Maintaining a professional and search optimised profile is at the core of any successful LinkedIn account, whether you are selling yourself or selling a product/service via a dedicated company profile.
Melonie Dodaro, LinkedIn evangelist and Author of The LinkedIn Code, details 10 tips to creating a successful LinkedIn profile to increase your return on both time and investment on the platform. We have summarised them here. Enjoy!
1. Optimise your keywords for your target audience
Not using the right keywords on your LinkedIn profile is a truly lost opportunity.
When people search for your expertise, product or service, you need to show up in the top search results for those terms.
On LinkedIn, people are looking for other 'people' that provide a particular product or service. So instead of 'How to create a LinkedIn Profile' use 'LinkedIn Expert', LinkedIn Consultant, 'LinkedIn Trainer'.
Bad practice: 'Recruitment service'
Good practice: 'Recruiter'/'Recruitment Consultant'
If you treat your profile as a web showcase page that needs just as much SEO thought as a regular website, you will nail it.
2. Optimise your profile headline
Optimise your headline with at least one or two keywords.
This carries a lot of weight in LinkedIn's algorithm resulting in optimum search result rankings.
You have 120 characters - use them wisely. Remember, this is a sales pitch. How can you describe yourself in the most impactful way?
Bad practice: 'Marketing Professional'
Good Practice: 'I help business owners and professionals gain clarity, confidence and peace of mind to ensure financial success'
3. Include all of your contact information
It may seem obvious, but most LinkedIn users have incomplete LinkedIn profile information which can stop a prospect dead in their tracks and kill a potential connection.
Make sure to include the below information at a bare minimum:
- Phone number
- Contact person.
You want to make it as easy as possible for prospective clients to connect with and further their relationship with you.
4. Use a 'Vanity URL'
LinkedIn provides each user with a URL which consists of the users first name, a dot, the users last name, a forward slash and then a series of numbers with a dash and another string of numbers.
Change this to something cleaner to improve your search results. It really works - trust us!
Bad practice: www.linkedin.com/john.smith/24152637
Good practice: www.linkedin.com/johnsmith/
5. List your website(s)!
Another opportunity for keyword optimisation is listing your website! You do not have to use the company URL, but can use a vanity URL here to again improve your search ranking overall.
As well as improving your search results, this practice can also help to build links to your website, increasing web traffic and SEO efforts.
You have three site spaces to use here. Use all of them if you can!
6. Client-focused summary section
Your summary can be up to 2,000 characters, and Dodaro recommends utilising every last one.
1. Your credibility
First, start with a 'credibility section' which contains: who you are; your story; why you do what you do and your background. Be sure to add anything that could enhance your credibility such as media mentions, awards or noteworthy previous or existing customers.
2. Your ideal clients
Next, identify your ideal clients. This will allow prospects the recognise themselves in your words. Ensure to mentions problems your prospects often face and how you can solve those problems. Be concise and to the point.
3. Clear call to action
Finally, you should close your summary with a clear call to action. What do you want prospects to do next? How can they contact you? What will they gain from engaging with you?
7. Current work experience
Again, you have 2,000 characters to describe your current work experience, so make it count.
1. Your experience in the market
First, begin with your company creds/experience in the market. This sets the scene.
2. Your companies services
Next, list all of the services you provide within your company. Be exhaustive, and order them by relevance to your prospects.
3. Clear call to action
Lastly, add a call to action. It may seem bizarre, but it is a great way to engage people further down the sales funnel, that are spending time out of their day to review your profile and experience. You can use the same call to action as used in your summary section.
8. Rich Media
There is an opportunity to upload videos and previous work to the 'rich media' section of your profile section. This is a great way to self promote (by posting talks you have held or videos you have worked on) as well as a great way to utilise existing company media. More interaction = more prospects.
Types of rich media you can utilise:
- Seminar or training videos
- Speeches or public addresses
- Company media
- Company adverts
These are just a few examples to get you started.
You can include up to 50 skills on your profile. By showing at least 10, using the keywords you have been optimising for, will firstly help you to rank higher on search, and secondly will help increase your credibility through connection endorsements.
To increase your profile score even further, encourage others to endorse you for these skills by either asking them, or endorsing them in the hope of reciprocation. This will also give prospects more confidence in your experience and abilities.
LinkedIn 'recommendations' provide vital social-proof to back up the rest of your profile.
Just as you would trust a trip advisor review over a self-written hotel endorsement found on the hotel's website, a prospect viewing your site will be looking for the words other use to describe working with you and your key attributes. This will help prospective clients to gage if you stand up against their job description.
Try to send recommendation requests each month to customers or colleagues that you have actually worked with. In addition, the act of recommending another sparks a reciprocal recommendation request for them to fill in about you.
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