In his book Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business, search engine optimization and online marketing expert consultant Ted Prodromou explains how you can use LinkedIn to quickly engage with ideal customers, partners, and employees, showcase your company and attract new opportunities. In this edited excerpt, the author offers some key tips to help you create a LinkedIn profile that gets people clicking.
When people search the internet for your name, your LinkedIn profile will most likely be one of the top search results, so you want to make a great first impression. Your LinkedIn profile provides people with a comprehensive summary of you, your education, work experience, and your achievements. Your LinkedIn profile also links people to other social media properties and websites where you can showcase your expertise.
Your LinkedIn profile consists of:
- Your headline
- Your photo
- Status updates
- Vanity URL
- Additional information
- Personal information
- Contact information
These sections are particularly important to your LinkedIn image:
1. Your headline.
Your profile headline is the single most important part of your profile. It will appear next to your name in the search results. As your name appears in the search results, your headline must be compelling enough to make people want to click on your profile to learn more about you. You should never put just your name and company name in your headline.
2. Your photo.
It’s very important to use a professional picture in your LinkedIn profile. First impressions are very important, and people will judge you within a few seconds when they see your LinkedIn profile. Save your casual pictures for Facebook and Twitter. The best LinkedIn profile pictures are engaging and inviting. I recommend a headshot focusing on your smiling face. Your profile will be associated with your company so you want to present a consistent, professional image and not avatars, caricatures, or other images that aren’t congruent with the image you’re establishing for you and your business.
Never use your company logo as your personal profile picture. First, it’s not engaging and doesn’t give people a chance to get to know you. Second, it’s a violation of the LinkedIn End User License Agreement.
Your current position and your past three positions will be displayed in your profile. Up to three additional positions will be displayed if the viewer clicks on View All.
Make sure you add a brief but clear description for each position. Use your target keywords in your description, so you’ll be found when people search for your skill sets. If you’re going to use the Request Recommendations option, I recommend sending personal invitations to one person at a time something along the lines of this:
I’m sending this to ask you for a brief recommendation of my work that I can include in my LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks in advance for helping me out.
LinkedIn is about building strong personal connections, and using automated tools is not the way to build a strong connection with me or with others. If you want a good recommendation from someone, take the time to write a personal invitation, and you will receive a much better recommendation than you would from a mass invitation.
When asking for a recommendation, make sure you include personal details about how you met, projects you’ve worked on together, and other details about your working relationship. Specify exactly what you want in the endorsement, such as a specific project you worked on together or to highlight a certain skill set of yours. Some people even prefer that you send them a brief endorsement you’ve written about yourself they can edit or modify to save them time.
Notice you can create another professional headline in your Experience section. This lets people instantly get to know you and learn how you can help them when they view your profile.
4. Contact information.
This is the section where you can add links to your website and blog, which will generate lots of web traffic and help your search rankings. Links from popular sites like LinkedIn are very valuable, so you want to use this trick when you enter your website or blog URL.
One of the most common mistakes people make when adding their website or blog URLs is to choose one of the default options like Personal Website or Blog. Choose Company Website so it displays Company Website instead of your actual company name or target keyword phrase. This helps add valuable links and keyword phrases in your LinkedIn profile that will help your Google search rankings.
LinkedIn also lets you add social media feeds to your LinkedIn profile. This lets your profile visitors see what you’re up to on the social media front, such as on Twitter or Google+.
One of the newest additions to your profile is “Publications,” where you can display your published books. To use this section, you must have a valid ISBN number for your published book. Your publication listing includes your book title, publisher, publication date, and a description of your book. You can also add a link to your website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any other website where people can purchase your book.
Your LinkedIn profile is now optimized for the search engines and is ready to promote.