LinkedIn, as one of the oldest social networks in the space, is still one of the most important and valuable. Once regarded as a resume holder, LinkedIn has emerged as a robust network aiming to connect you with the business world.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional networking site, with over 200 million members in 200 different countries. The fastest growing countries are Turkey, Colombia and Indonesia. The most populated industries present on LinkedIn are Information & Technology (4M), Financial Services (2M), Higher Education (1.95M), Computer Software (1.65M) and Telecommunications (1.59M).
LinkedIn is so powerful for B2B leads and opportunities that you should take it very seriously. The first and foremost thing you should do is complete your profile. According to a recent study, just about half of all profiles are sitting incomplete on LinkedIn. I hope you aren't one of them. Whether you have a complete or incomplete profile, these 11 tips will help you optimize your profile for maximum exposure and set you up for some serious LinkedIn engagement. Remember, there are 200 million members and you want to stick out. Simply completing your profile will increase your chances of being found.
1. Make Your Profile SEO and Keyword Friendly
There are over a billion searches a year on LinkedIn. While it's true that many of these people search for individuals and companies, they are also searching keywords. These LinkedIn search results are sorted by "relevance." Relevance is LinkedIn's very own algorithm. Your 1st degree connections will show up first (something to remember when deciding whether or not you should accept that connection). Of the 1st degree results, those with a completed profile will show up first. The next category is 2nd degree, then 3rd degree connection. These results are followed by people you are connected to in groups (another reason you should be involved in groups), and finally by "everyone" else.
The keywords you use should range from broad to very targeted. As you never know what someone is looking for, use as many keywords that relate to you and your business as possible. You can put these in a variety of different places. According to blogging4jobs.com, where you put these keywords matters. Keywords in your name, headline, company name, job title, and skills rank highest. With that said, make sure you are populating these areas with the terms you want to be found for. LinkedIn allows you to have 50 skills. Use them all.
Another place to populate your keywords is in your job experience section. This can be past and current. Putting "Marketing Manager at so and so," is not enough. Go as into depth as you would in your resume, and fill it with your experience. LinkedIn is your place to brag. No one will judge you for it. Or at least I won't.
2. Headlines Matter
Your headline is the first thing someone will see about you. Make it catchy. "Social Media Manager" is not enough. There are thousands of us out there. What differentiates you? What makes you special? What do you want to be known for?
My headline has been a selling point for me. By using more specific terms, and a variety of them, I show up more often and I appeal to a variety of different searches. My headline is Social Media Engager/ Influencer Marketer/ Community Manager/ Brand Cheerleader/ Content Curator—all things I can do to help grow your business.
Make your headline as catchy as possible. Lure prospectives in with your headline and wow them with your expertise.
You can also add your email in your headline so that people can contact you directly without having to go through LinkedIn. Oftentimes, you must know someone's email in order to contact them. This is a way to go around obstacles such as these and open yourself up for as many inquiries as possible.
3. Show Yourself
One thing I dislike more than anything is a profile without a face. Your face is important. It shows who you are and that you are real. Beyond coming up in the search more often, you are also going to give members that trust factor that is often missing from social networks. This picture is important. It should give other members a good representation of you. I'd stay away from group shots, party shots, and shots that you cut others out of. It doesn't have to be a professional photo, but it should be clear and, most importantly, a depiction of you.
Now, you might be saying, "I take horrible pictures." I say, bollocks! You are who you are and people love authenticity.
4. Add Endorsements
Endorsements are one of LinkedIn's newest features. Many call it LinkedIn's version of the Facebook like. While it might not be that important for the search feature, it does add credibility to your profile. People will endorse you for skills that you set. If you get endorsed, click on the option to add it to your profile.
It is also nice to endorse others as a thank you. Remember, social media is a two way stream. It's not all about you. The more you engage with others, the more they will engage with you.
5. Add Recommendations
Recommendations are mini testimonials that people give you who have worked with you. You can request them via LinkedIn. It's another way to build credibility to you and your work. Remember to return the favor when someone gives you a recommendation.
6. Make Your Profile Robust With Information
LinkedIn allows you to add a lot of different documents to your profile. You can attach images, videos, slideshare presentations, and documents to your summary. This is a good feature to embrace if you want to show your experience with real life examples. If you are a public speaker, you can add a video of your sizzle reel. If you are a graphic designer, you can add your portfolio. If you are a writer, perhaps a chapter of your book might be something of value. Consider presenting whatever you can give out to prove your experience is a good thing.
7. Showcase Your Achievements
LinkedIn gives you the option to add your projects, languages, publications, honors & awards, test scores, courses, patents, certifications, and volunteering & causes to your profile. In many cases, this will add a lot of value to your profile. If you have taken a business course that will put you ahead of your competition, add it here. If you are currently unemployed, the volunteering section might be of value to you because it shows that, while you may be out of work, you are still doing something. Like I said before, it is okay to brag on LinkedIn. Show us what you are made of!
8. Link Your Company Page To Your Current Work Information
By linking your company page to your current work information, you are given the opportunity to cross promote yourself with your business and vice versa. Of course, this means you will have to have an updated company page or, at the very least, a company page on LinkedIn. I'll get into that in a different blog post, as it is very important.
9. Update Regularly
Now that you have a kick-ass profile, show it off. By updating regularly, you are increasing your engagement with the LinkedIn community. But even more importantly, you are going to show up on news feeds regularly, which keeps you relevant and noticed. Update your status with news articles, company updates, blog posts, and updates about you. The key to a good social media engagement strategy is to be consistent and to consistently show up on news feeds. This will do it.
10. Accept & Add Contacts
The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to show up in the search results. Add people by searching for different keywords. If they read this article, they will probably have a good profile and will show up on the top of the search results. These are the types of connections you want to have. You can also import your address book and connect with people you already know. Don't forget to make a personalized note with your contact request. It's a nice touch, believe me.
11. Start Conversations
Social media engagement begins with conversations. Start them in groups, in your updates and on your company pages. Conversations are a crucial part of your success.