When did you last update your Linkedin Profile?
Well, having used LinkedIn for some time now and viewed quite a large number of profiles, I can probably guestimate that your profile will need revisiting in one form or another.
The best way to set yourself up for success is by getting prospects to read your profile. This is the first start in any LinkedIn networking relationship. But the key to starting that successful relationship is getting the reader to want to know more about you.
I speak often to small business owners about LinkedIn and I’m quite surprised to see a lot of them not paying very much attention to it, putting it off or making some excuse about not having the time.
Just to put this in some kind of perspective, if you are in business – and even if your website is not up to date, your LinkedIn profile will be the first place a prospect will go to check you out! So YOU are the window to your business, and remember FIRST impressions count.
So here a few areas to focus on to make sure your profile accurately portrays you in the best light:
Let’s make this clear. LinkedIn is a professional platform for professional people. Therefore your profile image needs to be a professional image, and typical of you in your own business environment.
Do – make sure your image is recent, and reflects you within your business. It’s worth investing in having a professional picture taken that reflects you – hopefully with a smile too! Remember this is first impressions, make sure it’s a good one.
Don’t – put up your last holiday photo, of you up a mountain, or on a beach somewhere! It’s good that we all have holidays, but the impression then is that holidays are your priority over your business (and that you’ll always be away on holiday therefore difficult to get hold of). And don’t put up a “cartoon” version of you, or picture detailing your hobby (motorcycle? Ferrari? Etc). People connect to people, not to their hobbies! After all you want to be taken seriously. Sorry, but cartoons don’t cut it. This isn’t Facebook after all.
Write an Engaging Headline
Your headline can be your most powerful leveraging tool to connect. This is an area so many people can get it wrong. I see many “Managing Director of …” or “Associate Solicitor at …” or even worse it’s left blank.
Now the problem with these headlines is – so what? So what if you are MD of your own company or a solicitor of another. My point here is this is a huge opportunity to stand out from the crowd and be different. Don’t just blend in to all your competitors because you just won’t get seen.
Think about your core skills and your offering.
For instance, are you an Entrepreneur? What industry are you in? What are your specialities. Here are two “headlines” for people that do the same job:
a) Managing Director of ABC Widgets Ltd
b) Specialist Widget Fixer, Entrepreneur, Widget solver, co-founder ABC Widgets
So now – if I’m searching for someone who is a specialist in Widgets because my widgets don’t work anymore, then I’m more likely to contact the 2nd person than the first because it’s more personal and I can clearly see at a glance that they can more than likely solve my problem.
NB Your position here is irrelevant. Your specialist skills, however are paramount.
It’s also important to emphasise and embellish your skills.
Get your Summary right
An effective LinkedIn summary makes people want to engage with you and find out more about you, and ultimately have a one-2-one with you. You need to make sure that the summary you present matches your real-world self and is a true reflection of who you are.
First of all decide on who you want to reach out to, who your audience is and how you want to communicate with them.
Use the summary as an opportunity to show the value you can add to potential clients. Be clear on the value and benefits of the service you provide, and be careful not to fall into the trap of starting sentences with “I” too often. (I do this… I’ve done that etc). Remember this is for you to explain the benefits and value of what it could be like working with you.
- Be very clear about your goals and focus on what you have achieved.
- What have you accomplished that you’re most proud of?
- What are your values and passions that drive you in life?
- Can you support any of this with facts, figures and stats?
- What is different about you, why should people engage with you and not your competitors?
It’s well worth putting some time aside to get a little creative when you’re writing this. Your profile needs to make an impact, you want the reader to want to know more, so you need to start with content that is enticing. You could start with a “WOW” statement, or even a question.
Remember too when writing this that you can write in either the first or 3rd party, it’s a personal choice.
Also, your summary needs to have 2000 characters or less.
Finally, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to pepper your summary with images. You can upload images, documents and presentations to reinforce your expertise, skill and experience. Make the most of this, it’s a great way of bringing your Profile to life.
And last but not least, close with a call to action. How do you want a reader to contact you? What do you want them to do? Tell them where they can go to get more information about you and your services.