Whether you’re looking for a job, searching for freelance clients or promoting a business, LinkedIn is an ideal place to start. Some people, myself included, have neglected LinkedIn for the more popular social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. But recently, I’ve started spending more time at LinkedIn and have been kicking myself for not recognizing it’s potential for reaching my market sooner.
LinkedIn offers something most other social networks don’t and that is room to create fleshed out profiles with a focus on building professional connections. But like other social networks, the number of connections can get unwieldy fairly quickly, making it difficult to find people unless you search them specifically. That means, if someone is looking to hire in your industry, he might miss you if he doesn’t know your name. Fortunately, employers can also search connections by industry and job, which means they can easily find you through a search if you’ve optimized your profile with keywords related to your job and industry.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile starts with knowing the keywords potential employers and clients use to find people who do what you do. If you’re a freelance writer, then “freelance writer” is a keyword. But if you specialize, such as freelance copywriting or freelance web writer, then you want to use those words. If you’re stuck, use a keyword tool to help you find the popular words and phrases used by your market. Google has recently terminated its free tool, but you can try SEO Book Keyword tool, which requires registration, but is free.
Once you have a list of keywords and phrases, you want to use them in your profile on LinkedIn. Here are the best places to use your keywords.
1) Headline: The headline appears right after your name. Some people write a tagline, but you can get more mileage out of the space by using keyword descriptions. For example, “Freelance Copywriter, Direct Mail Expert, and Online Marketing Strategist.”
2) Summary: You get 2000 words to entice potential employers, clients and customers. It’s a lot of space, but don’t waste it with a list of your accomplishments. Instead, weave your keywords and phrases into a summary that shares your brand value and benefits.
3) Current Work Experience: Like a resume, your LinkedIn profile offers potential employers and clients the opportunity to see what you’re doing now. If possible, use your keywords in the headers and text areas of your work experience. Instead of just providing your current employer or client name, also include a keyword. For example, “Acme Business Co: Freelance Copywriter and Direct Sales Consultant”