10 (+ 10 more) tips to help you create an All-Star LinkedIn profile
I have been preparing my LinkedIn profile to use it as one of my social media platforms of choice in 2017. This preparation has included reading many blogs and ebooks, attending a few workshops, attending seminars and one-to-ones with LinkedIn experts, watching videos and researching other profiles. I don’t now profess to be an expert, but I have learned a lot which you might find useful when creating or improving your profile.
Below is a list of 10 things (to see 10 more go to: www.linkedin.com/pulse/20-tips-help-you-create-all-star-linkedin-profile-giles-etherington?trk=prof-post) I either already knew or have learned, that have made my LinkedIn profile more effective. Hopefully, they will do the same for yours. Some are little things. Some are things you should be thinking about way beyond your LinkedIn profile:
1. Decide why you are creating a LinkedIn profile
Seems obvious, but I bet most people haven’t thought about it. For example, I want my profile to position me as an expert in creating and developing brands and therefore hopefully attract new clients. Your purpose may be different. You might be using it to find a new job. Or, you might want to use it to stay in touch with old friends and colleagues. You might be using it for new information and insights, to help you do your job better. By deciding what you are using LinkedIn for will help you create the best profile for that purpose.
2. Think of yourself as a brand
As a brand expert, this is how I think about most things. If I want the readers of my LinkedIn profile to, at some point, use me to help them create, develop or communicate their brand, then I want them to a) believe I am the right person, and b) like me. I use words like ‘believe’ and ‘like’ because creating a brand is about creating an emotional connection between you and your customer. Neurologists have proved that people make most of their important decisions using the emotional part of their brain. One of the strongest emotions you can get on your side is trust. Being believable and likeable is a short cut to instilling trust. Think about what emotional connection you can make with the reader. Dr. Tiffany Watt Smith, author of The Book of Human Emotions: An Encyclopedia of Feeling, from Anger to Wanderlust, says there are over 150 emotions and counting (like one of the latest ones: FOMO - fear of missing out). So, you have plenty to choose from.
3. Make your Professional Headline search engine friendly
My Professional Headline used to read ‘Owner at Brand Satellite’. OK, that is true, but what use is that information to potential clients? At least Brand Satellite sort of describes what the company does, but imagine if the company was called Etherington & Associates. It now reads: ‘Branding expert helping start-ups and SMEs with brand creation, brand development and brand communication.’ Much more useful. These are all terms that a) clearly describe what I do, and b) are search terms that potential clients may be using.
4. Use a professional looking photo - of your face
Rightly or wrongly, first impressions count. LinkedIn is a professional network, so make sure your profile Photo oozes professionalism. Save your action shots and fun selfies for Twitter and Facebook. Also, don’t use avatars or logos. This is an opportunity to make a human connection with your human customers. Your LinkedIn profile picture should be a head shot that represents what you look like now. A lot of people I spoke to during my research told me that they use LinkedIn to find out/remind them of what people look like before meetings and networking events (saving them from that embarrassing nonplussed look in reception, or at an event without name badges).
4N online member Claire Watson Photography offers a very reasonable profile photo service (Claire took the picture I now use).
5. Make your Current Experience, Previous Experience and Education relevant
The Header section might be as far through your profile as some people go. Below the Professional Headline, LinkedIn only shows three Current, three Previous experience listings and one Education listing. Are they relevant? If your education has absolutely no relevance to what you do now, consider leaving it off.
6. Make sure your Summary is talking to your target audience
This is essential to all marketing communications. The Summary section is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile. Think about who is reading it (or who you want to be reading it). What do you want them to learn from reading your summary? How are they going to benefit from what you say? Most people won’t read any further if you haven’t ‘grabbed them’. Don’t talk about what you do. Talk about what you can do for them.
7. Remember it is a single human being that is reading your Summary
Your LinkedIn profile is visible to three billion internet users worldwide! But every viewing is one, single human being. Make your Summary conversational. Imagine they are standing in front of you. Talk to them in the first person. ‘I can help you…’ is better than ‘Giles can help you…’. Being professional doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly.
8. Put a ‘Call To Action’ in your Summary
Finish your Summary with a call to action. Yes, there is a contact section on LinkedIn - which you should fill in too - but that is another click away. Make it as easy as possible for someone to get in touch with you by adding your contact details.
9. Add images and video to your Summary
You know what they say a picture is worth? Well, currently your LinkedIn profile will be a whole lot of words. Make it stand out from other people’s profiles with images and video. I know it’s easy for me to say because can just add the latest brand identity I have designed or the latest client video I have created. But you might have some product images or website images you can use (if you don’t, I would seriously consider getting some). As well as adding some much needed visual interest, images can portray more about what you are about than words alone.
You can also add video to LinkedIn. Have you got ads, how to videos, video testimonials you could add? If you haven’t, you should think about adding video to your marketing mix for 2017 (but that is a whole different blog). If you do add video, then you will probably do so by uploading it to YouTube first. Which is good news - after Google, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, so another chance of you and your business being found.
10. Make your Experience relevant to now (and make it interesting)
This might feel like I am repeating Tip No. 5. That was about making your Current and Previous experiences relevant in the header section. Now, I am talking about the Experience in the Background section. Remember what you are on LinkedIn for and tailor your Experience to help you achieve that. This section isn’t about everything you have done in your life. It is about everything you have done that is relevant to where you are now.
The fact that I used to work at Little Chef when I was at college, or packed lawnmowers as a holiday job is totally irrelevant to what I do now. So you won’t see it in my profile. Also, people aren’t going to spend ages on your profile, especially the further they go down the page. Keep it concise. You can be more descriptive and expansive in current positions, but the further you go back time, the more concise you should make it. Just highlight the highlights.
To see the next 10 go to: www.linkedin.com/pulse/20-tips-help-you-create-all-star-linkedin-profile-giles-etherington?trk=prof-post