Is your LinkedIn profile compelling and will you get found before your competitors?

If you want to benefit from being on LinkedIn, then you need to get the basics right. Your personal profile should be 100% complete and compelling. It should also contain the necessary keywords to ensure that, when your target audience is searching for a professional, they find you before your competitors.

Here are our top 11 tips to help you get the basics right:

  1. Instead of simply stating your job title in your professional headline, say who you help and how you help them. For example, I am a business development and marketing consultant for the professional services sector, but that doesn’t tell my target audience anything about how I help them so instead I’ve changed it to ‘helping professional service firms retain clients, grow clients and attract the right kinds of new clients’.
  2. Find out what keywords your target audience use to search for professionals in your field and then include these words in the specialties section of your profile. This will improve your search ranking on LinkedIn and increase your chance of getting found before your competitors.
  3. Include an appropriate photo.
  4. Think about why you’re on LinkedIn and write your summary with that in mind – if you are on there for marketing/business development reasons we recommend stating who you help, what you help them with and some results you’ve achieved. You may want to include some information on your working style/approach as well as a small amount of personal information. The aim of this section is to give people a reason to connect with you and to begin to position yourself.
  5. Think about which additional features might help you build your profile. For example, if you’re a designer you might want to add the ‘creative portfolio display’ application, if you’re a lawyer you might want to add the ‘legal updates’ application. If you have a business blog, or Twitter regularly then add these applications. You will find the ‘Add sections’ link above the summary section when you view your profile.
  6. Over time, ask for recommendations from clients, colleagues, business partners etc. You’ll find themes emerge quite quickly and it gives people a real flavour of what you’re like to work with – which is invaluable. Subject to the person’s approval you may also be able to use these recommendations in your marketing materials.
  7. Include a link to your website - if you have more than one website, link to your primary one as people will be more likely to click through. Options just confuse.
  8. If you Twitter regularly (for business purposes) then include a link to your Twitter account.
  9. Include some information in the interests section – people want to connect with likeminded people. Having a common interest is a good conversation opener.
  10. Ensure you include your basic contact information in both the personal information section and the contact settings section – this will ensure people who find you through both LinkedIn and google (or another search engine) can contact you.
  11. Personalise your vanity URL to your firstnamesurname (without the random numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns you). The main reason to do this is that you are likely to appear higher up search engine rankings when someone googles your name. In order to do this go into the ‘edit profile’ section and click on the ‘change public profile settings’ on the right hand side. You also have the option to decide what information you want to appear on your public profile.

How useful have you found these tips?

If you have any other tips or ideas about how to build a compelling LinkedIn profile, we’d love to hear them.

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Specialising in professional services and law firm marketing. I help firms to retain and grow existing clients and attract more of their ideal clients. My core services include social media for lead generation, voice of the client programmes and tender strategy and development. Outside of work I love to run. I’m a bit like Forest Gump in that I’m not that quick but can keep going for ages. I also enjoy coming up with new inventions. Unfortunately, most of them have already been invented! | * Professional services marketing consultant | * Legal marketing consultant | * Law firm marketing consultant
  • http://marketingactuary.com Promod Sharma | @mActuary

    Thanks for these excellent tips, Kirsten. Adding more detail to your profile also helps in getting found.

    In the Summary section, there’s a tendency for small business people to write about their company. Your profile is about you and your story. LinkedIn has company pages for the corporate information.

    Giving recommendations shows generosity. Some folks receive recommendations but won’t say a nice thing about anyone else.

  • http://marketingactuary.com Promod Sharma | @mActuary

    Your list is still an excellent guide, Kirsten.

    For #1, I agree that a job title is not a wise choice for a professional headline … but that’s what I had until weeks ago. Rather than describing what I do, I’m using words intended to intrigue: “actuary | blogger | advocate”.

    PS The words are accurate too :)