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Create a rocking LinkedIn Profile

Apr 17, 2015

If your business deals with other businesses or consumers considering a high value transaction or you are considering new positions then you should be making the most of your LinkedIn profile. This blog post is full of tips on how to make the most of this lucrative online real estate.

In my previous life as a digital recruiter I was, of course, a power user of LinkedIn. I’ve made considered decisions and also some crazy snap judgements based on what I have seen on LinkedIn profiles. I found my highest paid placement through LinkedIn which made all the hours of sifting through profiles extremely worthwhile. While it was rare to find an extremely bad profile, it often became clear, on receipt of a candidate’s CV and upon meeting them, that these jobseekers were not making the most of their profiles. Are you making the most of LinkedIn to generate leads, build trust and establish your authority amongst your competitors and to your current and potential clients? Read on and find out how to up your game on LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn brings a hugely valuable friend to the social media party and that is trust. Once you establish trust in the minds of those visiting your profile it will make it far easier to make a business connection with them. You can do this by using your profile to showcase your authority in your sector.

Use the following basic steps initially to make sure you are making the right impression:

  • Look good: According to the LinkedIn representatives at the “be Better at..Linkedin” event organised by Digiwomen in late 2014  your profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. Any photo. A professional photo is highly recommended but in a pinch, a well framed photograph against a plain background, taken in daylight will work a charm. Many individuals also use professional photographs taken of them speaking at conferences. This is a great option as it highlights your authority in the sector.
  • Grab their attention: This section appears below your name on your profile and is your opportunity to encapsulate your professional focus. This is the answer you give when you meet a peer at a sectoral conference. For example, (currently) mine is “Online Marketing Consultant and Content Strategist”. I want to communicate that I work on a consultancy basis and that I operate strategically, specifically through online marketing and specialising in content. A peer in the same business would immediately know my passions within online marketing. Those in other lines of work would read online marketing which is, broadly speaking, where our businesses could connect. Be specific enough to gain the respect of your peers and general enough so that potential clients know that you are the person for the goal they have in mind. This section does not have to be your exact job title although it can be: the choice is yours.
  • Tell your tale: use your current and previous roles to highlight your professional expertise. Don’t forget this it the internet so pack in those key search terms (while remaining comprehensible!) to ensure you can be found for the terms that showcase your experience and skills.
  • Add personality: your use of language will certainly let your prospects get to know your style a bit better. However, LinkedIn, cognizant of the visual nature of the web, also allows you to show off a little more of your personality through its background images. These are displayed to “Connections ” only and should be minimum 1400 pixels wide by 425 pixels high. I hope I don’t have to repeat this but just to be on the safe side: keep it professional. You may have been looking your absolute best as your sister’s bridesmaid but that is not going to establish you as a trusted source in your industry for your goods or services. If you don’t have products to showcase and your service is difficult to visualise you can do lots of creative things with this space. Check out this post on Social Media Examiner to get some great ideas. However as this LinkedIn user points out there are issues with the quality at which the images are ultimately delayed so don’t let it break your heart.

For those of you ready to shift up a gear, here a few additional things that you can do to raise your profile to the “All Star” level (LinkedIn’s nomenclature, not mine!)

Yep I'm a LinkedIn Allstar. My mammy is so proud.

Yep I’m a LinkedIn Allstar. My mammy is so proud.

  • Build that trust: LinkedIn introduced Endorsements in 2012 and the jury is still out, banging tables, calling for refreshments, asking to re-examine evidence and generally being taxed by my very stretched metaphor. My experience is that I only have one endorsement each for baking and crochet, two things at which I am excellent and 29 lovely people have endorsed me for SEO. My baking and crochet endorser has first hand experience of my baking and crochet (lucky lady!) but I would say not even half of those 29 have been exposed to my SEO expertise. My advice therefore is endorse those with whom you have worked for the skills they displayed during that interaction. However, don’t expect an automatic reciprocation. While a “One Click Endorsement” is easier than writing a full recommendation, it should be just as sincere.  You need it to be if you are to build that trust within your LinkedIn network and generate leads for your products or services. If you feel that endorsements you have received do not genuinely add to your profile, you can choose not to display them, by individual.
    1. Scroll to Skills & Endorsements.
    2. Click the Pencil icon beside any skill and this will open up a range of editing options for ALL of your skills and endorsements.
    3. You can add or remove Skills in the “Add & Remove” tab to the left.
    4. You can “Manage Endorsements” by clicking that tab to the right. This section allows you to remove the visibility of an endorsement from individuals or all endorsements for a skill.
    5. When done, click “Save” or “Cancel” to undo all changes.
  • Here’s something I made earlier:  Your profile includes a showcase section where you can upload and link to examples of your work online. Currently I’m showcasing posts that I have published on LinkedIn’s Content network (I’ll write all about this in a future post!) In 2012 LinkedIn also acquired Slideshare, an online publishing platform for slide decks.* If you link your Slideshare account to your LinkedIn account you can choose to display your content there on your LinkedIn profile. You can also highlight awards, publications, certification: all of which adds to your reputation on this network where 24% of Irish people have profiles.
  • Create a unique URL: URL stands for Universal Resource Locator which is just a schmancy way of saying web address (kinda…) Having a unique URL improves your search engine optimisation so that when potential clients search for you by name they will more likely find you. You could of course include your profession in this URL. If JohnSmith (no relation) is already taken, he could go with JohnSmithArchitect. To do this click “Profile > Edit Profile” from the black menu bar at the top of the web interface. Then you should have the option to edit your URL below your profile photograph. And again, keep it professional…!
  • Ch-ch-ch-changes: Possibly I should have mentioned this at the top of the article but on the web interface you can toggle whether to “Notify your network” about changes to your profile so that if you are doing the monthly housekeeping that LinkedIn recommends, you don’t have to shout this from the virtual rooftops. Toggle it to off (it goes red) and rock and roll!

Armed with these few tips I’m hoping to see some really rocking LinkedIn profiles. Let me know what changes you made and whether these changes have helped. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn yourself but please write me a wee note to let me know you popped over from here!

View Roseanne Smith's profile on LinkedIn
*I worked on an article about Slideshare and other digitial publishing platforms in 2013 for Pixel Design which is well worth checking out.

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