.

  1. Convert it to a one sheet. A one sheet is something that basically outlines who you are, what you do. It’s basically taking the profile and putting it into a Word document and having it available for speaking, for networking, for whatever it is that you want to do. Just turn it into a Word doc. Turn that into a PDF and upload it to your own profile so if somebody wants to get it, they’ve got it. It’s that simple.
  2. Convert it to your elevator speech. Can you take all the core information that you’ve put into this LinkedIn profile and say it in 30 seconds so somebody can understand it? If you can’t, then go back and rewrite it again. Make sure it’s concise to the point that you can easily repeat it so other people can repeat it for you when you want them to sell your business.
  3. Turn it into a bio for your website. Hey, if it’s good enough for LinkedIn, why not put it on your own website? Chances are your bio on LinkedIn is probably going to be newer and fresher than what’s sitting on your website, so do it on LinkedIn, and then move it over there. See how it works for you.
  4. Add that same information or some of it to the signature of your email. Maybe it’s the tagline. Maybe it’s the elevator speech. Maybe it’s just the bio. Whatever it is that you want to do, add some of that info into your signature in your email. Be sure to link your LinkedIn profile there as well, so you could leave a little teaser text and give them more if they show up on your profile.
  5. Take all of that and use it to get interviewed. You can get interviewed on radio, on TV, wherever you think that there’s an opportunity for you to spread the message about who you help, how you help them, and how you do it better than anybody else.

Final Thoughts

What do you think LinkedIn is? If you are like most people (including Microsoft who owns it) it’s considered the best place to find and post a job on the internet. It’s so much more than that… It is one of the best personal branding tools out there. (Yes, better than Facebook and Instagram combined!) LinkedIn is the de facto B2b business branding and marketing platform. Your LinkedIn profile is so much more than just a job description. It’s your personal brand; you have to build and develop it!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?