Monday, May 6, 2013

5 Ways To Boost Your Visibility With The New LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has become a serious business tool for professionals and organisations.

With more than 10 million UK members and more than 200 million globally – LinkedIn is a significant resource for people to be tapping into.

Whilst the platform is still vitally useful for those looking for employment, or finding new talent – it is increasingly used by organisations or decision makers as a first port of call when looking to reach out for new suppliers too.

Unlike, Twitter or Facebook where you may visit for ‘entertainment’ value as well as for business – LinkedIn is the serious business to business network. Whether you are looking for employment, talent, business development opportunities or looking for new suppliers – LinkedIn is the social network people visit to ‘do business’.

In the latter part of 2012, LinkedIn made a number of revamps to the look and feel and functionality of the platform. Removing some assets such as, LinkedIn Events (still not clear why that useful element was removed, perhaps to become a paid for option in the near future), LinkedIn Answers – and LinkedIn Applications – to name a few.

However, whilst many of these elements changed, it’s not all doom and gloom. The new look and feel platform offers individuals the opportunity to develop a more ‘media rich’ profile experience. Also , the profile look is simpler and looks cleaner and definitely more 2013 – and the changes to the Company Profile, offers companies the opportunity to recreate keyword targeted, media rich landing pages to create a valuable and well optimised LinkedIn Company Profile.

LinkedIn – A Big Database
If you think about it – LinkedIn is a huge database, one which is increasing daily (stats reveal that 2 people sign up to LinkedIn every second!). Therefore, the task of getting your profile visible to people who are searching is becoming increasingly difficult.

As with all huge databases, the ability to search for what you require and have relevant results delivered is critical. LinkedIn has search algorithms in place to help users find what they are looking for.

Understanding how to stand out and ensure that these algorithms can view and sort your Profile is key. There are things that you can do to optimise your LinkedIn Profile for search and visibility – so let’s take a look at 5 Key Ways to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile’s visibility.

1 Getting to ‘All Star’ (previously 100% Complete) Pre the LinkedIn changes back in late 2012 – you may recall that when you created your profile you were presented with a ‘completeness score’. Effectively, this ‘score’ – provided you with a gauge as to how ‘complete’ your LinkedIn Profile was – eg: Your Profile is 15% complete or Your Profile is 55% complete.
There are a number of facets within your Profile to complete before you reached the ultimate 100%. Now with the new look and feel LinkedIn Profile – the same concept remains, however, the facets you need to complete to get your profile as complete as possible has changed slightly – and is now made up of the following:
  1. Your industry and location
  2. An up-to-date current position with description (please note that if you want your current position to align with the Company LinkedIn Profile that may already exist – be sure that you use the correct wording for the company name you work with – and to hyperlink your profile directly across to the LinkedIn Company Page – be sure to have ticked the ‘current position’ box.
  3. Two past positions
  4. Your education (again, this is what you choose to insert – you don’t have to give a running commentary from age 11).
  5. Your skills (min of 3)
  6. Profile photo (not the one of you over on Facebook enjoying a glass of wine with friends – but instead, your business persona).
  7. At least 50 connections.
The other change is the terminology. The words have changed from the easily understood, ‘100% Complete’ to ‘All Star’. Not sure why they decided to change the terminology – and the new terms certainly remind us that the platform was founded in the US – however, we are where we are – and the new terminology applies.
To summarise – the % of completeness of your LinkedIn Profile sends a signal to the algorithms to favour your profile above those profiles which are less complete than yours.
So, the message is to ensure that you have completed the facets as outlined above – to get your LinkedIn Profile to ‘All Star’ status.

2 Connect to All Stars – There is cause to believe that the ‘completeness theme’ continues with those that you connect with. Our networks play a big influence on how visible we are on LinkedIn – and research has identified that when people are connected to other ‘All Stars’ – that this plays a part in influencing your own visibility. So, spread the good word – and ensure that your colleagues and the contacts that you are connected with are all up to ‘All Star’ status – as this will help all of you. This may influence who you connect with.

3 Connections – As I alluded to in point 2 above – our networks play a big part in our own visibility on LinkedIn. To get to All Star status – you need to have at least 50 connections. However, research has shown that those with more connections gain more visibility. Is it a case of connecting with all and everyone? One would hope that LinkedIn’s search algorithms were more intelligent than simply just working on a network reach perspective – however, at this time of writing – then there isn’t any evidence to show that being more targeted in who you connect with provides you with any search Brownie Points. Of course, whilst the person you initially connect with may not seem to be directly relevant to you – remember they will have a large network – and many of those within their network could be really useful.

However, I would suggest that you do keep in mind why you are on LinkedIn in the first place – and be as targeted as possible in who you connect with – but just ensure that you connect with a lot of people. After all – the 1,2,3 layers of connection – very quickly get you into millions of peoples networks. Therefore – if visibility is your aim – then currently, growing your connections is a key tactic to employ.

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