17th January 2017 Claire Hawes

Your guide to creating a stellar LinkedIn profile

First impressions count. Encourage visitors to find out more about you by using this guide to create a stellar LinkedIn profile.

Mention the words LinkedIn profiles and many small business owners recoil, unsure of LinkedIn’s purpose and what it can offer those not looking for a job. Do you do the same?

Yet there is no need to fear LinkedIn. It is just another social network… like Facebook. The only difference is that LinkedIn’s target audience is businesses.

And with 430m+ members, 20m of who are in the UK, LinkedIn is a pretty powerful professional network. So it is worth making sure that your presence, if you have one, is up to date and presents you in the best possible light, even if it is not your social media platform of choice.

Here’s a small task for you. Google yourself. Does your LinkedIn profile rank above or very close to your website?

  • You should know that having an up to date LinkedIn profile boosts search engine rankings as your profile and activity are indexed on both LinkedIn & Google searches.

Now put yourself in the shoes of your customers and take a good look at your current LinkedIn profile. What impression are you making? How well does your profile reflect your personal and business brand?

If your profile is complete it will:

  • Build trust and confidence in your brand by reinforcing and verifying who you are, what your business is, where you have come from and where you are going

Even if you are not quite ready to jump in, join groups and start networking on LinkedIn, you can see why it still makes sense to have a fully completed and engaging profile that

  • Leave a good first impression
  • Encourages viewers to find out more about you

In this post I am going to give you a few simple tips for creating what LinkedIn describes as an “All Star’ personal profile:

1. Make it easy for people to find you. Think keywords

Before writing or editing anything in connection with your LinkedIn profile, think about the key words you wish to be associated with.

For example, as a copywriter, it makes sense for me to be associated with the keyword ‘copywriting’. Therefore I have made sure that the keyword ‘copywriting’ appears in the various sections of my profile, including my professional headline and summary.

2. Add a professional photo

 I like this oft used analogy. ‘You wouldn’t enter a networking event with a paper bag over your head. So why do it online?’ Remember, LinkedIn is simply an online networking event.

Of course on the flip side, be aware that LinkedIn is not Facebook. It is not a place for users to browse photos of you having fun with your family and friends. It is a place for users to do business with you. So ensure your photo is both professional and makes you look approachable.

3. Add a cover image

Take the opportunity to extend your brand identity across your social media platforms by adding a cover image.

  • Locate your profile on the top navigation menu
  • Click on edit profile
  • Upload your image
  • Click Save

4. Include a professional headline

There are 2 points to consider when drafting a professional headline.

  • Firstly, by default, LinkedIn populates professional headlines current job titles and companies. Yet as this information is already listed in the “Experience” section of your current job, why repeat it?
  • Secondly, as a copywriter, I know that on average 8 out of 10 people read your headlines, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your copy. This is why getting your headlines right is so important.

Therefore I recommend you treat your LinkedIn headline as you would any other headline. Tell your audience not only what you do, but also tell them what benefit they get from working with you.

You have 120 characters in which to do this.

5. Claim your LinkedIn vanity URL

Promote your profile with an easy to read and professional LinkedIn ‘vanity’ URL. By default, LinkedIn provides you with a URL made up of your name and a jumble of numbers. Make your URL user-friendly and memorable simply by:

  • Locating your Profile on the top drop down navigation menu
  • Click Edit profile
  • Click on the settings icon located to the right of your LinkedIn URL
  • Click the edit icon that sits next to your LinkedIn URL in the right-hand column
  • Edit your URL
  • Click Save

6. Make your website/blog links customer focused

Here is a nifty SEO trick. Replace your default “My Website” and “Blog” text links in your LinkedIn profile with search friendly keyword rich links.

You can add up to 3 website links within your profile. Search engine optimise them by:

  • Locating your Profile on the top drop down navigation menu
  • Click Edit profile
  • Click on the edit icon located next to on your website links
  • Select “Other” in the drop-down menu and customise your anchor text.

7. Draft an engaging summary

As I have mentioned before, LinkedIn is a social network, so always write in 1st person. Grab and engage your reader’s attention by telling a story about:

  • Who you are
  • How you got to be where you are
  • Who you help
  • Most importantly, how you can help them

Remember to include keywords that highlight your skills and help people find you. Also, include work examples such as images, documents, presentations or videos. Finally, end with a call to action.

8. Validate your profile with recommendations

 Give your profile credibility by inviting customers to add recommendations to your personal profile.

  • Go to your profile and click the down arrow to the right of the button near your profile picture.
  • Click Ask to be recommended from the drop-down.
  • Follow the prompts to request the recommendation.
  • Click Send

Take the time to complete your LinkedIn profile and you will leave a great first impression and build trust and confidence in both yourself and your business.

Of course, I appreciate it can be difficult writing about yourself. If this is the case, contact The Content Boutique about LinkedIn profile optimisation services. Together we’ll create a LinkedIn social profile you can be proud of.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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