When it comes to professional advancement, thought-leadership and strong partnerships, there is no denying that LinkedIn is the most powerful platform on the web. With over 470 million users in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn is far more than a social networking site: it’s the place to build your personal brand and build a better business.
Today, I want to share a few tips for those of you who are interested in building your page (or polishing up the one you have).
Think about your headline. Your headline is your introduction to your industry and it should be professional and powerful. It needs to be specific and use relevant and timely keywords.
- Look at industry game-changers who are in the position you are or want to be and look at the keywords they use.
- Write out several options and ask trusted colleagues and mentors for feedback.
- Be very clear about what your skills and talents are.
Use a professional photo. A professional headshot is best and there are a few ways to get this. You can hire a photographer to take a number of headshots or ask your company if they would be willing to hire a photographer to come into the office and take a professional headshot for every member of the team. This will serve a purpose far more valuable to them than getting you a pretty picture. The company can upload photos of the staff on the website, use them in various promotions where staff is quoted in media, use them for culture-building purposes (e.g, interviews in newsletters, shout-outs and highlights) and even attach them to emails with new clients so they can see who they will be meeting before they walk into the office.
- Look clean and polished, modern and fresh but avoid looking too “trendy” in your photos. No loud prints, distracting accessories, heavy, bright makeup or wrinkled shirts/blazers.
- Make sure the photo is properly lit. Dark photos look dirty, distracting and even creepy. No web cam photos.
- Think about your background. It should be clean, clear and not distracting in any way.
- Your head should take up approximately 60-65% of the frame.
- Make sure your photo looks like you.
- Look professional, friendly and relaxed. Too stuffy is as detrimental as too lax.
- Smart casual in soft colours like blue, white and pink work best. Solid prints are better than prints and it is best to avoid casual clothing unless you’re a fashion blogger.
Ask for recommendations.
The point of the LinkedIn platform is to network and learn about potential employees, colleagues, partners, and customers. In this reputation-driven professional world, word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. When you have recommendations from respected individuals who share what they appreciate about your skill set, work ethic, and personality, your brand gets a significant boost.
- Aim to have at least 11 recommendations on your profile and try and have at least one new one every six months.
- Ask colleagues and managers if they would be willing to write a recommendation for you.
- Pay it forward! Write recommendations for colleagues, clients and partners you have enjoyed working with. They will likely reciprocate.
- If someone gives you a compliment on work well done, thank them and tell them that you are building your LinkedIn profile and ask if they’d be willing to place it there (not always easy, but common enough that it is not seen an inappropriate).
There are few things more tedious than having to spend hours updating your CV whether in word or online. The best way to keep your profile fresh and relevant is to take a few minutes every month to give your platform an update.
- Add any new skills you have acquired.
- Add new achievements.
- Add links to articles you have written or that mention you or your achievements.
Endorsements are those skills that show up next to images of people in your network at the top of your profile and they can bring value to your profile in ways you have likely never considered. A 2016 LinkedIn study showed that candidates who were endorsed with five or more skills were viewed and messaged more than those who were not ( 17 and 31 times, respectively).
- Endorse at least two people every time you log on and have the option.
- Rearrange your endorsements by going to : Me, View Profile, Featured Skills and Endorsements and then rearrange.
Use video to showcase your skills.
Video is the most powerful (and shared) content on the web, so it makes sense for you to use it to boost your personal brand and highlight your strengths. Upload public speaking clips, panel discussion highlights or events that you helped coordinate and/or plan.
- Keep videos under 1:30.
- Make sure the video is shot well. Can you see everything clearly? Is the audio clear and tolerable?
Publish your blogs.
Blogs are a great way to share your insight and to position yourself as an expert and thought leader. They also showcase your profile to a wider audience and can help with optimisation as Google picks them, making them searchable. The posts you write and the third-party you share will be seen by your second and third-level networks.
- Keep your blog posts between 300-500 words.
- Do some research to come up with an attractive headline (place a keyword in there).
- Do not simply repost old blogs from another website or vice versa. You want to change a few things, including the headline so that Google doesn’t see it as copied content.