Tuesday, December 3, 2013

25 Tips to Rock LinkedIn

At the recent New Start Scotland Exhibition event, as part of the NSDesign social media suite of workshops, I was asked to present something. I chose the ten-year old platform of LinkedIn as my subject. Since several people asked for a copy of the “slides” after it, I thought I’d create a blog post instead.

I started off with some background comments, and by recommending that people turn off their notifications BEFORE embarking on any tweaking of their profiles. Then asked people what their actual “GOAL” is for social media. Like every other platform out there, LI works best when you have a strategy in place. You need measurable goals that you’re actually working toward or what’s the point in being on there?

What I presented was both a matter of opinion (my own opinion of course), and a variety of “best practices” too. I probably read an average of one LinkedIn article a day. I added a disclaimer that basically said that I wasn’t claiming my profile was “the best profile ever” – to be honest, it’s a constant work in progress. As I learn more, I adjust it.

Here we go!
1) A profile picture (minimum 200×200; max 500×500). Ensure it’s not left blank, or a logo in its place. It shouldn’t be a “selfie” from a night out with your pals, or one with your spouse or kids. Make it a professional studio “headshot” if at all possible. People want to see who they’re dealing with. Put your best foot forward. Profiles with pictures are said to be viewed seven times more often than ones that don’t have a profile picture. Get the picture!? (Pun intended).

2) Make a Headline that Shines (120 characters). If you don’t change it, your headline will simply be your current job title. Why not change it to include relevant keywords for search engine optimization? Google and LinkedIn seem to share a good symbiotic relationship. So if you do it right, by that I mean choosing the right words, you just may find that you can rank on page one in Google by changing your headline to reflect the right terms. Try to show the benefit of connecting to you to your potential (and current) contacts.

3) Succinct Summary (2000 max characters). To me, this isn’t the place to write your full life story or bullet point your full career, but perhaps an opportunity to show who you are in a more rounded sense. Give the reader a little insight into who you are – not just what you DO. Be authentic, use keywords, show some personality, and don’t forget some sort of call to action at the end of it.

4) URLS (30 characters). There are two areas in your profile that you should take advantage of:
A. Your customized URL (usually this is your name). Your URL is found right below your photo on LinkedIn. (See right). Click edit and make it meaningful!
Thankfully, for me, there is only one Thea Newcomb! (Accept no substitutes). :)

B. Anchor Text/ Back Links The other areas you want to claim are your various website links. These are in the “contact info” area of your profile, and they’ll say things like “Company Website” or “Personal Website”. You can choose from Blog, Company Website, Portfolio, etc.
Update your URL on Linkedin
If you choose “Other” you can then tell people what the name of the site is. Like everywhere else on your LinkedIn profile, use those relevant keywords! I can’t believe how many profiles I see out there where it’s not been used properly. It’s another place for SEO juice, as it were, so please take advantage of it and give the link a relevant name!


5) Experience and Education Put your high school, college, university, and any business training or certification on there too. When writing your experience out, be sure to expand on the title and company, and avoid just highlighting your whole resume verbatim. It’s boring. Strike a happy balance between not telling too much and leaving it sparse.

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