I admit to having almost abandoned LinkedIn lately; with all the hype behind Facebook, Google+, and - let’s not forget – Pinterest, it can be easy to let the sleeping lion be. LinkedIn has more going for it than you first realize, however. It is one of the only pure social media sites that is 100% dedicated to helping you build your business. Your Grandma isn’t there to spy on you, it isn’t full of meme’s, and you can get on and get done in far less time than you will spend frittering around on Facebook.
I’m sure you already have a LinkedIn profile. If you don’t, stop everything and put one up now. Then follow these simple and ridiculously-effective tips you may have overlooked in marketing your business on LinkedIn:
1. Complete your profile to 100% completion. Ok…. This first one may take more than a minute. You will need to fill out the various parts of your profile until LinkedIn says you are done. Some parts of this may take more time than others (getting or giving recommendations, for example.) It really is worth your time, however, to have a 100% finished page.
Hint: LinkedIn lets you cheat a bit by answering certain questions it wants to know about you. I don’t speak any other languages other than English, for example; saying so helped me go from a 95% completion status to “done.”
2. Use your “other website” anchor text wisely. I had no idea that I could change the descriptions in my profile that direct to my blog and website until I read about it in a free HubSpot ebook. Your profile likely defaults to a link for “Company Website”, for example. When you edit your websites, simply change the boxes in the first pull-down to “other”, and you’ll be able to type in the name of the site, along with the URL for a completely customized anchor text.
Hint: Make sure you use the actual title for your site (Mary’s Virtual Assistant Services, for example) OR something clever that you want associated with the site long-term. The anchor text you choose will help make your sites more memorable to profile viewers AND will give your sites a little SEO boost.
3. Upload a GOOD photo. I know what you’re thinking. “If I’m a good business person, my looks shouldn’t matter.” They may not, but people can more easily connect with a person that has a face, and a professional photo within your LinkedIn profile can help them make that connection. It’s important that you choose a photo that makes you appear friendly yet qualified.
Hint: Some of the photos that I’ve seen from some very reputable business contacts look like either a) mug shots, or b) something cropped out of their MySpace profile. Avoid anything that screams “crackhead” at all costs and get a friend to snap a more suitable photo, if you can’t afford a professional headshot.
4. Get rid of résumé bullet points. Please. I know that it can be tempting to get that first bit of information added to your LinkedIn profile in a jiffy. You want to look proficient, but don’t have the time or energy to craft a brilliant profile summary. Even if you have to put one or two sentences about your services, specialties, or experience, make it original. Everyone knows when you’ve copied and pasted directly from your resume, and the dull and lifeless bullet points are not selling anybody on your skills.
Hint: If you absolutely MUST rob from the résumé or Curriculum Vitae, snag something from the “objective” section and rewrite it for flair. Two to three sentences telling others what you are hoping to achieve professionally is better than nothing.
5. Seriously reconsider importing feeds. Unless you have been monitoring your blog traffic and can prove that a good chunk of your site visitors are coming from the feeds set up to appear in your LinkedIn profile, avoid this “trick” at all costs. Yes, some business blogs update regularly with content that other LinkedIn users will find useful. A few select Twitter feeds sparingly populate with essential tips for the business network at large. The majority of us, however, would jeopardize our LinkedIn profiles with updates of sports scores, Kim Kardashian’s latest fling, or an acute observation on our infant child’s penchant for middle-of-the-night Yo Gabba Gabba viewings. Leave it out -- if you can.
Hint: If you are destined to feed your Twitter activity directly into your LinkedIn page, do it with the advice of Social Media Examiner’s recent article. They take you step-by-step through the right way of getting this done.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of mastering the LinkedIn profile. It can help you get an excellent start, however. Check back for more social media tips, and be sure to read 3 Right Ways to Grow Your Business with Twitter!
*Photo by TheSeafarer via Flickr.
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