Leveraging LinkedIn for Business: How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
Note: Make sure you also read our post on How to Improve Your LinkedIn Company Page.
LinkedIn is a big name in the business world – and for good reason. The world’s fastest growing network hit 200 million members in early 2013 and is growing at the rate of two new members per second!
But what exactly does this growth mean? And, more importantly, how can you leverage it to get more business?
LinkedIn can serve as a powerful network building tool for you if you are strategic about how you use it. With an optimized LinkedIn business profile, you can make yourself visible to ideal prospects and their relevant circles. Keep in mind, LinkedIn is all about marketing: marketing your company and marketing yourself.
So where do you begin? We recommend starting with your LinkedIn business profile (especially if you haven’t touched it in months or years!). This is a key area that your prospects and clients are looking to learn more about you. Plus, it’s highly ranked with search engines and your LinkedIn profile will most likely be one of the top results in a search for your name!
CPR for your LinkedIn Profile
The first step in leveraging LinkedIn is to breathe some life into your business profile. (Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Get one – it’s free!) Here are 6 easy steps to improve your LinkedIn profile:
Step 1: Choose the right photo.
Your picture is the first thing people see on your LinkedIn profile, so make sure to choose a strong photo and that actually looks like you. Keep it professional (you’d do better to list your burning love for Star Wars in the “Interests” section instead of posing with your light sabre) but don’t be afraid to choose a casual photo if it speaks to your personality.
Step 2: Write a compelling summary.
Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you headed? How are you getting there? Take the time to describe yourself in an informative, entertaining way. It will grab the reader’s attention and create a memorable first impression of your profile. The summary also affects how LinkedIn ranks you in search results – so include those relevant keywords and phrases!
Step 3: Fill in those blanks.
Think of your LinkedIn profile like a digital resume – the end goal is for your profile to compel the reader and lend to your credibility as a professional. Your educational background and work portfolio are the most valuable ways to share your qualifications with the LinkedIn community. You don’t need to write a memoir, but do share descriptions of past jobs and degrees, detailing your significant accomplishments and awards. Wherever possible, link your prior experience to the company pages of your employers – it’s a fast way to boost your connectivity and searchability while making your profile more visually engaging!
Step 4: Don’t just say it, display it.
Recent changes to LinkedIn empower you to illustrate your professional story with visual content, upping your profile’s punch. Research shows that social media consumers are more likely to engage with visual content, so consider including images, videos, and presentations in your profile to bring the WOW factor and make a lasting impression on readers.
Step 5: Link it up!
Drive traffic to your website or blog by adding URLs to your LinkedIn contact info. If you have a Twitter account, you can take advantage of LinkedIn’s Twitter integration to share content between the two networks. Just be sure that your tweets are worthy of inclusion on your professional profile.
Step 6: Keep it alive!
LinkedIn keeps tabs on how active your account is. Ensuring that your profile stays fresh and up-to-date makes you more visible and more relevant in the LinkedIn community.
Taking time to breathe life into your profile will attract connections and prospects, and following these steps will help you leverage your profile to create a compelling and memorable presence on LinkedIn.