SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is top-of-mind for business websites, but have you ever thought of making yourself the target of that search? Next time, instead of a potential employer or client finding a company or local business that can serve their needs, what if they instead found YOU! With this foolproof revamp of your LinkedIn profile and ways to become a respected thought leader on the medium, that’s totally possible!
LinkedIn has 433,000,000+ members and is growing daily (source). More than 128 million of those members are in the United States. LinkedIn is now the 18th most popular website in the world and ranks number 12 in the United States (source).
Since we started putting more emphasis on the following steps, we’ve seen a 34% increase in our profile views in less than 30 days, and now rank in the top 2% among professionals like us and in the top 4% among our personal connections.
But why does this matter? It matters because you could be missing out on huge untapped potential for your business
LinkedIn has 187 million unique visitors monthly. Of all members, 40% check LinkedIn daily. (source). Harness these people’s connections and help them to find you!
Have you ever Googled yourself? Well, if your search is anything like ours, it could be littered with every social media website you belong to, and all your posts that you’ve written. If you dig deeply enough, you will find things all the way back to junior high for both of us! But people don’t typically Google you. They Google the things they are looking for. Sure, you may want them to be looking for you, but they don’t type your name, and they never will.
When they search on Google, people are looking for solutions to their problems. They may want to know who starred in the hit comedy series Big Bang Theory, or maybe how to take a doorknob off a door. When they search they would type something like, “How do I remove a doorknob?” Boom! The top hit answers their question and they need to look no further.
So what if someone needs your services, but they never find you because you aren’t a top hit? Let’s fix that!
1. Make your Profile Public and Claim Your Vanity URL
It may seem against all your cyber-security inclinations, but making sure your profile is public is crucial to it being found by Google or in LinkedIn specific searches. Take it a step further and turn your profile in an easy to find URL. (Instructions Here)
2. Make your Profile a Powerful Sales Tool
Include a summary of your experience, your industry expertise and how you can help a potential client or customer. Take every advantage to fill your profile with powerful keywords. List both your past and current employers. Include specific dates and locations (as the amount of time directly affects experience level and location searches). Write a 3 to 4 sentence summary of your job. Be sure to include keywords like types of software or hardware you’ve utilized. In addition, list 3 to 4 bullet points that showcase your greatest accomplishments. Immediately following this you can attach links, documents, other collateral or even a video that backs up your work and value.
3. Ask for Recommendations
It is no longer enough to list a name and a phone number on an application. People need immediate proof. Having thoughtful recommendations on your profile is an instant indicator to others that your skills and expertise is backed up by real people. The easiest way to get recommended is to first recommend others – perhaps your clients, co-workers or boss. Once you have completed that, follow-up with them and ask them to do the same for you. Generally people are receptive. A million and one recommendations aren’t necessary, but a couple thoughtful ones per job are sufficient.
4. Include Your Education
Even if you graduated from high school or college 20 years ago, people still care. You would be shocked how many conversations can start with … “Oh I saw you were a [INSERT MASCOT HERE]!”
5. List Your Skills
Be specific and use up all of the 50 skills that your profile allows. These are hot-button keywords and they add to your profile’s visibility. Over time, people can and will endorse you for your various qualities. Take it as a compliment and feel free to dish it right back.
6. Incorporate Relevant Honors, Awards and Organizations
Perhaps you could include a top ranking sales award or an honor you received in the local community. Do you volunteer frequently? Don’t be afraid to tell people about it.
7. Follow People and Companies
Embrace the world around you. You might find an online community just waiting for you to join in. Follow people who inspire you and companies you would love to work with in the future.
8. Get Connected
You can have the most stellar profile ever, but if you aren’t connected you will be way less likely to be found. LinkedIn is not meant to be a static place to store your beefy resume. It is a place to connect, start conversations and give your opinions. Every time you meet someone new, schedule a meeting with someone you haven’t met before, or casually run into someone in public, it is good practice to connect on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn isn’t like Facebook, where you put up photos of your kids or rant about something that happened to you. It is a place for professionals – so just like you would exchange a business card or shake someone’s hand when you meet them, you can now add them to your social-professional circle online. Be timely – if you meet them or talk to them on the phone, don’t wait for a month to connect. Rather, take the time later the same day or within 48 hours of meeting them to request to connect. Make your request personal, include how you met, and mention that you enjoyed your conversation.
I realize you have to start somewhere, so if you get behind with connecting on your profile, pour yourself a glass of wine and make an evening out of it. LinkedIn can even automatically comb through your Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail or AOL email service to auto suggest connections. We occasionally get behind in adding connections too. In March Abagail added 49 connections and of those many were new people who she had recently met.
Much like other social networks, you can share articles and interact with what other people are posting. In fact, LinkedIn generates relevancy scores for each member. This number determines where you show up in LinkedIn searches. It is determined in part by your profile, activity, and connections (source).
For many, writing and creating original content is intimidating. For others, they are already blogging and frequently share content on their personal pages. How do you blend the two? The Pulse, LinkedIn’s version of a self-published news source, not only has great content for you to read and interact with, but also offers a platform for you to create content yourself. Since we already blog every week, adding content to LinkedIn is a natural progression. We decide which posts are most suited for this professional audience and will publish the first several paragraphs of them. We then add a link at the bottom to “Continue Reading” that links directly to the post on our site. Not only does bring more views to our page due to LinkedIn’s algorithms, but it also drives direct traffic to our website. In March, we wrote 21 blog posts but only 7 of those were published on LinkedIn Pulse.
As well as adding new content, you should also share relevant industry content with your connections. Much like on other social media sites you can share comments or content – this is referred to on LinkedIn as updates. These can be links to external news articles, photos, or even just text. These are listed in a news feed style environment, similar to Twitter, but without the 140 character limit. You can even link your account to Twitter so when you post on LinkedIn, it also auto posts to Twitter! In March, we shared 18 updates.
10. Don’t Forget Your Photo – This Could Be Your Biggest Mistake
It seems obvious, but it is shocking how many people don’t have one. So, A) Have one; B) Don’t be creepy or artsy – make it a headshot, and C) Be the only person in the photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, but make it a true representation of you (and only you).
11. Take Part in Groups
Participate in groups that are relevant to your industry or get connected to your school’s alumni associations. Adding relevant content to these group discussions or starting discussions of your own really adds to the likelihood that someone in the group will visit your page. Often, if the group is related, content you are publishing on Pulse or on your blog is perfect content to share with your groups too. It adds to your relevancy and professional appeal, while proving your expertise and showing that you care about adding value.
12. Gain Premium Access
I am in no way pushing you to take out a premium membership. However, it allows you to access to things you wouldn’t otherwise see. You gain access to a full listing of who views your profile, specialized stats about your page, and better rankings when applying for jobs. Just curious about what’s behind the hood? Most of the time, LinkedIn offers a free 30-day trial. (Although you must enter a credit card to sign up, as long as you cancel before your trial is over you will not be charged.)
Upgrading to premium is how we were able to tell how our profile ranked among professionals like us.
Curious how you rank? Visit Profile > Who’s Viewed Your Profile and then click the How you rank for profile views at the top of the page. Stats are under “Professionals like you”. The really awesome thing about this feature is you see the actual names and links to the profiles of who they compare you to, whether it be your own connections or outside professionals. Find someone who is ranking much higher? View their profile and see what sorts of things they are doing differently to you.
So why take these steps? Because people are 50% more likely to purchase from a company that engages on LinkedIn (source). In fact, B2B Companies find more than 53% of their customers through LinkedIn and B2C still a staggering 22% (source)!
And on top of that, next time someone is searching for the next solution to his or her problem they just might find you. It has worked for us!
You can thank us when that recruiter calls you and asks if you want to be considered for a new job! Please, please, please call us when that happens - we want to know!
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