What is Your LinkedIn Profile Saying About You?
LinkedIn is often described as the Facebook for business, with the main purpose being to connect industry professionals through mutual “connections” that build corporate relationships. While regularly used in conjunction with other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn provides a different type of online marketing as its users log in to meet other business professionals and network with prospective or current clientele. However, while almost all business professionals have (or should have) an account, if used incorrectly it can hinder your professional or corporate image.
So, what is your LinkedIn profile saying about you?
Since LinkedIn is used as a business networking site, as a user you will want to create an individual or corporate profile that outlines what you or your company does, and how you compare to others in the industry. The profile should read like a personalized and professional resume, and it is important to create it as if you were given a minute to explain what you or your company does and what your competitive advantage is when compared to others in the same field. It should provide personal and professional information, including contact info, what groups you are a part of, links to your company’s website (if applicable), and other networking tools, etc.
Keep it short and simple, but detailed enough that it gives the profile personality and a voice.
To maximize your profile awareness, you should make sure you are including keywords in the areas of job titles, summaries, and status updates. When setting up a profile, it is important to search other successful people or businesses in the industry, and look at what they have done. You should also follow along with those businesses that have been successful at using LinkedIn, to keep updated with what they are doing and see who they are connected with. People are all about perception and how they perceive you or your business will ultimately determine whether they want to create a connection with you or not. Outlined below are recommendations:
- Profile Picture – use a profile photo that is taken by a professional photographer. It is important that a professional photo is used to show people you are serious about doing business with them. To ensure you are using a photo that will be well perceived by others, use a photo service like https://www.photofeeler.com/ and have people rate your photo. You can get access to ratings on how competent, likeable and influential your photo is.
- Profile Information – add basic information like your name, position, company (current and previous) and education. This is the high-level information that people will look at first to get an overview of who you are and how you compare to others in your industry.
- Summary – the summary section should include your professional bio and what sets you or your company apart from others. Make sure that this section is short and simple, making sure not to bombard the viewer with unnecessary information.
- Experience – it is not crucial that you add all of your previous experience; however, it is important that you add the experiences that will help sell you or your company as the number one choice. Give a brief outline of the work you have done and how it relates to others looking to work with you or your company.
- Skills & Endorsements – this will be filled in by people that “endorse” you or your company based on the specific skills you offer. When clients or connections endorse you, it builds credibility and positions you as a valued and trusted choice.
- Education – this section should include your educational background and the different activities, associations or societies you belong to. If the profile is for a business, then it should include anything extra-curricular that the company participates in. This could include boards, associations, programs or business classes that employees have completed.
- Honours & Awards – if you have received any honours or awards, add them to this section. It is important for people to see that you have been recognized or rewarded, as it builds your professional and personal credibility.
- Groups – join different LinkedIn groups and then feature them on your personal page. This will be especially important when current or potential clients are looking on your profile, as it builds credibility and positions you as the expert based on what/who you associate yourself with.
- Following – this section features the people or companies you are following. Again, it is important to follow those companies that align with yours or are in a similar industry.
When creating a LinkedIn profile, the most important thing is to be professional and authentic with what you offer. While it can be used as a sales tool, remember that it still is considered a form of social media and therefore, should be used as a conversation starter versus a hard sell.
Here are examples of companies or individuals that do a great job on LinkedIn:
The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola is a lifestyle brand, and this is clearly communicated in their LinkedIn profile.
Google – Google does a great job of sharing relevant content that is of interest to their following.
Jessica Walsh – Partner at Sagmeister & Walsh, Jessica’s profile is informative and simple, making it easy for the viewer to get a high-level overview of her at a quick glance.