LinkedIn has seen a huge amount of growth over the past few years. In the past 6 years, the professional network has doubled, with more than 850 million now signed up to the app. Whilst it used to be the place to use only when looking for a job, today the platform is the best place to share ideas, network locally and globally, strengthen your professional relationships, develop your own brand and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career.
Ensuring that your profile is fully optimised is essential to maximise all of those benefits and is one of the most popular topics we get asked about at Tribal, regardless of industry or role.
Here’s our top tips on how you can go about that:
First things first, we always recommend reviewing your settings – there’s a lot to choose from, but spending 5 minutes ensuring that you are happy with the way your profile is seen and how you want LinkedIn to use your data is a good place to start.
A couple of key things we always suggest to our clients is to review their profile visibility, and if you have one, linking your Twitter accounts. Here’s how you do that:
Just like in real life, it’s important to make a good first impression and the digital world is no exception. LinkedIn research shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others.
Having the right photo is important, this is not the time to use your favourite social photo, but choose one that is a clear head and shoulder shot, ideally with a light background and approx.. 60% of the frame. You want people to be able to recognise you when they meet you, so it pays off to keep your photo up-to-date.
By adding your own LinkedIn banner, it comes with many benefits. It can help to create a good first impression, create an intention of what you will be posting about or help to solidify your personal brand.
Everyone has the same LinkedIn blue banner background but it’s a great idea to update this to represent your professional image. You can easily find free LI banner images online that you can download and then upload to your profile. More often than not, if you want to use a company image, your Marketing team should be able to provide an image for you to use.
If you’re on other social platforms for business, aim to keep your picture and banner consistent.
Whilst this is not the first thing people see, you want to make it easy for people to get in touch by adding your work email. Editing your URL to remove any extra digits is also something we recommend as it’s better when sharing your info on emails or presentations (or if you link your Twitter account).
The last thing we recommend is to add some websites – this could be the main company website, the blog link (if they have one) or a particular page that references your division. Always select ‘other’ when adding the website as you can add keywords, all of which help with SEO.
Just like the news (paper or digital), it’s the headline that grabs your attention so definitely spend time to get this right.
The default setting is your job title but you’ve got 120 characters to play with and using keywords that describe what you do, who you serve and how that helps them, all increase your chances of getting found.
Here are some examples of headlines that have been optimised – there are primarily 2 styles, one using a value statement and others using a succession of keywords.
Everything we’ve talked about is helping your search engine optimisation but most importantly, it’s making your profile more customer-centric and your About section is critical to this.
This is your chance to ‘tell your story’, not write your CV… We tell our clients ‘think about being an apple in a basket of oranges’. Figure out what differentiates you – who you are as a professional, what you do and who you are helping. Take advantage of the 2000 characters, offering a place to insert stories, keywords, highlights etc.
Writing in the first person makes your summary more of a conversation – this is also where you want to ensure you’re using any keywords and phrases that are important to you/your role that helps you get found.
We recommend aiming for 3 paragraphs, breaking it down into what you actually do and your knowledge and experience. Follow that up with more specific info on how you help your customers and what motivates you. We believe adding something more personal about you (hobbies, other professional or civil interests), helps you be that ‘apple’.
You can also finish up by asking people to reach out and connect, not just on LinkedIn but any other platform or your contact details – whilst they could find this in the ‘contact’ session, you want to do everything you can to make it easy.
Writing this section is likely to take some time and may take a few attempts but it’s the heart of your profile. If you get stuck, taking a look at other profiles that grab your attention always helps… the best thing you can do is write it and publish it , you can always edit later on if you decide it’s not quite right.
The Featured section allows you to showcase samples of your work to people who view your LinkedIn profile. This is a great way to shine a spotlight on your key achievements, skills and competencies.
You may be thinking, what could I add to my featured section? You don’t just have to add your LinkedIn posts, you can add videos, documents, website links as well as PDFs. Once you have added some content to your Featured section, you will then be able to alter how they are displayed, and re-order the content.
Skills & Endorsements
We know that most people landing on your profile won’t scroll down to here, but what you might not know is that it does help that SEO ranking.
You can tidy up your skills section by pinning your top 3 (think of those keywords again and if you can tie those into keywords in your headline, this bumps up the ranking), putting them in order and removing any that are no longer relevant or just creating a long, unnecessary list is quick and easy to do.
Just as with the skills section, giving and receiving endorsements can help with your professional brand and boosts your optimisation.
This all may sound like a lot to do but most of the recommendations are quick and easy and there’s no harm if you do a little at a time. Getting your headline and summary right is where it is worth taking more time but as said, you can continually review and edit.
Getting these areas optimised will give you the best foundation for using LinkedIn and if you’re in a Sales role, essential for helping build LinkedIn’s own SSI score.
Hopefully, our tips and videos have helped you on your journey with LinkedIn .. if you want to find out other ways to help optimise your LinkedIn activity, we’re often talking about this and more on our blog page which you can follow here.