I know, Linkedin isn’t the trendiest, or the newest, or the most exciting social network. Especially when compared to the meteoric rise of Instagram, SnapChat, and the godfather of them all – Facebook. But, Linkedin is poised to be the most important social network for professional development in the foreseeable future.
Believe or not, it is actually older than Facebook, and due to its niche focus on professionals, it is still the most popular forum for use among salespeople, managers, and entrepreneurs. If you want to maximize your presence, pay attention to these 6 elements of a flawless Linkedin profile.
1) A professional headshot
This is not the place to use the picture of you and your girlfriend at last year’s Halloween party. Consider Linkedin to be a virtual professional networking event. You want to present yourself in the best possible light, and that includes your appearance. Spend a little bit of money to have a professional headshot done. Ideally, dress in your typical work-attire. Meaning, that if you don’t normally wear a suit, don’t do it for this profile image either. Be yourself, but take pride in your public image.
2) Descriptive headline
This is where 99% of Linkedin users will simply list their job title, which tells nothing about what they actually do. If you’re looking to network with, and thus be found by, people in a specific niche, then you’ll need something more descriptive than “Account Manager”.
Instead, try something that is action oriented and lets others know exactly what you do and the value you provide. For example, instead of “President and CEO”, I decided to change mine to Social Media and Inbound/Digital Marketing Consultant for Growth-Minded Brands.
3) Keyword-rich summary
This is so that people can find you in search. The key is to do this without making it seem like you’re doing it. By this, I mean that your summary should still clearly explain what you do and be easy-to-read.
4) Actively engage connections
Engagement is the name of the game in social media marketing. Experts like Gary Vaynerchuk take this rule to the next level by reaching out to every single person who interacts with them across all their social networks. Since I like to recommend starting small, it would be perfectly reasonable for one to send a personal message to any new connections and anyone who comments on a post. Likes typically don’t warrant a personal response.
5) Publish original content
Linkedin recently rolled out the Publishing feature to all users and it has been a hit. Pro tip: I’m a big proponent of blogging via a self-hosted WordPress website, but Linkedin is a great place to syndicate content and re-publish older posts. Just make sure to wait at least 2 weeks after the original posting goes live. Also, tell search engines this is a repost by including some text like “This post originally appeared on…”.
6) Get/give recommendations
There is a fine art to asking for recommendations. These are not easy to come by, so it’s important to get the best bang for your buck. Consider sending a few questions to guide their thinking. This will make sure the recommendation has the most relevance for those viewing your profile.
Give recommendations as often as possible, especially when asked, but make sure to offer them as well. Will they actually help your performance? No, but they certainly feel good to get, and it never hurts to give as many as you can. Give lots of recommendations and you’ll be rewarded with them in return.