You don’t have to be actively seeking employment or be a recruiter to use LinkedIn. In fact, the best reason to use LinkedIn is for networking and lead generation in the B2B space. Creating your best LinkedIn profile means you go over every piece of your profile and optimize each section. Think of your LinkedIn profile like a page of your website that you are going to optimize for Google to search – SEO (search engine optimization). Each section matters to being found through search within LinkedIn and to ultimately being chosen first by your ideal client. These are the 8 pieces of your profile that you need to take care of for the ultimate LinkedIn profile.
1. Put Your Best Photo Forward
LinkedIn is not the place to put your favorite photo of you and girls out to the bar with everyone cropped out but you. It’s not the place to put a photo from 20 years ago either. Upload a high-quality, headshot. Don’t try to put your full body into the photo – let people see your smile! Keep a clear background for minimal distractions. If you use a poor image, you may lose people right away and never get the chance to recover!
Take a look at what author, speaker, and certified life coach, Towanna Freeman has done with her profile picture – she’s doing it right:
2. Put Keywords in Your Headline
When someone searches for someone like you, what words will they use? If you’re in the social media space it might be “social media manager,” “social media strategist,” or “community manager.” Make sure those words are in your headline if that’s what you want to be known for online but don’t just list your job titles. Tell us more about who you serve and what you do. You have 120 characters to use in this space so you’ll have to be creative.
Heather Heuman of Sweet Tea Social Marketing does an excellent job at giving who she is with keywords and showing some personality by distinguishing herself as a Periscope Broadcaster.
3. Use LinkedIn Pulse to Publish Blog Posts
LinkedIn Pulse allows you to add blog posts within the LinkedIn platform to set yourself apart as an influencer in your industry. But don’t worry, I’m not telling you that you now have two blogs you have to keep up with – one on your website and one on LinkedIn. You can use the same content from your website’s blog on LinkedIn. I know, it sounds like a no-go for duplicate content but the best LinkedIn trainers and influencers around like Stephanie Sammons and Viveka von Rosen have both confirmed that you can reuse your content on LinkedIn Pulse.
My suggestion is that after you post on your website blog, head over to LinkedIn Pulse a week or two later and then add your content again. Allow your site to do some work for you so the bulk of your new traffic goes to your site. And don’t forget that when you do publish to LinkedIn you should add a link back to your site crediting your original posting.
4. Write Your Summary in the 1st Person
LinkedIn is not your resume. I repeat, LinkedIn is not your resume. You know what – tweet that.
[clickToTweet tweet=”LinkedIn is not your resume. #smtip” quote=”LinkedIn is not your resume.” theme=”style4″]
When people come to your profile, and scroll down to get more information about you, they will stop at your summary. Write TO that person. Talk to them. Tell them about what you do, why you do it, and who you do it for. When I’m done reading, I should know if you’re the person I want to do business with either by hiring you, you hiring me, or maybe I have a great referral for you. I don’t want to read a biography about you. I want to get to know you in those few minutes I’m dedicating to your page. Keep my attention!
LinkedIn expert, Melonie Dodaro does this really well by telling you exactly who she works with in her summary. You know right away if Melonie is a good fit for you and your company. Check it out:
5. Add Media Throughout Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn really lets you showcase your work with the option to add media to three sections of your profile including:
- Work Experience
This is your opportunity to add either a:
You’ll see this option when you go to edit you profile:
Showcase your past work, articles you’ve written or been featured in, videos showcasing your skills as a teacher, presenter, or speaker – really the possibilities are endless. If you hop over to my profile you can see that I added 3 of my slideshare presentations, an article from Kim Garst that named me as one of the Top 30 Women in Social Media, and a case study that Heyo did on my company after using their software to run a contest on my Facebook page.
6. Collect Recommendations from Clients, Coworkers, and Employers
Recommendations are a gold mine on a LinkedIn profile. And guess what? You won’t get them if you don’t ask. When was the last time you logged into your LinkedIn profile and thought – “You know what, I’m going to go write a recommendation for some of the people I’ve worked with just to be nice.” – Never, right?
Send requests to influential people in your industry, clients, coworkers, and employers – assuming you have a good relationship with all of the above – to write you a recommendation. Be specific with each one and tell them what you’re looking for in that testimonial. For example, reach out to someone who’s attended one of your classes and specifically ask for them to review and recommend you as a presenter and educator. It’s something that person can speak to directly.
7. Keywords Matter In Several Places
Remember those keywords we talked about earlier. Here are the places you need to make sure your keywords show up:
- Work Experience Title
- Work Experience Descriptions
- Skills and Endorsements
The more places your keywords show up, the higher you rank in search results within LinkedIn. But even more important to remember about keywords is that:
“Remember it doesn’t matter what keywords you think you should have, but rather that you use the keywords that your ideal clients will use when searching.” – Melonie Dodaro, author of The LinkedIn Code
8. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile As Much as Possible
This means, fill it in! It’s so straight forward – there’s a place for everything. Put in where you went to school, any volunteer experience you have, honors and awards, and join relevant groups (this show up on your profile so be picky!).
If you decide to go through your LinkedIn profile and make several updates all at once, do your network a favor and turn off your notifications. If you’re making one update, leaving this feature on is beneficial to you to get more eyeballs on your page. But if you’re walking through your profile alongside articles like this one, turn it off. Just flip the switch!
Do you have questions about LinkedIn? Maybe you’d like someone to review your page and give some feedback? Comment below with your LinkedIn profile link and I’ll take a look and give a quick tip on something you can update right now.
This was FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing 🙂
I hadn’t thought of a few of these suggestions, like the blog posting. Thanks for sharing.
You are very welcome! Good luck!
Great post! I just headed over to my LinkedIn and followed your steps to improve my profile. Thank you for the step by step instructions.
Fantastic! I love hearing when people put advice into action!
GREAT ADVICE! Love this! 🙂
Love your blog post and found it compelling and share worthy! Excellent information and great images.
Thank you Melanie! Really appreciate you sharing!
These are such great tips. I have struggled with with LinkedIn profile and eventually gave up on it. Armed with this post, I will be working on it this weekend.
That’s great to hear, Simi! Glad you’re giving LinkedIn another go!
Wow! This was really helpful. I definitely need to go and re-examine my profile and retool it with the proper keywords. Thank you so much for sharing!
Thanks, Steph, that was great info! I shared it on LinkedIn so I can refer back to it later. My profile definitely needs work.
I really appreciate the share, Jeanne. Thank you!
Thank you for such great tips! I’m heading to my Linkedin profile now to make some improvements.
Very valuable tips! I have some work to do on my LinkedIn profile.
Be sure to take a look at your before/after of your LinkedIn rankings to see how your changes affect your views. You might be surprised what happens!
I changed my post summaries to first person after reading this! Thanks for the tips. There are a few other things I need to fine tune as well, but now I know where to start. Great post!
Great! So glad you were able to apply these tips right away!
Some really, really great tips here, Steph. I don’t work in the B2B arena and my LinkedIn profile is just… there.
While B2B is one of the best uses for LinkedIn, I promise it’s not the only one! Who’s your target client?
I have an unclear relationship with LinkedIn. My potential customers are there- many professional working women who care about their appearance and are probably jewelry lovers. But when I post a blog, my keywords are not keywords on the platform. I dont see a way to really connect.
I did a quick look at LinkedIn Pulse and found several tags that would probably work for your industry including jewelry, first impressions, image consulting, appearance, and fashion. You might try using LinkedIn Pulse for blogs around those keyword areas!
OMG.. pet peeve – crap or no picture and profile not complete.. How lame can you be, right? Andddd, of course you know I am alllll over the keyword part. GREAT times Steph!
Haha, I know I don’t have to worry about you and your keywords. 😉 I find I’m bothered more by the crazy pictures than no picture at all!
This is great advice, thank you so much for sharing! I used LinkedIn a little when I worked in a corporate setting, but now that I work from home in a different setting, it’s been hard for me to figure out how to utilize it.
I work from home too! Home based businesses definitely have a place on LinkedIn!
Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful tips! I am still new to LinkedIn and honestly don’t know all the things I should be doing with it! Now I know and first step is putting keywords in the headline!
So glad I could help you out Emily!
Great tips! Glad to hear that no picture is better than a crazy one! Though I think it’s time to start working on a *good* photo soon!
You rounded up all the salient points here. Very good summary.
Do you have a suggestion if your starting up at home business is completely different from your professional career? Should you have two separate profile?
I’m a believer that you want to simplify the process of keeping up with your social media presence as much as possible. I would keep one profile only unless you were trying to keep the new home business hidden from your professional network.
profiles? (Sorry auto-correct mis-type.)
We follow one another on tweeter:-)….@owningmyperspec
Can you check out my profile on LinkedIn and provide feedback? Thank you so much.
Hi Hope! I took a look at your profile and I see a few things you could work on to make LinkedIn more effective as a business tool for you. 1st – Add more connections. You have 10 so far and while everyone does have to start somewhere, I can guess you know more than 10 people. 🙂 Start reaching out and adding connections to build up your network. 2nd – Update your profile picture to be a clear headshot. The one you are using currently is not a great quality. Beautiful smile but the image isn’t as professional as it could be. Start with those two things and you’ll be more on the right track! Overall the profile looks good though – well filled out!
Steph, Great advice for creating a more dynamic profile! I like how you’ve suggested several ways to showcase current and past work. Keyword consistency throughout the profile is also a useful consideration.
I think many people could benefit from reading this article – I even linked to it in a recent guest post I wrote for Candid Content: http://bit.ly/2edaPQ6.