LinkedIn has transformed itself over the past couple of years. It’s not just the place you haphazardly toss your resume up onto when you’re looking for a new job, nor is it the professional equivalent of Facebook. You definitely can and should use LinkedIn for that nowadays, yes, but the real focus is on social selling: promoting your personal brand and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
That phrasing may sound intimidatingly grandiose, but it really isn’t. In fact, outside of actually filling in your LinkedIn profile, everything else you can do to improve your presence on LinkedIn comes down to quick and easy details. Here’s 5 you can do in less than 60 minutes!
Would you be able to easily recall a website if its URL consisted only of random numbers and symbols? Probably not! Customizing your public profile URL to reflect your first and last name makes your profile more shareable and memorable.
LinkedIn Profiles tend to look pretty plain: black text on a white background on a gray page. So, how do you stand out? With interactive media, of course! You can upload samples of your work or other media, including youtube videos and blogs, that support your professional views and/or industry. These elements will make your profile more engaging, and therefore more memorable to whoever is browsing it. They might even start as a conversation starter.
By default, your profile Headline will automatically change to the title of your current/most recent job position. That’s great – until you think about how many other LinkedIn members out there have the same one. Since your Headline is one of the first things people see on your profile and in any InMails you send, you need to treat that space as your 15 second elevator pitch.
For example, if you’re a Salesman of IT products, you and everyone else in your team may have a headline of “IT Sales Professional.” If someone were to receive an InMail or look at your profile, they may think I don’t want to deal with someone trying to sell me something right now! and navigate away.
But if you were to change that to something more inviting to your potential customers, it may just be the hook you need to draw them in further. Something closer to “Empowering Business Professionals with Innovative Cloud Tech Solutions” shows customers you care about them, who you’re aiming for, and what services you offer. If someone has been thinking about looking into cloud solutions, they will be much more likely to reach out or answer you with a headline like this!
Background photos are just another easy way to make your profile stand out. Instead of the plain blue background, you could choose something closer to home, such as your city’s skyline or even something to do with your company! Just make sure it’s relatively simple so that the focus remains on your profile itself. You wouldn’t want to put up a ‘Where’s Waldo’ image – unless you were Waldo, of course. Then that’d be pretty cool.
This is the tip that I’ve had many people argue against. “Isn’t that creepy?” They ask. “No,” I say, “That’s a LinkedIn feature.”
I understand the concern, though. If you’re caught looking at a potential customer’s profile or maybe even a competitor’s salesman’s profile, you don’t want them to know you’re researching them. For some it’s a privacy thing – for others, it’s a pride thing. No matter what it is, this thing is hurting the potential of your personal brand.
Maybe a few people will see it as creepy. Maybe a few people will be amused that their rival(s) are referencing them for tips. But the majority of people will not know you and click out of curiosity, meaning you’ll get an increase in traffic to your profile – and, by extension, the more you’ll show up in other people’s related profiles. This means that your LinkedIn profile will have an increased audience of potential customers who can see how many of a knowledgeable expert you are in your industry. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.
This article may be titled “Things You Can Do In 1 Hour”, but the truly computer savvy can get it done is maybe 20 minutes tops. If you have any other quick tips for improving your presence on LinkedIn, share them in the comments below!
Jason is a 20+ year marketing veteran including time spent at Microsoft overseeing social media for Microsoft Advertising & Office for Mac. Once named to Forbes Power Social Media Influencers List, Jason is the owner and founder of Socialistics.