LinkedIn is a great professional social network for business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers. The first step in making connections and engaging with your target audience is having a fully optimized LinkedIn Profile.
I have outlined a ten steps for you to use to create an effective and engaging Profile to help you promote yourself and what you do to others?
Here’s 10 Tips to Help You Create Your Own All-Star LinkedIn Profile
Headshot – I recommend you upload a professional looking headshot that shows how you want to present yourself to the world. (Remember Toto, you are not on Facebook anymore.) So forget about using the cute pictures of you with your kids, your spouse and/or your pets. It’s best to use an image taken by a professional photographer, but you can use your smartphone or webcam too. Make sure you get a shot containing a clear image and pay attention to the background. Try to choose a background that is not distracting and one that compliments your hair color and skin tone.Avoid using selfies or grainy, pixelated images.
Most people on LinkedIn will not connect with you if you haven’t included a photo of yourself. Many LinkedIn users will not connect with those using a Logo for their Profile image. Remember, this is a way for you to connect with other people in business – show us who you are!
Profile Background – Design one that defines who you are or what you do. You can use Canva, PicMonkey or similar online graphic design platform to design a customer Background image or a digital image that you’ve taken or that you are licensed to use. Currently the best resolution is 1400 x 425.
Headline – Create an Interesting Headline. Your headline shows up on LinkedIn beside your photo and under your name and it follows you everywhere on LinkedIn. Use relevant keywords that describe what you do instead of your current job title. This is a place to showcase your skills. Use the pipe “|” symbol to separate keywords because it gives your headline a cleaner, more attractive look.
Custom URL – You’ll find your LinkedIn URL in the section under your Headline. Think of what you want to use to customize it – to make it yours! Some suggestions are to use your name if it is available, or your primary keyword that relates to your business or skills, or you can use your business or company name if it is available.
Summary – Create an Engaging Summary that is relevant to what you do currently. You should address the question What’s In It For Me at the beginning of the summary. State your passion or what pain points you solve for your ideal client and use the language or keywords that they will recognize and relate to. Tell us about the benefits we will receive from using your products or services. Placing a Call To Action at the end of your summary is highly recommended.
The format should be short paragraphs or you can insert bullet points to feature your skills or keywords that describe what you do. Remember, most people who view your profile will scan it so make it easy to read and not too lengthy.
Incorporate Multimedia – Video – You can add video on your Profile so think about a video introduction about yourself or your business. You can upload images, pdfs and other documents that explain what you do. If you have created SlideShare presentations, you can include a link to them on your Profile.
LinkedIn Pulse – did you know that you have a free blog available to you with your LinkedIn account? Yes, it’s available with your FREE LinkedIn account! Found under “Profile” on the top menu, you will go to “Updates” and then click “Publish a post” button to create a new Pulse post. You can also save your posts as drafts and return to complete and publish them at a later time. It has a WYSIWYG editor, you can tag your post with up to three (3) categories, and include a featured image.
LinkedIn Pulse is a great place to create and publish blog content on LinkedIn and when you do, your blog post image appears on your Profile with a link to that specific blog post. This is an effective way to distribute your content on LinkedIn and it adds to your credibility as expert on your Profile.
Work History –Some people have used LinkedIn as a digital resume, but I don’t recommend this for business owners, entrepreneurs or freelancers. You should NOT include a complete chronological resume here. Add only the Work History that is relevant to what you are doing now in this area. You can add media here too! Consider displaying a portfolio of your completed projects here. Pay close attention to details and be honest. There is no room for exaggerations on LinkedIn. Remember, someone with whom you’ve worked with previously will see what you have said.
Skills & Endorsements – Use keywords to add all skills that are relevant to what you do now. List only skills that you want to emphasize. You can list up to 50 Skills. This is a great way to show those viewing your Profile what you can do. Get endorsements from people who are know your work and what you can do. Anyone can give you an endorsement but it’s important to only accept the ones that you’re comfortable with.
Recommendations – Ask for Recommendations from clients who have enjoyed working with you or those who were satisfied with your work. Recommendations give you instant credibility, so don’t overlook this great feature that’s available in LinkedIn. When requesting a recommendation from a former colleague or supervisor that you worked with a long time ago, you should remind the person of what you’ve accomplished with them so they will recall what to talk about in the recommendation. You may be asked to give a recommendation and you should give honest recommendations that you feel comfortable with providing. You are under no obligation to give a recommendation but unless you have a valid reason why you can’t in good conscience recommend someone, take a few minutes to do it.
You should review and update your Profile regularly. Once you’ve created your All-Star Profile, it’s time to make more connections and join some groups that you want to interact with.
Do you have questions or need someone to help you create or update your LinkedIn Profile? Feel free to contact me with your questions by clicking here!