With 433 million users logging into LinkedIn on a regular basis, the site represents a veritable smorgasbord of business opportunities. If you are looking for professionals as a B2B company, maximizing your personal LinkedIn profile is going to get you further faster than working to grow your business page. Here are some easy things you can implement right now to make a huge difference in the results you’re getting from LinkedIn.
A Great Profile Picture
LinkedIn is not Facebook. Even though many people are beginning to treat this like any other social media platform, at its essence, LinkedIn is a business-to-business site (B2B), and users expect a certain level of professionalism. That starts with how you are presenting yourself visually.
The standard picture you should be using is a professional headshot. It should be on a plain background, just as your picture for your website would be. Avoid pictures with more than one person in them, pictures that are blurry, faraway shots, black and white, or an action shot. Keep it simple; keep it professional.
Often, this can be achieved with a phone camera, if you do it right. If you cannot manage that, invest the money and hire a professional photographer. Most of the time, you’re looking at an investment of $100 or less, which is a drop in the bucket if you start generating leads from your LinkedIn profile.
A Vanity URL
For those who aren’t sure what a URL is, just a quick lesson: It is the Web address you type into the search bar, such as www.google.com. LinkedIn provides every page with a unique URL, so you will have something like www.linkedin.com/in/sara-smith-pub-3ka8did assigned to you. While the URL is all yours, it’s cumbersome and not easy to share. For super users of LinkedIn, it also connotes that you’re not sure what you’re doing on the site.
It’s very easy to create your vanity URL. Under your photo on your profile, you’ll see your assigned URL. When you hover your mouse over it, a gear will pop up to the right. Click on that, which will take you to your public profile. On that new page, you’ll find an area that says, “Create your custom URL,” where you’ll type in the URL you want. It’s best to choose your name, so it becomes www.linkedin.com/in/sarasmith. LinkedIn provides simple instructions to do this.
There are three key reasons to have more than 500 connections:
- When you have fewer than 500 connections, your profile will say exactly how many you have. When you have 501, though, it just says 500+.
- If you have fewer than 500 connections, you honestly look like a noob to the site, kind of like those people who don’t have vanity URLs. Others may wonder if you even know what you’re doing there.
- Because LinkedIn works as a web connecting you to your first-, second-, and third-level connections, the more people on your list, the easier it will be to reach additional connections. This is invaluable because it’s why you’re on LinkedIn in the first place.
Your Keyword in These Key Places
LinkedIn’s search parameters are quite powerful, but they can only help you be found if you provide the site with fuel for the search. Just like on your website and other SEO, you feed LinkedIn with keywords.
Choose the key phrase for which you want to be found and use it in these key locations:
- Your last name: Sara Smith, Internet Marketing Specialist
- Your title: Internet Marketing Specialist focused on getting local businesses found online
- Your summary
- Your current or most recent position
Once you have your keyword in all of those areas, LinkedIn will pick up on that and send people directly to you.
An Engaging “Welcome” Email
More than anything else, this is your “special sauce.” No matter how you connect with people on LinkedIn, whether you’re accepting invitations or sending them out, you must have a way to begin to develop that relationship.
Your welcome letter is, more than anything, your value proposition. Some people use it as a sales pitch, but keep in mind that no one wants to be sold—but everyone wants to buy. As with any marketing, you need to showcase how you can help your connections.
In your letter, include a little about how you help, something about yourself personally, where they can connect with you outside of LinkedIn (your website, other social media sites), and your contact information.
If you implement all five of these tactics, along with engaging in groups, making regular status updates, and posting blogs to your profile, you will transform LinkedIn from a static social media platform to a lead-generating machine.
We are passionate about driving results for our clients and, through our LinkedIn Professional offering, we are able to deliver an average of 2–3 leads each week.