Are you a LinkedIn user? LinkedIn may not feel like a crowded market, but with over 450 million users in more than 200 countries, what a crowded marketplace it is!
Yet LinkedIn is said to be the best social media platform for business. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with a mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
So how do you make yourself visible, noticed and contacted in this crowded network of almost half a billion users?
How do you stand out in the LinkedIn crowd?
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The answer lies in a carefully crafted and strategically thought through LinkedIn profile that places you in front of potential clients and employers.
Your profile is your LinkedIn page and you need to be very targeted and laser-focused in completing your LinkedIn profile.
So here are 7 simple things you can do to make your linkedIn profile work for you.
#1. Have a headline that is targeted and stands out
This is the very first thing I improved upon after I realised that my LinkedIn profile was working against me. Your headline is part of your first impression and that is what stands out in your public profile.
Spend time to think through what you will include in your headline. Use specific keywords. Target specific clients.
Here is an example from my LinkedIn Profile.
What does your headline say about you?
#2. Add a professional photo to your profile.
It is so easy to take a photo with your mobile phone. What takes some investment of time, effort and money is to get a professional photo taken. You don’t have to use a professionally taken photograph, but if you do, then you are 14 times more likely to be seen and 36 times more likely to receive a message on LinkedIn.
Please don’t use your favourite selfie.
#3. List and regularly reorder the skills on your profile
So what can you do? What skills do you have to offer your potential clients or employers? What can be more easier to do than to list the skills you have and then let other LinkedIn users connected to you endorse you for those skills.
According to LinkedIn statistics, your profile is 13 times more likely to be viewed if you list your skills.
You can also reorder your skills so that you can place the more important ones for your clients at the top.
#4. The Keywords should be focused on your potential clients
As part of completing my LinkedIn profile, I added lots of keywords that I assumed linkedIn users would be searching for. This was a good move on my part except for the fact that the key words were all about me? Not so good. It should be about my target audience and the benefits they can get when they do business with me.
I discovered this during a session with my brand consultant.
Your LinkedIn profile should not be about showing yourself as a great person. It should be about showing your potential clients or employers how much better their life or business would be improved if they engaged your services or employed you.
#5. Include any volunteer experience
Another LinkedIn survey quoted by Fortune.com found that less than half of professionals who had substantial volunteering experience quoted it in their resume or listed it in their LinkedIn profile.
Yet 41% of managers said that they valued volunteering experience.
So what roles have you been involved in as a Toastmaster? What were your achievements whilst in that role? You may wish to consider making such experience stand out in your LinkedIn profile.
#6. Clearly highlight your educational qualifications.
This is not one of the places to remain humble and blend in with the crowd. Let your educational achievements shout out loud for you. Someone who went to the same university as yourself might just be the one responsible for hiring.
Your professional qualifications and postgraduate achievements will get you noticed. It’s all about the all-important first impression. My friend always tells me about the massive improvement in the LinkedIn profile views he got after completing his Doctorate degree and adding PhD to his name. This is in line with the LinkedIn fact that users who have educational awards and accolades mentioned on their profile receive up to 10 times more profile views than those who don’t.
#7. Be active in a group
If you do not belong to a LinkedIn group, you may wish to consider joining one. This is because your name, photo and job will be listed in the group. This increases the chances that your profile will be viewed and it also opens up the possibility for more connections.
Remember that LinkedIn works best for you when you get noticed by your target audience. If your target audience has a group, then you better be in that group. And while you are in the group, be proactive, share other people’s valuable content and they will share yours in return. As the saying goes, one good turn deserves another.
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Now don’t just start editing your LinkedIn profile. You need to take a strategic look at what you want to achieve from LinkedIn. There are lots of things LinkedIn can do for you and there are also many things you cannot achieve with LinkedIn. Do you know the difference?
Do you have a specific target audience or client in mind?
Is your audience on LinkedIn? Maybe Facebook or Twitter would be better for you.
You see, your LinkedIn profile is part of your personal branding and it needs to be congruent with your brand message.
It may be time for you to look at what message you are sending out with your personal brand.