12 Apr The Art of LinkedIn Profile Optimization
Some might be captivated by a tapestry of words, others are enchanted by the beauty of alluring images, and most of us tend to notice numbers and signs in the text presented to us. The machines we employ as search engines try to mimic our thought processes – looking for clues to what humans would consider relevant. These are the pillars that should support the way you think about building a powerful and compelling LinkedIn profile. It’s an art – no more, no less – but one that can be taught and practiced to perfection.
Why Should You Spend Time on Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile?
Our time is a precious resource that should be spent wisely on the utmost important activities, such as family, sleep, volunteering work and progressing our career. That’s, ideally, what we’d like to be doing… instead – we find ourselves on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Netflix. Might as well re-allocate some of that downtime for the social media platform that can help you build a professional network to support your goals. A well-optimized LinkedIn profile is a great way to attract headhunters, investors and buyers; it also goes a long way with forging business relationships within your respective industry. But in order to achieve all of that, you’ll need to make it shine. So let’s dive in.
Understanding the platform
LinkedIn is a business-oriented platform – it is a great place to be inspired by industry leaders, forge professional connections and find your next job. These guidelines will help you understand how and what should be written in your professional LinkedIn profile to help potential connections find you and keep them interested.
The Heart of LinkedIn Optimization
When writing your LinkedIn profile you’ll want to keep in mind three important factors:
- Your target audience.
- Their pain points and search terms.
- Your unique added value.
As with everything in marketing – when writing for other people to read, you want to make sure you know who they are, what they need, what they’re looking for and what it is that you can offer.
Before writing a single word for your actual profile, take the time to write down a few important details that will help you build the right profile:
- The main professional characteristics of the people you want to attract: remember, LinkedIn is a professional network – you want to attract people who will be interested in your professional skills.
- Who are they?
- Where do they work and which positions do they hold?
- What are they looking for?
- What do they need in order to perform their job well?
- After you have all that down, write three unique things that you can offer them.
- Note a few keywords that are likely followed and searched for by your audience. Use them throughout while writing your profile.
A Closer Look at the LinkedIn Personal Profile
Whether in their feed or as a connection request, there are three elements other LI users will always notice first – the profile image, name and the beginning of your headline. These will represent you in any and every LinkedIn encounter.
Your name, of course, should be the real name people would expect to call you by when they meet you. Never add your job title or anything else to your LinkedIn profile’s name. Keep it true and simple.
As suggested at the beginning of this article, many onlookers will be skewed towards the visual – those will notice your image first and make a ton of assumptions about you, about your experience and about your professionalism. Your professional story and aspirations should be reflected in the image you choose. A good LI profile image is a forward-facing headshot, with an inviting smile, taken in a professional setting.
Your headline is your textual ‘hello’ on LinkedIn. Most users use it to state their profession or current position, but sometimes it might be better to use it as a way to attract potential people of interest. Whether you are looking for new clients, investors or a new job – think about your audience and what they are looking for. Use your title to catch their attention quickly by emphasizing the qualities you possess that can help them. That’s it, that’s the big secret for a great LinkedIn headline – articulate what you can do to solve their problems.
The Main Course
Once they see your interesting image and catchy headline, some LinkedIn users will want to find out more about you and click your name to go into your profile. Be ready for them with well-crafted content that speaks to your experience in providing what you know they need. Upload a beautiful image to the profile’s header, something that suggests you are worldly and are a part of your respective industry.
The ABOUT section allows up to 2,000 characters for you to tell your story. Only the first 3-4 lines will be visible before truncation, so use them wisely to attract the readers and compel them to click and read more. Here, again, make sure you know who you’re writing to, show you understand their realm’s needs and explain how you can solve their professional pains.
Leave some room at the end of this summary for your contact details, if readers made it through to there – they must be interested in what you have to offer, give them a way to connect with you.
LinkedIn offers a neat feature that lets you add flavor and color to your summary by adding links and media to the ABOUT section (and also to the experience section that follows) – use it! Link and upload media! It’s a great addition to solidify your claims and beautify the profile.
Credibility and Depth
The rest of the profile includes these sections:
- Licenses & certifications
- Volunteer Experience
- Skills & endorsements
Strive to fill all sections with relevant professional information. State measurable successes you had and add media where possible. Ask colleagues and clients to share written recommendations, more so if those can be related to the type of connections you’re looking to forge.
Engagement and Knowledge
Finally, when your profile is ready – spread the word: search for people in relevant positions and industries to connect with, and share your thoughts and knowledge. Once you are connected to your audience you’ll want to stay at the top of their minds, publish posts talking about your key knowledge areas, provide actual professional value and write about topics you find inspiring. To be effective on LinkedIn you should post at least three times a week. Another effective way is to join groups and post relevant content there, reaching people that did not connect with you.
And now, to make it easier: The short guide to your LinkedIn profile optimization:
- Choose your target audience.
- Write down 3 of their pain points.
- Articulate your UAV in three sentences.
- Write a new header to address the target audience you chose.
- Do your profile and cover images convey the right information about you?
- Rewrite the ‘about’ section – use keywords and add media.
- Fill your experience and make sure all other sections are as full as possible.