When was the last time you edited your LinkedIn profile? Heck, when was the last time you even thought about editing your LinkedIn profile?
I’ve been teaching on LinkedIn for a few years now and have discovered some interesting trends. The first is that, in general, most people don’t edit or change the content in their profiles on a regular basis. In fact, the majority of people start an account, set up the basics, then never touch their profile again.
If you own a business or work in sales, this is a big no-no. While it might seem like a good idea to skimp on the details, a vague profile actually hurts you more than you realize.
Why Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile Matters
Let’s compare digital networking and lead gen on LinkedIn to dating.
Let’s say that you’re looking for your soulmate, and you use a dating app to help. Now note that I said soulmate. I’m talking a romantic partner that you plan to spend forever with—not a short-term type of thing.
So, you jump online to fill out your profile. If you’re looking for someone to spend forever with, you’re going to be as specific as possible. You might fill in criteria such as religion, hobbies, location, and so forth. You’re looking for someone athletic, adventurous, and as obsessed with college football as you are. (Or HGTV). You want someone that matches you, right?
And because dating apps, much like LinkedIn, run on algorithms—you’re going to get matched by the criteria that you share.
Your LinkedIn Profile
Similar to dating, the content in your LinkedIn profile also runs on algorithms. In fact, they say that algorithms secretly run the world!
This means that it’s extra important for you to optimize your profile. Optimizing your profile using strategic keywords and phrases will help more people to discover you. But it does a little something extra that you might not realize. It provides anyone who visits your LinkedIn profile with more context about who you are, what you do, and why you might be a great person to do business with. And that, in my opinion, is worth the extra effort.
So, let’s talk about some ways you can optimize your LinkedIn profile so more people find you and want to do business with you.
1. Header Image and Profile Picture
It might seem insignificant, but your profile picture and header picture matter. Your profile picture is the first thing a person sees when they see your profile. And when they click on your profile, your header image is the first thing they’ll notice as well.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: LinkedIn provides a generic header image. Why would I change it?
Well, is your company the same as every other company on the planet? Are you the same as everyone else on the planet? No way!
Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a subject matter expert in your industry. It’s also an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from others. Take advantage of this opportunity to brand yourself. Use an image that reflects your core values or a unique aspect of your personality.
Need help creating the perfect header image? Canva is an awesome online tool for this (and no, they didn't pay me to say that!). They provide lots of free options and have upgraded options as well. Here’s a quick screenshot of some of the options:
2. Your Headline
When it comes to networking and lead gen, your LinkedIn headline is a prime piece of profile real estate. Most people think of it as a place to throw their job title and the company they work for. But what does that really mean to someone who’s never met you before? So, you’re another CEO? Or another sales manager or salesperson? Who cares?
Instead, I recommend adding something of value to your LinkedIn headline. Share your mission. Share what you’re trying to accomplish. Speak more to who you help and what you do. Be different. Say something that will make someone want to click on your profile and learn more.
Here is a before and after shot of how Charles Bernard, our CEO, optimized his headline:
3. Your Profile Copy & Content
Now let’s get to the meat of your profile: your copy, or content.
Here are some recommendations:
- Craft an Engaging Summary
Craft a summary that makes people want to read more. I recommend writing your LinkedIn summary in first-person format rather than third-person. It’s more personal and more relatable. Plus, you won't feel like a weirdo writing about yourself in third-person.
- Job Position Descriptions
Your current job position and previous positions are opportunities to showcase your skills and expertise. And, to get any potential prospects excited about you and what you do.
So, use this area to your advantage! Share any relevant content that will make you stand out. And, if you have previous jobs that seem irrelevant to what you’re doing now, think about what you learned during that role. Then use the description area to speak to what you learned and how it applies now.
Remember: optimizing your LinkedIn profile is all about building your personal brand as a subject matter expert in your industry.
This might seem silly, but complete every field possible. From skills to education to volunteer experience—the more you can fill in, the better. Build a beautiful picture that potential prospects and customers won’t want to click away from.
LinkedIn for Success
I could certainly go on for days about optimizing your LinkedIn profile, but I think this is enough to keep you busy for a week or two!
Want more tips on optimizing your profile? Click here or on the image below to watch the on-demand webinar, Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile to 5 Stars! with Joe Apfelbaum.