21 Jan 2019
LinkedIn Best Practices: 7 Ways to Get More from Your Profile
If you’re like many professionals, you’re always looking for ways to get your name out there. Don’t overlook what’s right under your nose! LinkedIn is the most powerful business networking tool on the planet, but many of us rarely give it a second thought.
For example, when was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? How many times have you posted this month? How many connections have you made this year?
That sad fact is, many of us only spend time on LinkedIn when we’re jobhunting. But that doesn’t make it any less remarkable. There are more than 562 million business people on LinkedIn, from more than 200 countries. Where else can you learn who-works-where so easily…target prospects individually…and connect with potentially anyone, at any level, in any industry?
Best of all, it only takes a little well-placed effort to get more from the LinkedIn platform. These seven LinkedIn best practices will help you leverage this mighty networking tool more effectively, whatever you want to achieve.
1. Treat Your LinkedIn Profile as a Never-ending Story
Even if your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date in terms of your job history, it’s never really “done.” Smart users are continually tweaking their LinkedIn profiles. The world is always changing and you are, too.
That means incorporating emerging industry keywords that will help draw people to you and use what you’re learning day-by-day to better position yourself.
According to one survey, 83% of businesspeople said they check LinkedIn profiles before deciding to do business with someone new. If someone you’d like to meet was to view your LinkedIn profile right now, would it tell them what you want them to know?
2. Target Your LinkedIn Profile to Your Ideal Visitor
You can’t be everything to everyone. Why not use your LinkedIn profile to speak to whoever you most want to reach right now?
For example, when you’re in jobhunting mode, it’s smart to use your LinkedIn profile to highlight your skills and achievements. But when your goal is to attract new clients, why not devote more space to the products or services you offer, while demonstrating why you’re qualified to provide them? Similarly, if you’re trying to establish yourself as an industry expert, it pays to emphasize your credentials, while sharing valuable content.
Each time your business objectives change, simply recalibrate your profile.
3. Include a Clear, Professional Business Photo
Reluctant to post your photo online? Get over it! On LinkedIn, no one wants to do business with a faceless gray silhouette. In fact, according to LinkedIn, users who include a profile photo receive 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages than those who don’t.
If you don’t have a polished, current business portrait of your smiling, approachable face, get one. Make sure it’s at least 400 x 400 pixels; blurry photos don’t cut it. Neither do personal photos, unless they are reflective of your line of work.
4. Optimize Your Most Valuable “Real Estate”
When someone visits your LinkedIn profile, two things will jump out at them: your headline, which is directly under your name, and your summary, which precedes your job history. Make sure they’re working hard for you.
In the headline, many people simply list their official job title and employer name, but you can do more (you have 120 characters to work with). If your title doesn’t make it clear what you do, spell it out—make it easy for people to find you.
Ditto your summary. First of all, don’t assume people will know what your job is—explain it, in a way that will resonate with your target visitor. Say you’re an insurance agent seeking new clients. Instead of recapping your experience, you might want to spotlight your key products and explain how you work with individuals and groups to make sure they get the right plan for them.
5. Grow Your LinkedIn Connections, Mindfully
While it’s great to be a “super user” (a LinkedIn member with 500+ connections), quality comes first. Don’t ask random people to join your network and don’t hesitate to turn down requests from strangers you have no interest in knowing.
When you do invite people to join your network, trade in that generic “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message for a carefully-crafted personalized note. If you’ve met, remind them how. Give them a reason to accept your invitation.
6. Be an Active Presence on LinkedIn
The more active you are on LinkedIn, the more likely you are to draw people to you. Make it a habit to post short updates, share interesting industry articles, and like and comment on your connections’ posts. Write recommendations for people who impress you (perhaps others will return the favor).
Try joining a few groups relevant to your goals, and be an active member. You can always leave if it doesn’t pay off, but it’s one way to attract greater exposure. Of course, one of the best ways to raise your professional profile is to post original content, perhaps using LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. It’s not for everyone and there are limitations (no sales pitches, for example), but if you have something to say, go for it.
7. Set LinkedIn Activity Goals for Yourself
If you want to get the most from your LinkedIn profile, you need to be a regular user. One way is through goalsetting. You might commit to connecting with 10 new people each month and posting two updates each week—or you might make a running appointment with yourself to spend 15 minutes on LinkedIn a few times a week.
In summary, there’s nothing else quite like LinkedIn at your disposal. Perhaps the fact that it’s free makes it easy to undervalue. But by adopting a few proven LinkedIn best practices, you can get more from this powerful networking tool. What have you got to lose?