After my questionable similes in the last blog, I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for LinkedIn a little bit. In this next one, I want to give you some tangible advice that you can skip off with and start improving how you’re using the platform to build your professional community, increase your career opportunities, and even (gasp!) attract some warm leads.
Before anything else - and I mean it, or all the effort will go to waste - you need to fix your profile.
“What?” You cry. “But my profile is fine!”
I bet you a double shot soya latte that you’re under-utilising the features on there. If any of the following apply, you owe me a coffee.
- Your profile photo is accidentally set to private and only your connections can see it.
- Your banner (rectangle at the top of your profile) is a holiday picture, pretty scene, or a standard company image and logo.
- Your headline is your job title.
- You haven’t got any featured posts.
- Your ‘about’ section is empty, written in the third person, or written like a CV *gag*.
Do you feel personally attacked? Sorry about that, but it should keep me in coffee for the next six months.
Now, back to the questionable similes.
Imagine your news feed is the High Street. Hundreds of people walk past you every day. Your profile photo and your headline are your shop window. Their job is to grab people’s attention, lure people into your shop (profile) and once they’re in, you want them to hang around and have a look at what you have to offer.
The longer they spend browsing your shop, the more the algorithm will favour your content on their news feed. It knows they’re interested in you, so they show them more of what you have to say.
And no one is clicking onto your profile if your headline (the line of text under your name) says “Senior Partner of Smith & Co”. What IS Smith & Co? What can Smith & Co help me with? Why should I choose Smith & Co and not Jones & Jones? Your headline should give people a reason to click on your name and visit your profile.
Your profile photo - contrary to popular belief - does not have to be a stuffy headshot of you in your best suit. It can be, if that’s how you feel most comfortable.
But feeling comfortable is the key. Every time you write anything on LinkedIn, that little circle with your face in is staring back at you. If you don’t look comfortable, and feel like yourself, how can you be comfortable speaking like yourself in your posts and comments? Don’t be afraid to smile and look relaxed, it makes you seem more trustworthy, and no matter your profession, that is always a bonus!
It should also be a recent photo of you, and - ideally - be distinctive. The easier you are to spot on the news feed, the quicker people will become familiar with you, and notice you the next time you appear. Some people add a colourful piece of clothing, or a brand coloured background or ring.
If you get the basics right, you’ll welcome more people into your shop. If you nail the contents of your shop, people will remember you and come back when they need what you sell.
And to really crush the content of your profile, you need to make sure you’re using all of the features available to give your prospects more opportunity to learn about you and what you do, and more importantly, what you can do for them.
Consider implementing these quick changes for immediate improvements:
- Add a tag line and contact details to your banner - tell people what you do for them as soon as they visit your profile.
- Highlight some links or previous posts in your featured section. This is like a showreel to display information that asserts your authority, expertise, and helps profile visitors understand the value you can add to their business.
- Write your ‘about’ section making it customer and outcome focused. It’s not about YOU, it’s about what you can do for ME.
- Include a single call to action at the end, inviting people to get in contact with you, and how they can do that.
With these easy changes, you’ll be more findable, approachable, memorable, and likable. Take a look at blog #3 for tips on using commenting on LinkedIn to increase your visibility.