With almost 475 million members, more and more people are realizing the power of LinkedIn to boost their personal or business profile, be seen as an industry expert, and drive leads and opportunities.
Where once LinkedIn was a place to host your résumé and make a few interesting connections, the world’s largest professional social media platform has become an essential personal branding tool and a fantastic business marketplace.
LinkedIn continues to evolve at a rate of knots and it can be tough to keep up with the changes. But one thing remains consistent: your personal profile is the cornerstone of your efforts on LinkedIn and should be fully utilized to ensure business success.
As a small business owner, there has never been a more important time to optimize your LinkedIn profile to showcase expertise and promote your company. Here are four key steps you need to take.
Upload a New Photo
Keep it simple, engaging and professional. Nobody wants to see you out drinking with your buddies or dressed up for a night out with your other half.
If possible, have a professional photo taken. Ensure you smile, have your face fill the image dimensions, wear business attire or smart casual, and opt for a plain background so the focus is on you, not the building behind. A rookie error is not using a profile picture at all, which gives the perception that you’re hiding from something or someone.
Optimize Your Headline
Gone are the days of simply posting your job title and the company you own or work for – LinkedIn has moved on and your headline should too. A keyword-driven headline is vital to attracting attention to your profile and it’s the first thing people see when they find you. It’s a shortened, 120-character version of your overall profile and it needs to rank well in searches on LinkedIn and beyond.
Optimize your profile with the main industry keywords that describe your work and what you want to be known for – a headline like this will ensure people that find you choose to connect. Consider using adjectives to describe your position, add bullets or icons to separate the words, plus include relevant activities, accomplishments, and experience.
Another option is the statement headline where you talk about your value proposition, target audience, and unique selling point. For example, Brands and Business Turn to This Experienced Creative Producer to Manage Events That Deliver.
Craft a Powerful Summary
Alongside your headline, the summary is one of the most important elements of your LinkedIn profile and gives your viewers an outline of who you are. You can either use it as a chance to engage and sell to your target audience or provide information about what you do and how your business helps others.
The trick to writing a great summary is to make it visually appealing by breaking the content up into easily scannable chunks, using bullets and capitalized text to draw attention to certain points, and including links and a call to action (contact me, email me, visit my website) at the end.
One way to write your summary is to tell a unique story about you and your work, so start with a brief background (who you are and what you do) and your mission or purpose in work, then talk about your target audience and their potential pain points. Once the problem is out there, reveal how you will fix this (what you can do for them) and give a quick example to demonstrate credibility (key achievements; high profile successes). Finally, make sure you give your business website address, email and even a phone number – and watch those leads come rolling in.
Build in Multimedia
LinkedIn gives you the ability to add images, presentations, and videos immediately beneath your summary and in your experience sections. It’s a chance to boost your online presence by including a visual element, rather than rely on just plain text.
Simple and effective, consider uploading anything that showcases the work you’ve done, the business you operate, and the successes you’ve had to create a visual profile that shows off the creative side to you. For example, an image of you public speaking or a video case study of a favourite client.