Monday, December 17, 2012

8 Creative Tips to Help You Maximize Your New LinkedIn Personal Profile Page for 2013



Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you’ve probably noticed a LOT of new changes coming out of LinkedIn. I do free monthly webinars on LinkedIn (you can sign up here to get notified of future ones), and I now have to spend the first 5 to 10 minutes just updating all of the attendees on all of the recent changes that LinkedIn has undergone since the previous webinar – just a few weeks ago!

Considering that LinkedIn profiles are the most viewed pages on LinkedIn, and your profile page really is every professional’s starting place to claim and create their own professional brand, the new user interface for LinkedIn profiles should be viewed as the most significant update to LinkedIn in 2012. While I’ve blogged about LinkedIn profile tips in the past, it’s time to take a look at the new user interface and determine how to maximize the new profile for 2013 and beyond. While not everything has changed, here are the key areas in which you should focus your efforts to get your profile up to speed:

1.) Don’t Forget the Basics: Photo, Name & Professional Headline
The fact of the matter is that the People Search functionality of LinkedIn should be viewed as Google Search for Professionals. With that in mind, similar to the importance of the headline of a web page that appears in Google (in addition to Google Authorship, but I digress…), what others see prominently featured in LinkedIn search results are your photo (which should look professional), your name (which should be displayed in full without any gimmicky nicknames), and a truly unique and “branded” professional headline to increase the inbound marketing power of your LinkedIn profile. For most of you, that means you should probably be looking at taking a new photo as well as taking a look at your professional headline and ensuring it still represents your current objectives. It should also be noted that in the new user interface, the above three features do appear slightly more prominent as well (bigger size photo, name in bold, less noise to make your professional headline stand out more), so doing this is all the more important.


2.) Make Your Profile More Discoverable
Unless you try to edit your profile you won’t see it, but LinkedIn has created more granular ways for you to decide which specific profile content you want to make more visible. Assuming that you are on LinkedIn to be found, it makes sense that you would want your entire profile visible to the public search engines. However, even though my profile has always been set to be as publicly on display as possible, I noticed that the new LinkedIn settings meant that certain sections were NOT being exposed to search engines. Below is the screenshot of what my settings looked like when I first saw them. You’ll want to make sure that you check off every box like I ended up doing.
new linkedin profile search engine settings
Customize your new LinkedIn profile to maximize your chances of being found in search engines.

3.) Get Active!
In the world of online marketing, what appears “above the fold” on your website is critical in that this is the content a viewer will see without having to scroll down. What features prominently in the new profile is your “Activity,” or status updates as well as other actions that you perform on LinkedIn, which wipes out all but the title of your professional summary. This makes your most recent LinkedIn status update all the more crucial as it will be featured rather prominently above the fold and visible to all who view your profile. LinkedIn’s decision to prevent you from automating publishing every tweet as a status update was a welcome move to make your network updates more professional, but you still need to ask yourself before posting any status update if they are truly 1) professional and 2) aligned with your branding. You also want to make sure you post at a certain frequency, say a minimum of once a week, so that your latest update doesn’t seem stale and out of date. You can easily use LinkedIn Today to curate relevant content to share with your network, so now’s the time to make that feature part of your LinkedIn routine.


4.) Create Your Professional Gallery
When LinkedIn announced that they were discontinuing their LinkedIn Events application, it wasn’t clear at the time what LinkedIn was really doing. Sometime ago LinkedIn had already stopped supporting the Google Presentations application, which was the preferred method I recommended to embed a video into your LinkedIn profile. Now we realize what has happened: LinkedIn has stopped supporting the applications platform in its entirety. Instead, LinkedIn has taken the wise move of simply allowing you to add any visual type of content (i.e. video, photo, presentation, document, etc.) into your LinkedIn profile by simply inserting a link. This is truly an eloquent way of supercharging your professional branding by adding some powerful visual context to it. Below is a sample of what I have done, mixing together SlideShare presentations, YouTube videos (not only my own but others that I have appeared in), and even an Instagram photo!

The new Professional Gallery is a no-brainer that every professional should use to showcase their achievements.

Two things to note about this new Professional Gallery: 1) You can edit the titles (which appear in the above thumbnails) as well as the description (which will appear when someone views your specific content) and 2) You can add your professional gallery both at the end of your Professional Summary (which I would recommend) as well as below any of your work experience or education positions (which you may want to additionally do if you have a lot of visual content that you want to sprinkle amongst various parts of your profile OR for those types of content which may not be as relevant to your current professional branding or objectives).

Tips 5-8 and Complete Article

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