LinkedIn is a great social media platform for entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals. Unfortunately, your LinkedIn profile may not be helping you make the connections you want.
So let’s tune up your profile with six simple steps:
Step 1. Revisit your goals. At its most basic level, LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. Think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn. But don’t just whip out a keyword tool to identify popular keywords. Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, and then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords industry insiders might search for.
Step 2. Layer in your keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience and educational background with keywords.
Step 3. Strip out the clutter. The average person has changed jobs six to eight times before they reach age 30. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline anything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but once worked in accounting, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting.
Step 4. Add in some personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality may get lost. Now add enthusiasm and flair. Share why you love what you do in your profile. Describe what you hope to accomplish. Remember, no one connects with keywords. People connect with people.
Step 5. Take a good look at your profile photo. A photo is a little like a logo. On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business. A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. The goal is for your photo to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at some killer party. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.
Step 6. Get recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked. The best way to build great connections is to always be the one who gives first.