LinkedIn has over 450 million members now—and people still don’t think it works. Why?
Because some of the LinkedIn features simply are NOT intuitive. It’s not your fault! Most people don’t even know the fundamentals of how LinkedIn works. And why should you? It’s not your job!
But it is mine. So I have put together a few tips, tricks and strategies that will help you to experience LinkedIn as the powerful business development tool and lead generator it can be.
TIP ONE: KNOW YOUR SKILLS AND STRATEGIES
What are your goals for being on LinkedIn? Write them down. Now prioritize your goals. Although your priorities for using LinkedIn might shift, it’s always good to be clear on what they are right now.
TIP TWO: TREAT LINKEDIN LIKE YOUR WEBSITE
It’s a good idea to create your profile first in a word document. This will show you if you have spelling or grammatical errors. Yeah, you could use Grammarly (and I do) but creating your profile in a Word (or Pages) doc first will also give you a better idea of what your profile will look like on LinkedIn. In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters. Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified.
TIP THREE: KNOW YOUR KEYWORDS
Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its search. Make sure you place your most important search or keywords and keyword phrases strategically throughout your profile. Some places you might want to consider are your:
- Professional Headline (120 characters)
- Summary (2000 Characters)
- Title Fields (100 characters)
- Interests (1000 characters)
- Education (Activities and Societies)
- Skills (50 skills)
Check to see the skills and keywords your competitors are using if you feel stuck.
TIP FOUR: KEEP YOUR NAME CLEAN
Put only your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field. If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this:
John Smith LION 941-555-1555.
And besides, it goes against LinkedIn’s EUA (End User Agreement) to have anything other than your name in the name field. LinkedIn will essentially “Blacklist” you if you are reported, making your profile impossible to find in your keywords. It’s not worth it. I know! I have Viveka von Rosen: LinkedIn Expert and when a competitor turned me in, you couldn’t even find my profile under my own name for several years, probably costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars!.
TIP FIVE: KEEP YOUR PHOTO PROFESSIONAL
I recommend a close-up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional. Also, LinkedIn doesn’t like logos. In the End User Agreement, it states that a picture it MUST be your likeness.
TIP SIX: DON’T IGNORE THE “SHARE AN UPDATE” FUNCTION
LinkedIn’s update function is much more robust than it used to be. People can now like, share, and comment on your updates—which helps to build relationships within LinkedIn.
Ninja Trick: It’s easy to post to LinkedIn (on your homepage, to groups, to Twitter and to individual members) using LinkedIn’s Sharing Bookmarklet. Just click on a page you want to share (say this post) and click on the “Share on LinkedIn” link.
TIP SEVEN: PERSONALIZE YOUR PUBLIC PROFILE URL
Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your area of expertise: www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith or www.linkedin.com/in/ExecutiveConsultingExpert or www.linkedin.com/in/CompanyName. Nothing says, “LinkedIn neophyte” like a profile that reads: http://linkedin.com/in/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho
TIP EIGHT: PERSONALIZE YOUR WEBSITES
When you edit your website, a dropdown provides field options like business name, website name, call to action, or website description. This section can read “Click for more leads” or “Book time with me.”
TIP NINE: JUICE UP YOUR “EXPERIENCE” SECTION
“Experience” is more than your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support your current career. Put all your keywords in the title section. Add all your experience: blogs you write, volunteer work you do, etc. Use this space to tell people why they should hire you, your company, or buy your products or services. Put in a story or testimonial.
TIP TEN: LIST YOUR “ADDITIONAL EDUCATION”
Make sure you list your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses, and certifications. If you patented the calorie-free cheesecake, shouldn’t people know that?
TIP ELEVEN: GET RECOMMENDATIONS
When asking for recommendations, provide a bulleted list of your skills, strengths, and services so people will write a more complete recommendation and not: “She’s nice.” With the new user interface getting recommendations from key and influential people and industry thought leaders is even more important.
TIP TWELVE: ADD SPECIAL SECTIONS
LinkedIn makes it a lot easier to add additional work-related expertise:
The languages you speak, volunteer work you do, licenses and certifications you have, patents you’ve won, and—for students or job seekers—the grades you’ve achieved or courses you’ve taken.
TIP THIRTEEN: 6 STEPS TO ADDING RICH MEDIA CONTENT
First of all, make sure that you are in edit profile mode. Scroll down to your Summary section, your Experience section, or your Education section. Click on the add media link. Add your link. (Media must have a URL address) Once you’ve added the link, you can edit the title field and description. Hit save. Now you’ve got your meda right in the middle of your profile.
Adding Media adds credibility. Consider adding client testimonials in video or PDF. Upload your portfolio. Share a link to product promo articles or demonstration videos, or a PDF of your brochure or one sheet.