Whether you want to sell more, position yourself ahead of a key meeting or be approached in the passive job market, then you need to understand what to do and how to manage your Personal Brand on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn today has serious Internet currency. According to LinkedIn’s press statistics, 2 people sign up to join LinkedIn every second. (6 months ago, that statistic was one person per second.)
LinkedIn is the Yellow Pages for professionals. We understand that the Google algorithm weighs LinkedIn heavily. This results in LinkedIn profiles being towards the top of a Google search. Today, ahead of most business interactions with anyone, there is a greater chance that someone, somewhere on the planet is researching you out online.
Therefore, one key element of your Personal Brand has to be your current and well-formatted LinkedIn profile.
Here are 6 quick wins that you can implement right now to improve your LinkedIn profile.
1. Use Keywords Effectively
As with Google, keywords are the phrases and words that match the terms that users type in to the search field so if you include ‘Digital Marketer’ in your LinkedIn profile, then when someone searches on LinkedIn for a ‘Digital Marketer’ your profile will pop up in the search.
The more specific the keyword, the more likely it is that you will come up in people’s searches.
Include as many keywords as possible in your Headline, Specialties, Job Titles, and Skills areas, – and use them naturally and colloquially – not just for SEO purposes.
2. Make Your Headline Interesting
The Headline is the first impression you make to your LinkedIn Profile viewers.
The more keywords in your headline, the higher LinkedIn will rank you in its search results. More people will find you. With sufficient substance in the Headline, you will make a positive impression to keep people inquisitive enough to read more.
Try to avoid generic titles such as HR Manager or Coach or Nurse. These are too generic. Instead, I recommend that you differentiate your Headline.
Use a Headline that signals the searchers to position you away from everyone else in your profession – using as many keywords – in point form as possible.
If you are a Nurse, also use Aged Care, Geriatric, Palliative Care, and so on.
3. Display a Professional Looking Profile Picture
If you only have text you leave your readers flat. Think about your own reading and attention habits. An article written in text only looks dull and somewhat daunting.
It’s the same with LinkedIn. A simple picture allows you to express your profile with personality. With a picture, it’s more likely people will reach out to you, too, when members see their daily updates and suggestions from LinkedIn.
With the proliferation of iPhones or Androids there is every reason to have a current, presentable head, and shoulder shot.
Look directly in to the camera to optimize engagement with your Profile viewer.
Whereas it's OK to have a Profile Picture on Facebook that includes you with your dog or your kids, it’s not appropriate with LinkedIn. This is a professional’s network.
If you have the budget, get a professional head and shoulders shot, ideally with a plain background.
4. Inactive LinkedIn Profile
Too many people think that once they load up their Profile on LinkedIn, that is all they need to do. In fact, that’s just the start. All active social media presence requires you to engage and update.
Check in at least daily primarily to see updates and news from your connections and network.
Update your status bar with a link to an article you think is worthwhile sharing with your connections (aligned to your Personal Brand) or update on a project you are working on.
Reach out to selected relevant Groups and engage in the conversation.
If you have your own blog or Twitter account , consider linking your LinkedIn profile to those accounts.
Note: The downside to Twitter is that it works on different ‘frequency’ and speaks a dissimilar language to LinkedIn. Tweeting has been likened to the chatter at a cocktail party – frequent, short, and somewhat superficial. That’s very different to LinkedIn, which is slower and more professional in tone and substance. Tweets however, are often full of #tags so you run the risk of your status updates in LinkedIn #looking #a #lot #like this. So think carefully if you want to link your Twitter account. It may turn some people off you. Then again, once people know your Twitter account, they might follow you, too.
5. Increase the Number of Level 1 Connections
LinkedIn allows you to connect with people 3 degrees away. What are degrees in LinkedIn? You are connected to Fred (1st Level) who is connected to Mary (2nd Level) who in turn is connected to Jason (3rd Level) . You cannot see who Jason is connected to (4th Level), unless you have bought a LinkedIn recruiters package. However, you can radically widen your own network by increasing the number of your 1st Level connections.
Connect selectively: With whom? I recommend you have a policy for ‘friending’ your friends and family on Facebook but a different and siloed set of professional connections on LinkedIn.
Widen your network: the more people with whom you connect, the broader the network you can reach and are exposed to. If Josephine has 450 1st Level connections, just by re-connecting with her, your 2nd Level connections have increased by that amount, let alone their now 3rd Level connections.
Selectively join groups: Once you do, then their Membership connects with your Profile.
6. More Recommendations
The more Recommendations you have received – and given – the better your profile will rank in LinkedIn search results.
* Seek out people who can genuinely give you a Recommendation.
* Ask the recommender to give tangible examples of a situation you encountered, what you did to face it, and the results you achieved.
* Ensure Recommendations are concise and relevant.
* Look to reciprocate where and when appropriate.
* Aim for a broad cross section of Recommendations across the roles/companies that you have dealt with.
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Learn more about Greg Weiss here.