Home to more than 660 MILLION businesses and professionals across the globe, LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in the world. And that means that standing out from the crowd and above the noise on a platform with so much competition is not an easy task.
LinkedIn profile optimization requires creativity, an ample investment of time and research, and perhaps most importantly: the education to know what and when to do things to help YOU stand out in your industry.
This isn’t a post for members who need help getting creative with their profiles in an effort to be found. We’ve seen plenty of those articles around and we don’t plan on adding to the conversation unless necessary.
However, what we haven’t seen is very many in-depth glances at how you can make your LinkedIn profile the center of your career in attracting better leads, closing deals, drumming up business and even guiding your leads into the next stage of the buying process.
And it can all happen on your profile with this guide.
We can’t promise you overnight results. Nor can we guarantee that following each of these steps to the letter, rigidly, will result in an immediate uptick in sales and business growth.
What we can promise though is that following this guide and using your creativity and knowledge of your business to create effective strategies with these tricks will definitely help your business grow in the long run.
Are you ready for the long game? Are you in?
Let’s get started....
What Do I Stand to Gain By My LinkedIn Profile Optimization?
If you’re a social seller and you want to utilize LinkedIn for sales, (or maybe you already do!) It’s important to remember how LinkedIn works.
Your Profile is the first thing a connection or someone looking to connect will see.
It’s a gateway into your sales funnel if you position yourself correctly and perform proper optimization.
Your profile allows you to create an online persona. One that is unique to you and unique to your brand. An incomplete or otherwise unprofessional profile can either drive away potential business or lead to a negative view or your professional online persona. Something that is difficult to undo once it is done.
If you’re a job-seeker looking for help, here’s an important thing to keep in mind: your profile is your resume. You should treat it as such and fill it with that type of information. What work have you done for other businesses and companies? Highlight it here. Share your expertise and don’t just say you can do it. Show your audience.
If you’re a social seller, (after all, this article is about you!) your profile is less a resume and more the deciding factor for whether other professionals and businesses should work with you or move on to something else.
The more compelling, clear and informative your profile, the better chance you’ll be able to connect with others and receive the optimal engagement you’re looking to achieve.
Your profile is, in essence, your sales page. And you need to treat it as such. This doesn’t mean messaging as a new form of cold calling, but rather fostering real relationships with your connections and growing your sales over a set course of time rather than jumping into a “get rich quick” sales scheme that won’t actually get you anywhere. Or in some circumstances, just send you back where you can from.
But why should you bother improving your profile?
Think of it as a free opportunity for much more wild selling success on LinkedIn.
It’s worth it.
Your LinkedIn Profile Optimization is An Ongoing Process
While you’ll be adding updates and figuring out what works best in your industry for years to come, there are certain steps you have to take from the very beginning.
And we’re going to take these one at a time.
1. Optimize Your Profile Photo
This is the first impression that most people will get of you. Are you happy? Is it a high-quality photo or one someone snapped on their cell phone?
High-definition and well lit photographs are what you’re going for here. And positive energy should flow from it like wine from a bottle.
Do a quick survey of your profile picture and lookout for bad practices such as:
- Full body shots
- Low quality/blurry
- Dim lighting
- Negative expression
- More than a couple of years old
If you pass all of these checks, the next step is making sure your profile picture stands out. You’re not just another suit, dress or tie. You’re a business professional with something no one else has and you want to show it off.
The types of photos that work best to cut through the typical professional head shots include:
- Family shots: they can include a spouse, other family members or even mentors.
- Including a hobby: whether you’re playing your guitar, geared up for a rock climb, (or on top of it!) or out with your camera, showcasing your hobbies in this way can be a game-changer.
- On the job: Speaking at a conference? Shaking hands with your last big sale? Building something? Showing yourself in action is another great profile picture that stands out, looks great and does a much better job of attracting connections and business.
Just remember to keep it light, professional and creative.
2. Optimizing Your Cover Photo
Perhaps one of the most underutilized tools in the LinkedIn repertoire, your cover image will speak volumes about you by itself.
Whether you’ve left it to the default LinkedIn background or uploaded a blurry photo of your dogs, getting serious about ramping up your business growth means taking time to utilize your background photo.
The Best-performing LinkedIn covers include:
- Showing your audience interests you have and your personality
- Pitching and/or proving your credibility
- Utilizing something in your line of work or industry
LinkedIn Background images cannot be larger than 8MB and the recommended dimensions are: 1584 (w) x 396 (h) pixels. (Go ahead and copy this over to save somewhere or bookmark this page so you don't lose the dimensions!)
Custom design generators such as Canva, (HERE are 11 CANVA ALTERNATIVES | DESIGN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT) grant you the ability to design your background image and add text, animations, illustrations and more.
3. Your Headline is Everything
Writing a compelling headline takes a little skill and a lot of creativity. Think of it as a quick way to quickly- (think within seconds) capture someone's attention to help them want to take a closer glance at your profile and all it contains.
This is your opportunity to really give your audience a summary of why you're here and what you plan to accomplish.
You have a maximum of 120 characters to get your point across, so make the most of every letter and space!
98% of LinkedIn business professionals make the mistake of creating a headline that sounds boring or just plain unoriginal. Some good examples of headlines like this might include:
- "We're the #1 Accounting Firm in North America"
- "Data Scientist”
- “I Help Big Businesses Close Big Leads"
- “CEO at [enter company name]"
- "Marketing Specialist at [enter company name]"
- *insert other roles and boring taglines*
Yeah. You get the point.
Instead, consider using your role in conjunction with other things. These can include:
Something you have personally achieved in your industry, such as made X number of sales for X company in X amount of time, or even something personal about yourself, such as being a father, a leader in a particular organization or movement, or even something related to a hobby you enjoy.
You can also include a CTA like "Having X issue? I've got answers." or "Do away with X using [insert a particular answer or formula]."
4. Your About Section=A Great Place for a CTA
It might not seem like the place to call for action from your audience at first glance, but when you really think about it, this makes far more sense than just using posts or promoted content to lead your audience in a specific direction.
Your about section should ultimately be a closer look into the elements of your headline. A sort of, "This is who I am, this is my mission and this is what I can accomplish for YOU."
A good example of this would be:
"I do X to help [insert business or industry] get Y results FAST using Z formula. Interested in how you can get in on the action? Call me at [number] and I'll share just a few of my secrets to ultimate brand success."
5. Provide Proof of Your Experience
Compelling copy can go a long way, of course. But oftentimes the trick to successful social selling is just providing a little proof of your experience or work in your industry.
You will want to be clear and concise about what exactly you were doing and able to achieve at a specific company and then provide proof. Either through a case study, a blog post, pictures, certificates or similar documentation.
6. Showcase Your Achievements
Certificates, awards, licenses: all of these types of things absolutely belong on your profile and should be added as part of the optimization process.
Something you might be wondering about is whether to remove expired certifications. The answer is no. Just because it expired doesn't mean you don't still have the knowledge it can provide and you never know when that might come in handy.
If you're not sure how to add these things, here's a quick summary:
- Log in to LinkedIn.
- Click on your profile icon located at the right of the top navigation bar.
- Click on the “View Profile" option.
- In the bar across the top featuring your name, photo, and headline, click on the “Add profile section” below.
- A drop down menu will appear. Navigate to "Background,” then “Licenses & Certifications" where you can add details and new achievements. Within the backgrounds menu, you can also find a specific place to add honors and awards, languages, volunteer experience and more. We recommend adding these things to your profile.
7. Optimizing Your Personal LinkedIn URL
Maybe you didn't even know this was possible, but we're here to confirm it and help you optimize your personal LinkedIn profile URL.
This is especially helpful for making it easier for search engines to find your personal profile online when people search for your name.
It's best if you make it your name if that is how you wish to be addressed and found, however, others may wish to use a pseudonyms, a handle or a business name in it's stead. Which is fine, as long as the outcome and results fit your expectations.
An optimized and easy to navigate LinkedIn URL is perfect for business cards, portfolios, resumes, bios (both company and personal), email signatures and in some cases, proposals.
You can easily edit your LinkedIn URL by navigating to your profile and clicking on the "edit public profile and URL" button in the upper right hand corner. There you'll see a module for editing your URL and a pencil icon to begin the editing process.
Be aware: There is a 3 character minimum and 100 character maximum space for profile URLs. In addition, special characters, symbols and spaces are prohibited.
8. Sharing is Caring
Sharing relevant industry news and articles can provide your target audience with little known insights and information, which can put you in a place of "power" when it comes to your industry.
Elevating yourself within your given industry is a wildly effective tactic in driving engagement on your profile. And oftentimes, all it takes is helping your audience solve problems by providing answers.
However, just providing a link and going on your way is hardly enough. For optimal engagement; be sure to share how you feel about what the author is pointing out, or how certain industry news will effect your business and others going forward.
Sharing your own opinions, insight and information can drive traffic to your profile, increase your visibility across the platform, drive more engagement and garner further interest in your profession and position.
9. Add ALL of Your Skills
Big and small. You might be unaware, but LinkedIn has confirmed that profiles listing five or more skills get 17x more views than those who don't. So start listing those soft and hard skills ASAP!
P.S LinkedIn profiles with five or more skills also get 33x more messages.
Remember: hard skills are those that describe your capabilities, whereas soft skills are those that describe interpersonal attributes.
10. Adding Media to Your Profile
The goal is to make your page engaging and attractive to visitors who happen upon it. You can do this with the help of media.
Media doesn't live in the feed, but rather in the CV section of your profile page. This means that you'll want to shoot for more evergreen content.
Things like case studies, press releases and customer reviews are all things that work especially well on your profile and will help attract and engage customers after they arrive. It also helps your profile to stand out from the crowd and appear more professional, open and engaging.
11. Incorporate Keywords, But Don't Keyword Stuff!
Incorporating industry-relevant keywords into your profile can really give your profile the boost it needs to get found on the platform and on search engines during relevant searches.
However, overdoing it can result in your account being flagged for spam or being ignored.
A well put together and well optimized LinkedIn profile will significantly increase your connection acceptance, will drive viewers and engagement to your profile and will overall make it easier to reach your social selling goals.
Yes, you'll have to spend a bit of time optimizing and updating your profile and maintaining it for maximum benefit, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Do You Need Social Selling Help?
We're fully-equipped and prepared to take on the role of social selling assistant for your business. By utilizing creative research, constantly staying up to date on the latest and greatest optimization techniques and utilizing our creative production and copy writing team, your profile will be standing out and standing proud with minimal effort on your part.
Are you ready to start selling more, doing more, reaching more people and growing your personal brand and business?
Let's get in touch and get you started on the road to social selling success.