How to Optimise Your LinkedIn Profile
“How do I optimise my LinkedIn profile?” is one of our most common questions and it’s never been more important.
You never get a second chance at a first impression and your LinkedIn profile is the first thing that people will look at when they decide whether or not to connect with you.
This, of course, is one of the reasons that you need to make sure your profile looks great but, there is another, more important reason.
Do you know who’s looking at you? It’s important to know who is looking at your profile and why. This is where you discover if you are getting to the right people with your activity on LinkedIn.
So, how do you know who’s looking at you?
Step one – Go to ‘view profile’
Step two – Scroll down to your dashboard
Step three – Click on ‘Search Appearances’
Step four – You will see companies, seniority and keywords searched
Ask yourself, is this what I want to be searched for? If your keywords aren’t right, something needs to change.
LinkedIn acts in the same way as Google. When someone places a keyword in the search bar, LinkedIn will search through the most relevant profiles by picking up on these keywords in your profile and content. If your keywords aren’t there, you are not getting found.
So, how do you optimise your LinkedIn profile?
You may think your name is self-explanatory but it’s important that you are easily identifiable by people who know and meet you.
What name do people know you as? Do you shorten it? What’s on your business card?
If your name is Charles but you are known as Charlie, then Charlie should be the name you use on LinkedIn and on your business card. When someone is looking for you, they will search the person they know so make sure that’s what they find.
There is a huge misconception around your profile headline. Most users will assume that it needs to state their current job title or company. This is where most will miss out on huge opportunities. There is a section below to state that information, your headline needs to stand out and attract attention.
The aim of this section is to be visible when people search for someone in your industry. It’s a chance to stand out and put yourself above your competitors.
You have 120 characters to play with so think about the message you want to get across.
Over the last couple of years, LinkedIn users have toyed with this, but they are still making huge mistakes. We have seen many charismatic headlines, but they don’t get found when people are searching. The reason is simple.
How you describe yourself is important. Think about what you would search for in Google if you wanted to find a person or industry.
A social media expert can provide many services. We are naturally creative people so it stands to reason that we would want our headline to be creative. However, if we don’t keep it simple, we don’t get found.
Say it as it is!
What would people search for in Google if they were looking for your product or services? That’s what you need to use in your heading. 3-4 keywords or phrases and a statement of how you can help at the end.
Note – Statement of how you can help. Not what you are selling!!!
They say a picture paints a thousand words and that certainly applies to LinkedIn. If you don’t get this bit right, the chances are, your audience will disconnect and not even look at the rest of your profile.
Regardless of your personality or industry, it’s important to remember that this is a professional platform.
It is highly recommended that you have a professional headshot taken. However, if that isn’t an option then there is nothing wrong with asking someone to take a picture on a phone.
- Stand against a clear background. There shouldn’t be any distractions and face the camera. No side images
- Show your personality
- Be you
Always have a cover photo. Get rid of that blue background with stars on it. It’s going nowhere!
Your cover photo should be an ‘action shot’. Something that really depicts what you do. Paint a picture, tell a story and let it invite your followers in.
Your public URL
When you create your profile, LinkedIn will automatically generate you a public URL and it appears at the bottom of your profile. It’s likely to be long and contain random numbers.
Change it! Keep it simple. Ideally, just your name.
Step one – Go to settings and privacy
Step two – Go to privacy
Step three – Scroll down to;
Step four – Choose your new name
Don’t forget to put your LinkedIn URL on your business card!
If you’ve got your headline and picture right, your audience will continue to read your summary. Lots of businesses fail to take advantage of this and it’s a real opportunity to let people know what you can offer. It’s important to keep it simple. Be precise and to the point.
One of the mistakes lots of business owners make is they fail to add personality. LinkedIn has moved on from its traditional “CV” look and it’s now acceptable to show a little passion and character in your summary.
It’s hard to know what to write and this puts people off, but the summary is important and should not be neglected. Make it easy for yourself by having a structure.
Split it in to 5/6 sections;
- About you and your company
The first paragraph should tell your audience a little about yourself and the company you own or are involved with. How did you come to work there? What drove you to make a change? What are the core values behind the business?
- How can you help?
This is not an opportunity for a sales pitch! This is about the value you can add to another business or person.
There is a difference between features and benefits and this section is all about the benefits.
Break them down. Bullet points work well. For example;
I will build your brand online and elevate your profile while you focus on the core elements of driving your business.
I will hold your hand and show you to create an online profile that will be the envy of your competitors.
- Community or voluntary work
If this doesn’t apply to you don’t worry, you have plenty of other things to say. However, if you are involved in any community or voluntary work then shout it from the rooftops. Be proud of your extra-curricular activities and show your passion.
- Awards and achievements
If you have been fortunate enough to win an award, then put that in your profile but there are plenty of other achievements in business that are important to us and we don’t shout about them enough. Now’s the time. This is a place to show off your talents so list any achievements.
The same as keywords are important in your headline, they are important in your summary and your last paragraph should list everything you specialise in. This will help when it comes to being searched.
You have 2000 characters to play with and the more you can put in your summary the better. Try to use the same keywords throughout your summary that you used in your headline (as long as it makes sense).
- Call to action
If you don’t tell people what you want them to do, they won’t do it. It’s that simple! If you want them to call you, add your phone number at the bottom of your summary. If you want them to connect with you, ask them to connect, if you want them to download your free guide, tell them how to do it.
So many people miss an opportunity with this section. LinkedIn is laid out like a CV. It makes sense due to its roots. The majority of users assume that they should explain their past experience but is it relevant?
I’m not saying that you should bypass your previous life entirely, if it led to where you are today then of course, it’s important to show your experience in your chosen field but, there is another opportunity to really show your audience what you offer.
Remembering that LinkedIn is all about keywords and relevant content, if you offer several products or services, now’s the time to share that information.
Break it down by job titles. For example, IMC Pro Solutions offer;
- Social Media Account Management Þ Social Media Training
- Social Media Coaching
- Social Media Public Speaking
- Social Media Content Club, among other things. So, I break it down and turn it in to job titles.
This gives me the opportunity to put far more keywords into my profile and really drill down the services that I offer.
This is a top tip. Don’t miss out!!!
LinkedIn automatically allocate you skills based on the information you feed it, but rarely does it apply to what you do. My advice is to get rid of the skills that aren’t relevant and replace them with those that are.
This is another opportunity to add keywords to your profile.
You can now add links and videos to your profile. You can also highlight your blogs and content that you want people to access easily.
This is a great way to engage with your connections as we all love something visual. If you have a branding video, then insert the link, a blog you want to highlight, add it in. It’s a great opportunity to show what you’re about, so use it.
If this applies to you then state any kind of voluntary work, you have done or are currently doing. It doesn’t matter if it relates to your role, it could potentially help you to raise money, but it will certainly raise your credibility and character.
If you have written a book, an e-book or featured in a newspaper or magazine, there is a section in your profile where you can add this in. It’s great exposure for you and your business.
Other top tips
- Link Twitter to your profile
- Make sure your email address and phone number are added
- Insert a call to action. (You can add links where it asks you for your website address)
There has never been a better time to optimise your LinkedIn profile. Take it one step further and understand how to trend on LinkedIn.
You know where I am if you need me!