Amongst the long list of social media platforms we’re told we should be active on, we find LinkedIn. Now we know that the thought of maintaining yet another profile can seem overwhelming but LinkedIn really is one that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you’re a B2B business. (There’s a reason 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix).
Unlike the usual Facebook and Instagram platforms where you’re engaging with your customers and promoting your products, LinkedIn is made for professionals. Both business profiles, and the individuals who make up those organisations.
There are over 590 million users on LinkedIn and 79% of B2B marketers see LinkedIn as an effective source of lead generation, which shows how great of an opportunity there could be here. Whether you’re looking for a new member of your team, a new opportunity for yourself, or to create quality connections with people who could help grow your business, then you’ll need to make sure your own LinkedIn profile stands out.
How to make your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out
Build a Complete LinkedIn Profile
It’s essential when you start to set-up your LinkedIn profile, that you don’t stop until it’s absolutely finished. (LinkedIn has a helpful tool which tells you what else needs doing). By having a complete profile, you’re telling people that you want the best opportunities that are available to you and you are willing to put in the work to achieve your goals. It will also make yourself appear more active on the platform and more likely to respond if someone reached out to you. Make sure you have a clear, recent photo, a creative, concise description that encapsulates the type of work you do and links to show off your greatest achievements. If you’re struggling for inspiration, take a look at the profiles of people in your industry who you admire for some pointers and ideas – just make sure yours represents the real you.
Your LinkedIn Profile Photo
Having a good, professional headshot on your LinkedIn profile can generate 14 times more profile views, but note that we said professional headshot – you can’t just crop out that photo you love of your group on a night out 4 years ago. Your profile photo should be of a good resolution, be nice and clear, and represent how you look now. Your face should be the focal point of the image, with a soft, un-distracting background. When choosing your photo, you need to bear in mind that this picture will be the first time most people will ever see your face, so you need to make the right first impression. With this in mind, you’ll want to appear professional, yet approachable, and genuinely happy.
LinkedIn also lets you upload a background photo, which is about 1584 x 396 pixels in dimensions. Pick an image that compliments your personal brand and what you want to portray about your profile, but again without stealing the limelight from your profile picture.
Your LinkedIn Summary
The summary section on your LinkedIn profile is your chance to sell yourself and tell people exactly what you want them to know about you. When writing your summary, it’s important to find a balance between being genuine and personable, whilst also maintaining some professionalism and authority. Afterall, real people will be reading your profile, not robots, so create your tone of voice appropriately. It’s best to start with a strong and catchy opening statement to encourage people to read on.
It’s also beneficial to write in first person to create a connection the reader, and to avoid ‘buzzwords’ if you want to stand out. According to LinkedIn, ‘skilled’, ‘experienced’, ‘passionate’ and ‘strategic’ all made the top 10 in their list of most overused buzzwords, whilst ‘motivated’ continues to hold the top spot. Instead, try to think outside the box and choose clear, actionable language that describes exactly what you’ve achieved and how you did it, with facts and figures to backup your statements. Finally, we’d advise utilising as much of the character limit as you can – filling the space with context around your career story, plenty of tasteful bragging about your achievement and results figures.
What Else Should You Include on Your LinkedIn Profile?
Make sure that every section is thoughtfully filled out to get the most out of your profile; don’t rush it. LinkedIn reports that adding at least 5 skills to your profile can generate up to 17 times more profile views and 31% more messages, so every effort really counts.
Also sure that your title, summary and industry are always up to date and add images to each job role that you’ve listed. Don’t forget to add links to any work that you’re proud of. This could be links to blog posts you’ve written, announcements about projects you’ve contributed to, or even videos of you speaking at events.
When someone is looking at your profile, you want to give them the most robust view of your experience as possible, so don’t be afraid to add information about certifications you hold, professional groups you belong to and any awards you’ve won.
Be Active on LinkedIn
Unfortunately, as tempting as it may seem, after you’ve put in all the hard work of completing your LinkedIn profile, you can’t then just leave it as it is to work magic. It’s not a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ type of online CV. This is the most common mistake made and likely the reason why you’re not seeing any value from your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is for connecting with people, but you don’t want to only be reaching out with people when you need something. To make introductions easier, it’s best to remain constantly engaged. LinkedIn should just be the start of your journey, with a goal of taking your online LinkedIn connections offline. Comment regularly on what other people are sharing and add updates to your profile with SEO optimised content. (Don’t just dump your profile full of keywords, but thoughtfully consider some industry relevant terms that can organically be included in your content).
Like we said earlier, it can be daunting to have yet another social profile to keep up with, but that’s where people like the Aspurian Digital team can help with your social media management. Another way alleviate the time constraint, is to cycle some of your relevant content across different platforms. For example, if you shared an interesting article on your Twitter account, share the same one on your LinkedIn profile too.
Join LinkedIn Groups
Whilst on the topic of being active on LinkedIn, another great way to do this is by joining groups. This could include groups for organisations that you’re involved in, and general interest groups. Groups are the perfect opportunity to build relationships and you’ll probably find that they’re full of useful information. Try to be an active participant yourself by posting relevant links, jobs and industry news to get yourself noticed.
Be Personal on LinkedIn
When you ask to connect with someone, LinkedIn offers a standard message template that you can use as an invitation. It’s absolutely essential that you avoid using this when you’re reaching out to people as it won’t make you stand out and it will do little to convince someone to connect with you. Why should they bother responding if you didn’t bother to actually write something to them? If it’s a cold contact, you want to personalise your message by introducing yourself, explaining why you’re getting in contact and why they’re relevant to you, plus what you can bring to the table before thanking them for their time. If you show effort and consideration in your message, they’ll be more likely to agree to connecting with you.
Ask for Recommendations on LinkedIn
It’s easy to forget about doing this but it’s so important. Make sure you connect with everyone you’ve worked with in the past and who you’re currently working with too. When you update your profile, LinkedIn gives you the option to ‘ask for a recommendation’. It allows you to choose what you’d like to be recommended for and who you require the recommendation from in you LinkedIn connections.
Real, honest feedback is a crucial way of making your LinkedIn profile stand out as prospective connections want to know what other people think of you and your work. Having it right there on your profile is the easiest way of securing new connections, and hopefully, valuable new relationships.
Along with requesting recommendations, it can also help to write recommendations yourself for other people and hope that they return the favour.