LinkedIn - 10 Tips for Optimising your Personal Profile
IN THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS WE’VE SPENT TIME HANDING OUT HINTS AND TIPS ON INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER. WE ARE NOW TAKING A LOOK AT THE PROFESSIONAL POWERHOUSE THAT IS LINKEDIN, AND HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE CHANNEL.
This article delves into how personal profiles can be built, whilst company pages will be addressed in a subsequent post.
LinkedIn has grown significantly in recent years. Back in 2011 there were around 140million members. Fast forward to present day and we are looking at 575+ million members with nearly half of those active on a monthly basis. This is the stomping ground for those wanting to grow their professional networking group, build their personal brand and profile, and grow awareness and engagement for their business. With over 25 million members in the UK are you harnessing LinkedIn to its full potential?
LinkedIn works just like any other search engine (i.e Google). This means you have to make yourself ‘findable.’
Bridging the gap between you and the audience should always be at the forefront of your mind, when you post anything on LinkedIn.
We visualise it like this as it just helps us tune into conversations we care about. The social network itself represents a platform (or medium) where the conversation takes place, but finding the right conversation takes a bit of work.
There’s also a bit of work required if you’re seeking to establish a presence and make it easier for others to find you and your conversations. Bottom line, you have to maximise your profile because LinkedIn works two ways (a bit like a double agent): it feeds you information about other people, but it also feeds your information to other people.
Reaching the All-Star status is quite important because according to LinkedIn’s own data, it enables you to be 40 times more likely to find opportunities. In other words, it’s LinkedIn’s way of rewarding you for exhibiting civic sense within their community. Achieving this status is a culmination of the above factors.
Enough theory! Let’s see some practical steps which you can implement in order to become a LinkedIn All Star…
1. PROFILE PICTURE, COVER IMAGE, HEADLINE & ABOUT
Your personal profile is a reflection of your brand and this is something we notice a number of companies and individualsmiss. As such, it should be put under the same scrutiny as your business’ website:
ensure it adheres to your company’s brand guidelines
keep the information up to date
don’t treat it as a dumping place for ugly content. (We’re not in 2003 anymore and no person you’d be interested in having a conversation with, is going to be force fed your pick of stock imagery.)
It should only take a few seconds for anyone having a look at your profile or company profile to identify your brand, understand who you are, and your role within the organisation.
Now, let’s get personal and start with the profile photo. Upload a square image with enough room around your melon, as LinkedIn will crop it into a circle. And make sure it’s in HD. Selfies are fine if you’re a freelancer but try to capture it on or amongst some sort of branding if you’re part of an organisation. It’s pretty much the same for the cover photo. If you’re a car salesman, you’d want to showcase something related to the type of cars you’re selling or a company logo.
Make sure your headline and current position are up to date, and that you’ve selected the correct organisation. If gaining more exposure is your goal, you might want to use a job title that’s a bit more common. This is where the SEO bit on LinkedIn comes into play. It’ll make it easier for people to find you through LinkedIn’s search function, as well as Google.
Here comes everyone’s favourite part: writing about yourself. Ideally you’d want to use relevant keywords in here as well, as it makes you easier to find through both LinkedIn and Google. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to writing your blurb. Most people paste an endless list of character traits hoping it might hit the right notes with certain recruiters. It’d be wise to avoid falling into that trap. Putting together a blurb that’s a bit original and authentic will place you above the fold. Maybe run it by a friend or colleague in case you need a different pair of eyes.
Reaching the All–Star status would also require you to upload some form of “media” (that’s what LinkedIn calls it) but we understand it as PDFs, PPTs, presentations, Slide Shares or eBooks. Some people upload their CVs. If you don’t have any, feel free to leave this bit empty.
Done. Looking good, onto the next section.
Three to five bullet points usually do the job just fine. However, there’s no one-size-fits all here either. Feel free to write more should you feel compelled to. Again, bear in mind that LinkedIn scours your profile for relevant keywords. You might want to throw some relevant ones from the industry.
Alternatively, you can write a description of your company if you’re not comfortable sharing more info about your current role. Here’s a model Bottle profile that features a combination of both…
Although not necessary, we say include all of your previous roles. This depends on your level of seniority and experienceof course. And again it comes down to personal preference.
Make sure the correct organisation is selected, add in any other forms of “media” (whitepapers you contributed to, for example), and that’s that!
Add the most relevant ones, don’t feel the need to invest too much time in this section. It’s not a job interview.
Maybe ask a few colleagues to endorse you for a few as well.
4. EDUCATION, LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS
Your University degree and/or College qualifications for example, would go here, feel free to write a description about your course as it helps with search engines.
Add in any relevant extra-curricular certifications or licenses you acquired.
Growing your network is key to increasing your exposure and making the most out of your LinkedIn efforts. An easy way to ensure your profile doesn’t stagnate would be to form the habit of always extending a LinkedIn invite to every new person (of interest) you interact with both online or offline.
Drop them a nice, authentic message when you send the invitation to connect. It will make you stand out from the ‘unwanted’ crowd spamming them I WANT TO SELL YOU THIS. It makes the recipient feel good about their work as well, and you might even plant the seed for new opportunities. Here’s one we made earlier…
You don’t need to be liking and commenting on their updates every day, but it makes it much easier to be on their radar.
6. GOING PUBLIC
Now that the setup phase is done and you started making new friends, there’s one final aspect you need to be aware of regarding your LinkedIn profile. By default, some of the information you shared above is hidden from search engines:
“You control your profile and can limit what is shown on search engines, and other off-LinkedIn services. Viewers who aren’t signed into LinkedIn will see all or some portions of the profile view displayed below.”
Leaving your profile with all the default privacy settings enabled kind of defeats the whole purpose of everything we’re trying to achieve. As such, we need to go public!
Here’s how: click on your cute little picture on the nav bar at the top, and then select view profile. Like so…
Click “Edit public profile & URL”:
And then, we like to make everything public. This is totally down to your personal preference of course however.
We prefer to have all the items in the list set to “show”, apart from groups.
7. COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS…
…because that’s what social media is for, innit?
You’ll be pleased to hear that LinkedIn provides a free way for you to measure the strength of your profile. The metric is called Social Selling Index (SSI) and you can get your score for free by signing in with your LinkedIn login details here:
The social selling dashboard tells @Eduard-Chilcos that he is top 4% of his industry based on SSI, and also provides some actionable insights he could work on to improve my score:
Quite neat, eh?
You can also check how many people viewed your profile by hitting “home” on the navbar at the top, and then selecting “who’s viewed your profile” on the left:
It’ll show you the amount of views going back 90 days, with a breakdown for each week. But that’s about as far as it goes and there’s not much manipulation you can do with the data.
It’ll show some of the people who viewed your profile, but a premium account is required to view all of them.
8. MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF YOUR UPDATES
The good news is that LinkedIn reports the amount of views, comments and reactions (likes, applauses, and the other stuff) on your updates. What’s even better is that they’re breaking it down per company name and job title.
The bad news is that this data can only be acquired manually by going through each update. Not very “modern”. So on this platform, reporting comes down to filling out your spreadsheets and building your own charts if you want to analyse your results… which is something you should want!
To get the amount of views for your posts you have to click on your tiny little picture in the navbar at the top of your screen, and then select “Posts & activity” from the dropdown menu.
It’ll take you to a page where you can see all of your activity. Click on “posts” because we’re not interested in all of the activity for this purpose.
To see a breakdown of the companies where your post was popular, job titles and locations, click on the amount of views:
That’s the type of information you can get from your personal LinkedIn profile.
Company pages have a dedicated analytics section, but we’ll cover that in a separate blog as it’s a (slightly) different type of monster.
9. HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO POST?
Content shared through LinkedIn has a much longer lifespan than other social media platforms. We were pleasantly surprised to see the amount of views increasing on updates up to a week after they have been posted. There seems to be a stronger emphasis on driving conversation and having your content propagate throughout your network.
Three posts per week should be just fine. They don’t have to be new content every time, you can simply reshare a graphic, a news article and just add a few bits of insights in your comment. People appreciate snackable content which can easily be actioned/reused.
People using LinkedIn are actively looking for content to engage with so it’s not all one way – there’s something in it for you too. And remember if you see something you like or you learn something new from a post let the author know. They’ll appreciate the engagement.
10. PRIME TIME FOR POSTING:
40 % of those that engage with LinkedIn are doing so on a daily basis. Tuesday to Friday being the optimum time for browsing but it’s the hours between 8am-2pm that get the most traffic and Wednesday the most active day.
Users don’t hang around for long, with the average time spent on the site being around 17 minutes. So, if you’re planning to post keep it short, keep it snappy and be creative.
Hopefully these helpful tips will have your LinkedIn profile and activities in tip top shape and moving up the social selling ladder in no time. Let us know how you get on…