Personal branding starts with LinkedIn.
If there's ever been a time in your career to think about personal branding, that time is now. With the rules of business shifting on a daily basis and world uncertainties, it's the personal relationships that will sustain us, no matter what your industry or career path. Building a compelling professional profile on LinkedIn is a key step to personal branding, social selling and lead generation.
In previous posts we've talked about the importance of serving, then understanding the concept of social selling. Today, we're going to focus on how to actually turn your LinkedIn profile into a lead generating machine.
LinkedIn Profile Tips - 5 Steps to Success
Step 1: Pass the 7-Second Test
Want to make a stellar first impression on LinkedIn? You must first pass the 7-second test. Quick, take a look at your profile now. What do you see? If you see a tired old photo, uninspiring job title, a yawn-worthy summary and no mention of industry keywords, then you've got your work set out for you. Good news is, there will be plenty of room for growth and opportunity with just a few small tweaks.
Here are a few quick wins to pass the 7- second test, right away:
- Make sure your profile image is current, shows your face and is well-lit. Nothing too artsy, show-offy, or casual. (This post hilariously shows some profile "do-nots").
- Update your headline to be customer-centric. No one knows/cares what a VP of Marketing is, what they care about is what you can do for them. This profile is an excellent example. Lead with your value proposition, not your title.
- Same goes for your summary. Answer the "what's in it for me" question, touch on your "why," sprinkle in some industry keywords and finish strong with a call-to-action. Bam! Your summary can be up to 2,000 characters; use as many as possible. The most effective formula for writing a compelling and client-focused summary section includes making sure that you address your ideal clients, focusing on their problem, your solution.
- Freshen up your work experience. Your title and dates will be the same, of course, but you may want to take advantage of the section description. Refresh the text to better align with the current prospect you're hoping to connect with.
Step 2: Consider Your Credibility
Relationships are built on trust. Your LinkedIn profile must be credible and worthy of the trust and confidence of your prospects.
Three ways to boost your credibility is through Recommendations, Skill Endorsements, and Accomplishments.
Recommendations are statements written by other members of LinkedIn. They could come from colleagues, business partners, or the like. Recommendations drill into the how and why of a work experience someone had with you. They really are an excellent way for you to "show not tell" the value you can bring to a client.
The key to get Recommendations is to ask for them while a client, customer, colleague or business partner is on a high-note with you. If you receive a private message or email that includes some form of praise, simply ask them if they'd feel comfortable writing a Recommendation on your behalf, and you could offer one in exchange (if it's appropriate, of course).
Skills & Endorsements
An Endorsement is a one-click way for your connections to endorse you on the skills listed on your profile. While Endorsements do not hold the same weight as a Recommendation, they still bring an element of social proof. Additionally, LinkedIn offers skill quizzes to further showcase a specific skill you may offer.
Your Accomplishments help further establish your credibility. Certifications, honors, awards, and any form of recognition will raise your reputation as far as your target audience is concerned. This is a great place to share high profile clients you’ve worked with and any other form of social proof to give you extra credibility. Tip: make sure your Accomplishments section includes current accolades. Outdated information may work against you rather than for you.
You may want to consider additional resources to help position your authority, such as LinkedIn Publisher posts and a video of you speaking on your topic.
Step 3: Stand Out
Want to take your profile one step further so you can actually get seen in the vast landscape of your colleagues? Incorporate rich media.
LinkedIn's rich media feature allows you to add videos, SlideShare presentations, and PDFs. Adding multimedia to your summary and current work experience sections will give you that extra "oomph" to really help you stand out. You can include a "hello" video or testimonial, a SlideShare of a recent presentation, PDF's, white papers, or any other marketing materials that will help you get stand out from the crowd.
- Incorporate videos, SlideShare presentations, or PDFs
- Displays a professional cover photo
- Feature your recommendations and endorsements section for social proof
Note: Be sure all your rich media content is both relevant and professional in appearance.
Step 4: CTA (Call-to-Action)
A CTA (or call-to-action) will help gently guide your prospect from casual browsers to potential customers. It simply needs to answer the question: what do you want them to do next? Without this one small detail, prospects may leave your profile not taking action, and you'll be losing potential revenue.
CTAs can serve different purposes, such as an invitation to email or call you, download a free resource, or schedule a consult. Add a CTA to your LinkedIn profile to help facilitate further engagement or get new leads.
When you take the time to complete these five steps, you will have a compelling and professional LinkedIn profile that will ensure you are ready to start connecting with prospects and generating new business on LinkedIn.
Looking for leads on LinkedIn and beyond? LiftCertain may be for you!
Step 5: Engage
The most successful LinkedIn profiles are not ones that sit stagnant! Bring your profile to life by adding posts, commenting on posts and leading with a helpful attitude.
Follow our blog to learn more about social selling including our social selling framework
In the coming weeks, be on the lookout for our social selling framework. The purpose of this series is to help people move from simply collecting connections online to building relationships offline, growing their business infinitely more than you ever thought possible.