Building an informative and engaging LinkedIn profile can give your industry reputation a major boost and help potential clients find you. Unfortunately, many people lack complete profiles and miss countless opportunities to connect with others in the social realm. Here are ten tips to create a killer LinkedIn profile that pays dividends.
- Own Your Profile: One of the biggest problems I see with LinkedIn profiles is also one of the easiest to fix. Make sure you completely fill out all the fields in your profile, and get that status bar to 100%. This takes a little elbow grease, but it’s what separates a “blah” user from a power profile.
- Use A Descriptive Headline: Your headline is the second most important asset next to your name on LinkedIn. Don’t just go with the default headline – get creative and add some flavor to yours. Let other users know what you’re really about, such as “Visionary Entrepreneur” or “Digital Marketing Expert”. This is especially helpful for small business owners that don’t have a powerful brand name (such as IBM) to add clout to their titles.
- Help Others Contact You: Putting your contact info in your headline or in your professional summary is a great way to let others easily contact you. Isn’t that why you’re on LinkedIn in the first place, to network with others?
- Use A Headshot: Some might suggest hiring a photographer to get a professional headshot. I say you just need a classy picture that shows you’re a real human. Don’t be afraid to smile either; a friendly face can go a long way when it comes to connecting with new people.
- Talk The Talk: Add relevant keywords in your profile that resonate with potential clients, partners, and industry professionals. Like-minded individuals will be more prone to talk to you if you speak their language.
- Give and Receive Recommendations: Recommendations are key in establishing yourself as a trustworthy source in your industry. Client testimonials hold the most weight, as do those from other renowned faces in your space. You can get recommendations from co-workers, but be warned that others may catch on to this rather quickly. Remember to give recommendations as well, as an authentic nugget of good will towards another can go a long way.
- Answer Questions: LinkedIn Answers is the perfect forum for establishing yourself as an expert in any given field. Other LinkedIn users ask questions that are split into specific categories. When your answer is selected as the “best” for a question, you receive a star in your profile (much like kindergarten). And if you are being compared to your top competition, more stars can be a difference maker in the client’s decision to contact you.
- Connect Responsibly: Don’t go on an all out connection binge your first day on LinkedIn. If enough people say they do not know you, you will be semi-black listed and will need to enter the email address of every new person you try to connect with. Instead, go through your old business cards, rolodex, and phone book to find acquaintances more than willing to connect with you. These old relationships can spark new introductions and opportunities with others.
- Engage Others: LinkedIn has a news feed on the main page that lets you add status updates, news stories, links and more. Use this feature. Try to update a few times a day with relevant industry news and interesting topics. Mix it up by adding your own insights, asking questions, or commenting on others’ updates.
- Be Helpful and Genuine: Nobody wants to be sold, so don’t be “that guy/gal” online. LinkedIn is a tool to help you foster and grow relationships. If someone in your network has a problem, help them solve it without a pitch. If you truly are the expert in your field, others will begin to see that and gravitate towards you naturally.
Follow the above tips and I guarantee you will see a spike in your daily LinkedIn profile stats as you grow your professional network. These tips can be applied universally in your personal branding strategy as well, whether it’s on LinkedIn, at your local chamber of commerce, or while engaging customers.
What LinkedIn questions or tips do you have? Feel free to email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional insights, or leave a comment below.