5 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

blog 5 tips to optimize profileSeveral times a month I speak at events talking to others about how to use LinkedIn more effectively.  I’m constantly revising the presentations; trying to come up with one that balances showing new members what LinkedIn is while providing value to those that have been members for a while.

The latest presentation focuses on the three areas I wrote about in the 3 Basic Keys to LinkedIn:  Optimizing Your Profile, Building Your Network, and Leveraging LinkedIn.  From this I have put together a list of Tips for each area.  I’ll cover each in separate posts over the next two weeks.  Today we focus on 5 Tips to Optimize Your Profile.

Tip 1:  Have a Relevant Profile Photo

No discussion on creating a better profile can exclude the impact of the photo.  Having a photo simply allows people to place a face with a name.  Not having a photo says that you don’t get “it”.

Having a logo, a product shot, a cartoon etc. isn’t much better than not having a photo.  Doing this also says you don’t get “it”.  Having a photo that is hard to see, doesn’t match your brand, or that is not properly formatted says the same thing.

What is “It”?  “It” is the fact that social networking is about people interacting with people.  Not with companies, products, logos, or cartoon characters.  Being a professional network for business people, What might be acceptable on MySpace of Facebook doesn’t work on LinkedIn.

Tip 2:  Title verses a Tag Line

Titles tell people what you are.  Tag lines can tell people what you can do for them.  For example, there’s a huge difference between “Social Media Consultant” and “Helping business build communities and monetize social networking and media”.

If I’m the CEO for a company maybe I stick with the title.  If I’m a sales person I’d rather people know what I can do for them.  Remember whenever your mini profile is displayed (answering a question, posting a discussion question, posting a news article, etc.) viewers see your photo,  name, title/tag line.

Tip 3:  Customize Your URL’s

In your profile you have the ability to add 3 web links.  Typically you see these on a profile listed as My Website, My Blog, My Company, etc.  Each of these can easily be customized so that My Company is changed to SONARconnects, or MY Blog is Social Media Sonar Blog.

To make the change simply go to you “Edit Profile” page and click on the “edit” text link next to your URL’s.  Then click on the drop down box and choose “Other”.  This allows you to then type in a name to list for the link.

You also are assigned a URL for your Public Profile page.  It typically looks like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sean-nelson/10/6a4/3b6.  A customized Public Profile page URL would look like this:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/seannelson.

The customized web links and the customized profile URL will have an effect on your ranking in the search engines.

Tip 4:  Add Applications

Your profile is made up of a lot of static information.  You can update it over time which is good for two reasons:

1.  You want the information listed to be as up to date as possible; and

2.  Every time you update your profile your network is notified that something has changed.  This generates profile visits.

Applications allow you to present information in a variety of formats.  You can add videos,  PowerPoint presentations, white papers, brochures, one-pager’s, case studies, etc.  Not everyone visiting your profile will view the information, but for those who want to know more about you, this is a great way to share information about who you are and what you do.

For video I prefer the Goggle Presentations application.  For presentations I use Slide Share.  And for files I use Boxnet.  I also use the Word Press application to import my blog into my profile.

Others are using the Amazon application to share information on the books they like and TripIt to show others where they are traveling to.  You don’t have to use every application but a few can take your profile from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional.

Tip 5:  Add Keywords to Your Profile

Your profile is searchable, whether it’s on LinkedIn or from search engines such as Google.  The more effectively you use keywords in your profile the better you will display in search results.  I’m not a fan of adding a string of keywords, but with the various places to add information you can sprinkle them naturally in your descriptions.

I wrote the LinkedIn MBA Workbook to provide a systematic way for someone to build a “Killer” profile.  The workbook is over 20 pages so there are a lot of other tips to optimize your profile.  If you do nothing but focus on the five I’ve listed above you will have a better profile tomorrow than you did today.

Your profile is where people that find you on LinkedIn begin forming their first impression.  Make it a good one and make sure that when they leave your profile they know exactly what you do and how you can help them.

What are some profile tips that I should have included?

**If you would like to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Business Blogs to grow you business, SONAR Connects offers two options:

  1. Social Media Training that teaches you how to optimize your accounts, build communities of friends, followers, and connections, and how to monetize social networking and media.
  2. Social Networking/Media Management: We take on the responsibility for managing your social media accounts including creating and writing your blog.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.

37 thoughts on “5 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile”

  1. Sean,

    Great blog on optimizing LinkedIn! I’d also suggest that people join groups so they can participate in discussion forums to share useful information. Making yourself visible AND useful are important to growing your network. Being a group member also allows you to send messages to fellow group members (assuming their privacy settings allow it).

    Best regards,
    Arthur Catalanello

  2. Arthur,

    Thanks for the comments. You’ve actually gotten ahead of me. Next weeks tips are on Growing your network and Groups are an important part of that.


  3. Dan,

    In the end it always comes back to the basics. Have to do them first before going to the next step.


  4. Sean,
    Thank you for your ideas about optimizing your LinkedIn Profile. I have updated my Title as a tag-line as you suggested and also updated my Summary along the lines of your elevator speech example. Now, I am a member of six groups and hope to meet like minded people through these groups.

  5. Thanks for the ideas and I will keep up with you now!

    One item I would stress is that people should spend time, get involved, and ‘work’ their network (though this networking is really much fun!). Reach out and offer to help or proactively introduce people you know to each other. Offer favors. There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than the ‘fair weather friend’ – that only appears when they are job hunting.

  6. Leveraging LinkedIn is actually part three that I’cc cover after we talk about building your network.


  7. Sean,
    Nice tips. Ive been on LinkedIn since it started…you made me re-think some things. The groups people belong to are some of the best places to cultivate connections. They are typically liked minded folks, and actually have something to do with what you are interested in…

    Nice article.

    p.s. come connect with me

  8. Martin,

    If you’ve been on LinkedIn since it started you have a couple of years on me. I agree that groups are possibly one of the most important areas on LinkedIn.


  9. Social Networking seems to be the big thing that everyone is discussing. The net helps you do that well. As well as getting you more contacts (after all isn’t that what it is about?) the flipside/upside is when used properly you gain more traffic and ranking status on your website too. I’ve got a client who ranks in the top 4 results on Google, Yahoo and Bing globally for a specific search term. They don’t even use the keyword search term on their site!! But because some 62 of their backlink sites mention them for those keywords they rank highly. Obviously if they then use that search term on their own site they could well jump up the rankings even higher. So social networking on sites such as facebook, linkedin, twitter and stumble can be great for gaining contacts for your business but when it becomes a backlink its a double whammy! At http://www.recruitmentmatters.com we have so far got 22 different search terms ranked in the Google top 10. I’ve come across a great free tool to check out your own backlinks and those of your competitors. A backlink is simply a site that uses one of your URL’s in their text content e.g. “For recruitment tips please visit http://www.recruitmentmatters.com/free.php “. Working smartly you can see what blogs, articles, sites and links are or can be good for you. The old adage of “its not what you know but who you know” still stands true. Just make sure they are quality sites/people/links that you associate with. The site I mentioned is http://www.backlinkwatch.com/ . You can get me at warren@recruitmentmatters.com

  10. Great article on how to maximize Linkedin! I am always looking to find ways to leverage technology to increase sales and profits. I will share your information and insights with my clients, strategic partners and associates. Thanks Sean!

  11. Thanks for information, on how to maximize Linkedin!
    Have just added my 3 websites, I am new to LinkedIn, still learning, will be reading more later to day.
    I enjoy networking and learning, feels like I am back at school, instead of 69.

  12. Elsie,

    It all starts with a couple of changes and then over time you just need to continue to modify and improve your presence.


  13. Hi There! I ran into your site absolutely by mistake, and it turned out to being a blessing. You bring a lot of interesting things to the table and I will be back for more 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Good afternoon, I researched 5 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile and your website was in the primary few websites, you have to be doing something suitable for google to like your posts a lot. Have you ever thought about blogging for money? there is a webpage http://www.kidsolo.com that pays you to write articles, you would be good at it.

  15. I’ve looked into syndication and decided that I have enough requirements from my business. Staying independent allows me to publish only when I want without thinking about anything other than providing value to my readers. This is more of an outlet than a revenue stream. Thanks for the suggestions, though.

  16. Thanks loads dude it was really amazing
    and most importantly for beginners who are building backlinks but do not know whether they are getting links or not these tools are best and easy to use

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