Your goal on LinkedIn is to first “be found”, and second “be found credible”. With that in mind, you want to do everything possible to enhance your profile. This includes the content you place on your profile page and the ways that people find your profile.
Here are 9 ways to create an effective profile moving from the top of the profile page to the bottom. These simple changes can make a difference in the effectiveness of your profile.
1. Replace your Title with a Tag Line
At the top of the profile page just under the member name most people include their title…project manager, insurance agent, president. While I guess your title says something about you it likely doesn’t say anything about how you can help others.
My job is to help people find the best health insurance plan for them in terms of coverage and price. It’s what I do that provides value. My title is Insurance Broker. It’s what I am but doesn’t necessarily catch anyone’s attention. Each time I answer a questions, post a discussion question, or add a news article in a group a mini profile is displayed including usually my name and title/tag line.
Let’s take a look at using a title verses using a tag line. Which is more likely to be noticed:
Helping individuals and small businesses in Atlanta save up to 60% on their health insurance and employee benefits
Using a tag line is a great way to communicate a quick message to anyone viewing your profile.
2. Personalize Your Web URL’s
If you look at many profiles you will see that many people add a link to their website to their profile. Most often you see this listed as My Company, My Website, or My Blog. You want to make sure if you list your websites that you personalize the name
To personalize your web URL’s click on the [ Edit ] link next to your websites. On the drop down box for type of link there is an option for “Other”. Choose this option and you will be able to add a customized name for each link.
3. Personalize your LinkedIn profile URL
The first thing to do is to update your profile URL. The default URL consists of random numbers and letters. Change this so that it incorporates your name. There are many people with the same name so you may find that your name is not available. Use your middle initial or some other variation.
4. Optimize Your Profile with Keywords
Your profile is comprised of information that you add. There are a lot of fields that you can type in text descriptions. If you want your profile to be found you need to include keywords throughout it.
I assume that you have a strategy for being on LinkedIn. It might be to connect and it might be to find new client’s. Either way you want those who are looking for someone who does what you do to be able to find you. There are likely keywords that people use to seek out those with your background. You want to make sure these words are included in your profile.
If I were searching for a financial planner that handled investments on a “Fee Only” basis, I’m likely to search LinkedIn with this as a key word. If it’s not on your profile, but you are a “Fee Only” planner, you’re likely to not be included in my search results. This is only one keyword and many industries have many keywords that can be utilized.
Try to add as many keywords as possible. Don’t add them as a list but use them in your text descriptions. You’ll find that you start appearing in a larger number of searches.
Make sure that if you have a site or page on one of the many social media sites that the page reflects how you would want to be seen from a professional perspective. If the site does not convey a professional image do not add it.
5. Update Your Status Frequently
Your status is a great way to plant a seed in your connections mind. I want my connections to think about me whenever health insurance is on their mind. I want them to call me if they need assistance.
Each time I save a client money on a health insurance policy I update my status with the success story – “Sean just saved a client $150 on their health insurance”. I also use it when I know companies release their monthly rate increases – “Sean is helping folks in Atlanta shop insurance rates due to health insurance rate increases”.
I also use it to alert my network to new blog posts. You want to try and update your status at least three times a week, but you could do his daily as well.
6. Write a “Killer” Summary
Your resume is not a “Killer” summary. A “Killer” summary is one that helps you stand out to your profile visitor. It tells who you are, how you help people, what people you help, and how they can help you.
Here is a template for writing a “Killer” summary:
• Start with your Elevator Speech
• Show How you help
• Include a Call to Action
• How they can help you
• Sell yourself without the sales or technical terminology; unless you are in a highly technical field
Take some time to write your summary and then ask people to review it to see what they think. It should be something that you constantly review. You can likely always improve upon it.
7. Give and Secure Recommendations
The first part is easy. You should be providing recommendations for those that have done a great job providing a service, product, or sharing knowledge and advice. The only rule is that you should only provide recommendation to those that have earned them.
Each time you provide a recommendation your name and a link to your profile is added to the receivers profile page. It’s not the reason to provide the recommendation but it is a nice benefit in return. Many people will view the profile of the person providing a recommendation. This is a great way to get additional exposure to your profile. You never know where that next connection or business is going to come from so every little bit helps.
The second part takes a little more effort. While many people will provide a recommendation based on a service you provided, others for some reason never think to do so. Sometime all they need is a reminder or a simple request. You can request recommendations and should do so if you’ve earned it.
Recommendations can be secured from business colleagues, coworkers, fellow students, and clients. They help build credibility so you want to receive as many as possible. Personally, the only recommendations I ever request are those from clients. Once I finish serving a client I immediately ask them for their help in building my credibility on LinkedIn.
If you request a recommendation be sure to let the person know why you are requesting it. When I ask I always include the following, “If you do not feel the service I provided was great, then you do not need to provide a recommendation”.
8. Ask Questions and Answer Questions
Asking questions is a good way to gain valuable insights and information from the wide range of business professionals on LinkedIn. When you post a question it has the potential to be viewed by thousands, if not millions, of LinkedIn users. The question includes a mini listing that includes a link to your profile. The types of questions you ask also help frame your interests and business direction.
Answering questions allows you to demonstrate your expertise in a number of areas. You can choose to answer questions in any of the categories. Be sure to only answer when you can provide insightful information. Don’t answer just to build expertise points. Your answers will reflect on your credibility.
Like questions, when you answer a question your mini-listing is shown and includes a link back to your profile. People will view your profile when you answer questions, gaining additional exposure.
9. Add Dimension with Applications
Your profile is primarily flat information. There’s content but not necessarily context. You can build some context with your summary, tag line and status updates, but it’s still black and white text. Applications add color and dimension to your profile.
If you write a blog you can incorporate it into your profile. You can add white papers, brochures and one pagers to explain who you are using words and graphics. You can add video’s from You Tube using the Slideshare application.
You can share information about the books you read and recommend and let people know where you are traveling.
All of this adds context to your content and can be a powerful addition to your profile.
Bonus Tip: Add connections
Many people wouldn’t think that connections impact their profile. The purpose behind enhancing your profile is for it to be viewed more often and for the person to hopefully remember even just a small bit about you. Your Direct connections are the most likely people to visit your profile. Knowing this then the next assumption is that your profile will be viewed more often if you have 200 connections verses 50 connections.
This is what will lead to more “Unexpected Opportunities” which I discuss in Part 2 of my new LinkedIn book. The book will be released in June.
Part 1: The LinkedIn MBA Guide (approx. 150 pages) will be available as a Free download.
Part 2: The Secret LinkedIn Marketing Guide (approx 70 pages) will be available as a download or paperback (if the stars align). Not sure of the pricing as of this moment.