LinkedIn is synonymous for interpersonal business connections. My LinkedIn homepage is mostly filled with “Harry is now linked to Sally”, “John is now associated to David”, etc. A small percentage of LinkedIn members use the tools beyond just starting connections. More businesspeople should start writing articles, answering questions, posting comments on others’ posts, and (gasp!) even asking for help.
1. Do not just copy and paste from your resume. This is a backward-looking document. LinkedIn displays your past experiences and more: Your present efforts and future goals.
Your rich experiences and how they contribute to your future and current abilities should be described in the same way you would describe someone you have just met. In short, digestible chunks, combine keywords with rich textual images and keyword-rich copy. Why? Your profile is your primary way to brand yourself as an authority, change agent, or business prospect for someone who needs you. You are the best person to give your brand color and depth. While referrals and recommendations are great, it is important to stand out from the crowd when someone is comparing your brand to another competitor.
My sessions have taught me that rich, searchable terms are essential to convey WHY you. It’s not what you do for your company. But what value you bring to the table with your unique perspective. You won’t be distinguished by a dull job description on your resume or website. Demonstrate how your past experience and how it has shaped you as a business partner. Also, communicate your future goals in a context of business development. Describe the qualities that make you attractive to potential clients and entice them to refer you for business.
2. Learn from the best marketers. Learn from people you admire. Use the smart words they use to create your personal branding.
Make sure you brighten up your LinkedIn profile by using your personal color. Present tense, first person (“I”) or “my”), and active voice are all acceptable. Tell the LinkedIn audience of more than 100 million professionals in your own words. This audience is very different from the one on the internet, FaceBook, Twitter, and blogs. People are turned off by stilted, artificial techno-jargon. Your story should be concise and clear. Are you a multi-business owner? In a short summary paragraph, combine the business descriptions. This will paint a picture about you as an active, dynamic, and integrated multi-preneur. You will instantly be more detailed and clear than your dull competitor’s LinkedIn profile.
3. Create a personal tagline. LinkedIn’s Professional Headline, a 120-character text line under your name, is your first impression. It is the foundation of your profile on LinkedIn.
Your professional headline is your brand. Make it interesting. It is important to craft it well and change it as your needs change. A 140-character tweet can seem daunting. 120 characters of self-description for your LinkedIn professional headline could be quite challenging. The 120 character limit also includes spaces. My clients have found this exercise in self-definition to be extremely beneficial. In order to rank well in search engines, the professional headline must be both keyword-rich and easy to read. This is especially important given our attention deficit. Although you may be a “VP Treasury” at XYZ Corporation, LinkedIn branding uses the following: “Seasoned corporate financial professional with more than 20 years’ experience in global treasury administration” (that’s 96 characters plus spaces; there’s room for up 24 characters to express who you really are! Isn’t it more interesting to see the extended version of their title at XYZ Corporation than their actual name?
4. Your polished elevator pitch can be put to better use. A well-crafted and polished self-description is the essence and position of what you do.
To attract potential connections, convert the text to LinkedIn’s Summary section. Only seconds are all it takes to grab the attention of the reader. Your second chance to be noticed is with a concise and insightful Summary. This summary complements the WHY YOU elements you have already communicated and strengthens your expertise and experience. It also demonstrates why you are worthy of further consideration for the business relationship. You can use industry jargon or acronyms here, but it is best to keep it simple. Talk to your audience by saying, “Here’s more about myself, now let’s dig deeper.” Also, be sure to check out my Experience section. Once the reader has decided that you are worth his/her time, you’re now on a roll.
5. Your background is what will make you stand out from the rest. Your personal SEO is driven by the Experience and Specialties fields. You can also add Google keywords to increase your search results.
Your past experiences, job by job, should be described. Highlight your skills in the area you work in, your personal interests and values. This will show that you are a complete person. You can use humor and cite a portion from your publication to show your passion for your profession. The Specialties, Skills and Certifications section is often overlooked. It’s a great place to show off your unique skills, knowledge, languages, and publications. You can show us if you have published electronically or on paper. You can also mention certifications or if you speak a foreign language in business. Even a client of mine asked me if my patent was important. I replied, “Yes, it’s a differentiator, showing an unique developed, earned and contributed aspect of your personality.” It directly reflects the experience she will always have.
6. A good photo is essential. You must have a clear photo of yourself, with a friendly and approachable face. This is an essential tool that will help you reinforce your brand.
After reviewing your profile, potential business contacts may phone you to set up a meeting. They can also view your LinkedIn photo and ask questions. You should be able to identify yourself in a coffee shop so that someone can meet you for the first time. Although you don’t need to take a professional headshot of yourself, it is still a good idea to have a digital crop. This will allow everyone to see your face. Professionally correct, no picture of you with your children, dogs, cats, or raising glasses at parties. Also, this is not the place to display your logo. Worst of all, you don’t have a photo at all. Your brand is your face.
7. Show your creativity and individuality by highlighting your ideas. Make your voice heard with the free LinkedIn apps.
SlideShare and/or Box.net are free LinkedIn apps that allow you to easily access your multimedia marketing materials. You can also add more depth to the profile by including white papers, brochures and slide decks. Creative Portfolio Display is a free LinkedIn application that allows you to add your portfolio of photos, 3-D art, architectural designs, interior design work, and more using 2- and 3-dimensional art. As you explore these amazing apps, take a look at all the other options and see if any can help you stand out from your competitors. LinkedIn updates its apps from time to time. Check back often to see new features.
8. Get a customized LinkedIn URL to complete your profile. Complete your LinkedIn profile and look your best to show who you are.
Do you really think you can do 75% of what you do? A 100% completed profile will boost your SEO in Google. If someone Googles you, it will rank you higher. You can complete your profile 100% by showing your current position, 2 previous positions, education, profile summary and photo. Also, you should include 3 recommendations from others. Instead of the default URL that was given to you when you joined LinkedIn, personalize your LinkedIn URL. Personalizing your LinkedIn URL is necessary if you see numbers or letters at the end. You can learn how to personalize your LinkedIn profile URL by visiting the Learning Center at any LinkedIn page. Search for “personalized URL” to find out more. This URL can be used on all your marketing materials, including your business cards and email signature lines. It will allow the reader to learn more about you through your LinkedIn profile. For graduates and job seekers, you can also include it on your resume!
9. Answer questions; ask questions. Answering questions with purposeful and thoughtful answers by others will increase your street credibilities, which will help you to be seen as an expert.
Answering questions for others is a great deed. It also makes you an expert in your field. It’s a good reputation to have. This will increase your reputation and build social capital within your network. Ask open-ended questions to select LinkedIn users, your connections, and certain LinkedIn groups. The results will be amazing! Ask questions to get the pulse on current thinking in your field. If you receive a stimulating answer, it is worth taking the conversation offline to meet or call the person for a valuable connection both now and in the near future.
10. Recommend someone and you will be recommended. LinkedIn makes it easy to ask for a recommendation and give a recommendation.
As a thank you for your outstanding work, make recommendations and include an anecdote about the unique character of the colleague. For a truly unique gift, surprise someone by giving a recommendation. Ask your clients, colleagues, vendors and partners for their recommendations. The writer should comment in his/her own words on a specific characteristic such as your dedication to a problem or your loving care during a difficult time. You should follow the “Halpert 22%” rule: 98% should like you, and 2% should be able to recommend you. You could be misunderstood if you get too many or too few recommendations. Be aware that you may be recommending someone to another person and then having them do the same for you on the same day. This is not professional or impressive. Give it a week to 2 weeks.
Your business is yours, and branding yourself to be different from the competition is one way of defining it. It takes years and fortunes of effort to make your business stand out from the crowd. Communicating on social media is easy, but creating the right impression can be difficult. These techniques are simple, can be done in small chunks and should be taken seriously. LinkedIn makes it simple to complete each of these tasks. Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard and long I worked to achieve my mastery, it would not seem so amazing at all.”
These are the steps you need to take in order to clearly communicate WHY you, your unique character and credentials. It is exciting and dynamic. They are easy for anyone to do. I’d love to hear positive feedback from you about your implementation of these tips and tricks.