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How to maximize your LinkedIn profile

Posted by Chad O'Connor  October 16, 2013 11:00 AM

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LinkedIn is the professional way to connect and get found. It has over 161 million registered users in over 200 countries and territories, with new users signing up at a rate of approximately 2 per second. Linkedin users tend to be of higher income level, are over 35 years of age, and are typically the decision makers. Linkedin is a leader for B2B, headhunters and recruiters.

Google holds LinkedIn in high regard; if you Google your name, you’ll likely find your Linkedin profile within the first page of those results. And we know 80% of searches take place on Google. So you want your profile to be polished and ready to go!

Much like the spiders that Google, Bing and Yahoo use to match keywords to search queries, LinkedIn is also looking to give their users a great experience by connecting them to the right people. Linkedin searches only certain sections within a profile; let’s make sure those are enhanced and are primed to show the world you’re an expert.

The Basics:
1. Put an image up. Nothing is worse than a profile that’s neglected, so upload a great image and make your digital resume stand out. Use an image that shows your face, not too casual, think professional and flattering. Higher quality professional images are best.
2. Your title is very important. Utilize this position by making it keyword dense.
3. Think through your current & past work experience. Remember it is a story.
4. Summary is your chance to connect with visitors. Spend some time and make it sticky. More about this below.
5. Headline is very important. Think keyword keyword keyword!
6. Sign up for Industry Groups. Post specifically to them, and make conversation.
7. Update your profile with targeted information. Sign in at least twice a week, daily if you’ve got the hustle.


The basics can land you many a lead or job offer, but if you really want to light it up, read on…

Content:
Some LinkedIn accounts are a cut above the rest because they think about engaging their viewers, not just posting a resume. The copy should read much like a website would, a consistent cadence or voice and be sure to clearly define what you do. Tell us what can you do for us, and what do you want us, the reader, to do. Remember to customize all of the copy for your target audience with likely search terms for your industry.

Connect:
Groups are a powerful way to introduce new ideas, ask questions and drum up unparalleled industry specific conversation. You can utilize groups to chat and gather information, but once you begin contributing is when the magic begins.

A lot of folks recommend that you make your own group. I think that depends on what you do and how much time you have. I prefer to participate in other people’s groups. And I find most of my clients are too busy to add another task like that to their plate. I suggest you jump in and see what works for you.

Contribute:
Go for the Gold! Get in the conversation. You’ve joined some groups, and you’ve listened for a while. Now it’s your turn to jump in.

Share your content. Whatever you’re producing is game: your Blog, Video, a PowerPoint presentation, new product launch, a great quote, or simply an idea you want feedback on. This is when you’ll start to make deeper connections. And with these connections you can invite them to give feedback or even share an article of yours. This isn’t an avenue for sales, think industry secrets, tips and projects you’ve completed. Get interactive and use the media you’re already creating to take your profile to the next level. The key here is to keep in mind your reader, always use targeted status updates and great titles.

Tracking:
You want to keep an eye on some of the Key Performance Indicators, such as…

- How many visitors have landed on your website from LinkedIn? Refer to your Google Analytics; go to Traffic Sources, Overview, then Referrals to get this list.
- Are your posts well received, were they shared or commented on?
- How many people are reaching out to you. Is that number growing?
- How many leads have you gotten? And where they well qualified?


How Exclusive will you be?:
Different opinions get tossed around about who or how many people to connect with. Some experts suggest to only accept the people you know so that your list is more valuable. Remember people can see whom you’re connected with, which may or may not inform their opinions about you. Others advise to accept all connections. I say it depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling luxury to a sophisticated buyer, yes you want to be more discerning with whom you connect with. But if you’re interested in selling to a diverse group of people then you want to be more receptive to inquiries of all types as you never know where the next lead will come from.

Asking for Recommendations:
I suggest calling or emailing people when looking for references, as you’re asking for their time and I don’t think an automated inquiry is sufficient. There have been times when I ask for a specific theme within a testimonial, giving them a hook as to what I’m looking to highlight within my brand. But you can just as easily have them write what they want. And it’s always nice to repay a good deed and give a recommendation before or after asking for one.

Customize Your LinkedIn URL:
This is a fairly new option within LinkedIn and one that leaves a great impression.

1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
2. Click Edit next to the URL under your profile photo.
3. In the Your public profile URL box in the bottom right, click "Customize your public profile URL."
4. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
5. Click Set Custom URL.

Have a great time, share your passion and enjoy everyone you meet!

Megan Marini is a solutions based, customer-centric marketer with a focus on Mindfulness, Brand Development, Publicity and New Media. Connect with her at meganmarini.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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