02 Aug A Detailed and Practical Guide to Optimizing your LinkedIn profile – by yourself
When someone hears about you or your business, one of the first things they’ll do is type your name into Google.
Because of LinkedIn’s high Alexa Traffic Rank, it’s highly likely that your profile will show top of the search results – on the first page.
Any information people find on your profile is what they’ll use to judge whether to purchase your product or service. Therefore, it is very important that you are in control of the narrative.
Let start from the top:
The LinkedIn banner is the 1584 x 396 pixels piece of real estate that sits at the top of your profile.
It’s not the most important part of your profile; however, for purposes of first impressions it’s the most relevant as it’s the first thing people see when they click on your profile.
After viewing thousands of profiles, it’s by far the most underutilized section on a profile. Even those that optimize their profile, tend to leave this space blank, put little effort into it or put something nonsensical in there.
A lot of people tend to put images that mean something to them, but make little or no sense to the viewer. If the image is irrelevant to the product or service you provide, then you’re missing an opportunity!
I’ve just concluded a video series on LinkedIn banners, which you can check out on my profile after reading this article. It’ll detail everything you need to know.
In compiling the series, I looked at about 150 celebrity profiles and the person who utilizes their banner the best is Richard Branson:
Because he’s big on personal branding, he has a picture of himself on the left and an image of his book on the right. The great thing about this is that he’s promoting a product; therefore there’s the potential to earn money and showcase deep domain expertise in a particular subject matter.
For people who don’t have a specific brand that they represent, I recommend that you simply tell people what you do so it’s clear from the start. I go the extra step of directing people to a specific page on my website:
The most important section of your profile is the photo, as you may have guessed.
The reason being that everything else on your profile – bar your banner – is predominantly text. If someone doesn’t know who you are, your photo is crucial to, literally, show them who you are.
Refrain from putting the logo of your business where your personal photo should be!
Clients often ask me numerous question about their photo: “Should I be wearing a suit?”,“Should I be smiling?”,“Can I wear a t-shirt?” In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as long as people have a clear idea of what you look like.
Mark Zuckerberg, for example, is noted for walking around in hoodies and he’s the Founder of a $400 million company, so does it really matter!? That’s a matter of opinion.
To be on the safe side, I recommend that you wear attire commensurate to your position, look directly at the camera, and smile. Like so:
The next part that we’re going to briefly touch on is the Name section. I’ve added this in simply because I see people write a multitude of extra – often unnecessary – detail here. I recommend you keep it simple!
I know you endured many a sleepless night to obtain your [fill in alphabet combinations of your choice], so you’re welcome to add it if you feel it’ll make a difference.
However, I also see people put emojis in the Name section. I don’t recommend this! I’ve been told that this is against LinkedIn ‘s Terms of Service, so you’re at risk of your account being restricted. You’re welcome to look into this if it concerns you.
In the Headline section I have seen a lot of people simply put “Managing Director”, “CEO”, “Founder” etc. What I recommend is that you take the opportunity to provide more detail about what you do so that anyone viewing your profile gets an instant snapshot of the value you can provide to them.
Mine currently states:
“We provide a fully outsourced B2B LinkedIn marketing service | Founder, Linked Optimization”
(This is subject to change when I get bored of it!)
Your Headline is also important because when you send a connection request to people what comes up is your profile photo, your name and your headline, so it’s a good idea to tell people who you are and what you do so they’ll know who they are connecting with.
The next section that’s important, which a lot of people seem to miss out is Contact info.
Which information do you put in your Contact info and are you putting enough information in this section? Most people fail to put enough info here! For example, have you provided the link to your website, your email address, Twitter handle, Instagram etc? These are very important if someone wants further information about your product or service or they want to get in touch with you:
Before we get to the Summary section, let me state a very important fact: No matter how wonderful you think your business is, the majority of people are only going to spend about 5-10 seconds on your profile.
When they scan through your profile, they want to know who you are and what you can do for them. Most of the information that they’ll see is right at the top: your banner, your profile photo, your headline, the first three lines of your Summary section and any relevant media added.
Unless someone wants to purchase your product or service, most people will not go beyond this point. Therefore, it’s very important that you make this part as visually appealing as possible – and more importantly, contain snapshots of information you want to get across. Like so:
The first three lines of your Summary section are critical!
For most people to click on the “Show more” button of your Summary section, they need a bloody good reason!
Anyone who goes to my profile can tell immediately what I do and the service I provide. If it’s not something that they want, then they’re welcome to find someone else who can provide the value they’re looking for.
Your Summary section: I used to believe that you should put as much detail as possible in the 2000 characters provided, and make it some kind of thesis detailing exactly who you are, what you do, your background and so on.
A lot of people still fall into this trap. As I state above, the majority of people spend 5-10 seconds on your profile, and the same applies to your Summary section. Some people still message me on LinkedIn and ask what I do: clearly they didn’t bother checking my profile at all!
As I explained to a client the other day: it doesn’t matter that you believe your business is the best thing since sliced bread (and it might be!), most people will not spend 30-mins combing through it trying to figure out who you are and what you do. Therefore, it is important to keep your Summary section as simple and punchy as possible!
My Summary section has changed several times over time because as my business has matured, I want to work with a specific type of client.
For a while, I fell into the trap of making it one-size fits all. Now, it’s very specific, and talks about the types of clients we work with. Therefore, it’s much easier for both parties.
If you want to grow your business, don’t waste time with the wrong clients.
A quick word on relevant media in your Summary section and Experience section: make sure you add or link to external documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations. If anyone is considering purchasing your product or service, they’ll want to know that you know what you’re talking about.
The next section that I believe is important is the Articles & activity section.
Most people are not active on LinkedIn, so their activity section is blank. I recommend that you take the opportunity to release content on the platform!
Currently, the article I have in this section is: An Introduction to LinkedIn Advertising(soon to be replaced by this one!):
When people scroll down your profile, they’ll see the Article and have further confirmation that your skill set lies in the particular area you claim it does.
Furthermore, if clients are considering spending thousands of Pounds (or Dollars!) on your product or service, they want to know that you really do know your shit! These are the people that will take time to really explore your entire profile. Potential clients will even take time to read through long form articles for confirmation that you know what you’re talking about.
The Experience section: Not a lot of people are aware, but in the title part of the Experience section, you can write a lot of extra detail. As you can see on mine:
This is for keyword search purposes and to let people know what you do.
In the description part of the Experience section, I’ve see a lot of business owners detailing the duties they perform on a daily basis: “I’m responsible for the day-to-day management of the business and hiring employees and… blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!”
You are missing the point here: a LinkedIn profile is not a CV! Don’t treat it as such! It’s a further opportunity to sell your product or service.
Nobody cares about the functions you perform on a daily basis! Take the opportunity to tell us about the value you provide.
The Education section: I was working with a client who told me that he didn’t want to put anything in this section.
When I asked him why he said: “…it’s not important! They should just look at my work experience and purchase my product on this basis.” He has a point! But what do your potential clients think?
I keep mine very simple. Not much detail required:
I recommend that you add relevant Skills, so you can obtain endorsements. From what I understand, you appear higher in searches if you have a lot of endorsements. (Can anyone confirm this?) It’s also confirmation that you are skilled in a particular subject matter. For example, a Lawyer shouldn’t put “Microsoft Word” in this section. (Before you laugh, I’ve actually seen this.)
Recommendations: is it worth having them on your profile? It certainly can’t hurt! If a client is considering paying you thousands of Pounds (or Dollars!), those third party endorsements might just tip the scales in your favour. I currently have 35 on mine, but 10 will suffice.
Is it important to join LinkedIn Groups? Yes, I think it’s important to join and be active in them. Do I practice what I preach? Currently, no!
People join Groups based upon their interests; therefore if you’re targeting a particular audience then you can find a large amount of them in Groups. For example, if you want to raise capital then you should join one of the many Private Equity or VC groups on the platform, because in theory, you can lobby all of them in one place. Groups are also great for intelligence gathering.
Is there anything else that you deem relevant? Anything that you feel is important?
I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’re still overwhelmed by LinkedIn, LinkedIn marketing, LinkedIn lead generation etc, etc, etc, I’ll be releasing further posts and articles that get more granular on the subject. Follow me to get notifications of new posts and articles.
Alternatively, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to find out more on how we can manage your marketing campaigns to generate B2B leads for your business.
For us to work together, you must:
◾️ Offer a B2B product or service;
◾️ Offer a high-value product or service (above £3,000 per sale);
◾️ Have a strong value proposition/ premium product or service that adds value to the market; and
◾️ Have a clearly defined client profile.
For further details about our service: LinkedOptimization.com/our-service
Linked Optimization has no affiliation with, nor any connection to LinkedIn Corporation.
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Femi Opaneye is the Founder & CEO of Linked Optimization. We provide a fully outsourced B2B LinkedIn lead generation and marketing service.