In our previous post, Who is On LinkedIn, we continued our series with a discussion on who is on LinkedIn, including a look at demographics of average users, and characteristics of expert users, called LIONs. In this post, we continue with a look at what to consider before setting up your LinkedIn profile, and tips in doing so.
Be Careful Out There
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of setting up your profile and using LinkedIn, a quick consideration of other ways you can get in trouble on LinkedIn:
- Name Field — If it contains anything but your name, you can get your account restricted or even have it deleted
- Spam or Abuse — If you are accused of spamming or abuse, LinkedIn may restrict your account. Always remember that spam is in the eye of the beholder. If you think someone might misinterpret something you say — anywhere online — don’t say it.
- Page Views — This is a weird one. If you view “too many” profiles, LinkedIn may suspend you for suspicion of intent to commit identity fraud. By the same token, be sure the information you share online doesn’t reveal too much about you.
- Non-Professional Profile Picture — Don’t show too much skin or wear something inappropriate. Even though in practice, you can use a logo or an avatar instead of a picture of you, LinkedIn policy says you can’t. We’re not too sure how tightly this is enforced, since we have several connections who use logos and many who use avatars. This policy is most likely used as just one more reason to ding someone who’s being obnoxious in other ways.
Now that that bit of unpleasantness is over, let’s get into creating your profile, your complete profile.
Create Your LinkedIn Profile
Completeness is the name of the game for your profile. It’s not your resume. It’s more properly considered as search bait. Think about it. How are people going to find you on LinkedIn? By searching, of course. So the more you have in your profile, and the more keywords you have in your profile, the more you’re going to get found.
Here are some tips on creating your profile:
- Current and Past Positions — Put in all your jobs unless you’re ashamed of any of them. It’s better to be complete in case old colleagues suddenly want to look you up.
- Education — Include all the places you went to school, even if just for a few seminars or quarters. Again, for findability.
- Photo — As we said in the introduction to this chapter, include a photo of just you, taken by a pro. If you’re sensitive about your appearance for any reason, consider substituting a high school yearbook photo, or a caricature or avatar.
- Nickname or Maiden Name — Include all the names people have known you by (OK, if one of them was Stinky, leave that out). This is so people can find you.
- Summary— Your summary is one of the most important portions of your profile. It’s often thought of as your elevator pitch — the pitch you’d give if on an elevator ride with a prospective customer. However, you can feel free to make it a bit longer than that, since you also have to appeal to search engines.You should write, rewrite, and polish your summary. It should convey who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re looking for on LinkedIn.There are two parts to the summary. Generally people concentrate the first part on a brief statement of experience, accomplishments and goals. While you don’t want to write a novel, length is not as important as it may be on, say, a resume. Make sure you have a catchy opening, but don’t feel bad if you can’t distill yourself down into a single paragraph.The second part is called Specialties, and it’s a great place to put a lot of keywords that will help attract other people to look at your profile. It’s not really intended for humans to read, but rather search engines. Don’t skimp on the keywords here.
- Websites — Include all of the Websites you may have been associated with.
- Interests — Be careful when adding interests. While it helps to show a rounded picture of who you are, be sensitive to including anything that might cause someone to have a bad reaction. Remember, this is first impression material. If you’re into something off-the-wall — not that there’s anything wrong with that — wait to discuss until you know your audience better.
- Email addresses — Including email addresses is controversial because if you do this, you’re likely to get spam. If you want to include an email address — anywhere online — use the following format: you at wherever.com. By breaking up the address, it makes it harder for spambots to come along and harvest your email address to slap onto lists that are then sold and resold.
- NO TYPOS! — Nothing kills a buzz like a typo, especially if you’re a professional. Have somebody else proofread your profile.
- Use Industry-Specific Keywords — Since it’s all about search, make sure you use the buzzwords from your product category or industry.
- Use Acronyms and Spell Them Out — Use any relevant acronyms; spell them out so outsiders can understand what you’re talking about.
Keywords, keywords, keywords! It’s all about the keywords. Jam pack your profile with high-value words that people you want to attract will likely be using to find you. If you’re stumped as to what to use for keywords, Google your product category to find good ones. You can also search for your industry on LinkedIn for ideas.
When you’re done with your profile, there’s one last, very important, step: Make your profile public.
From time to time we come upon people who have private profiles and we ask ourselves: Why are you here in the first place if you don’t want to meet anyone? However, leaving that existential question aside for a moment, there is one supreme reason why you make your profile public:
It can be found on Google!
In fact, it’s likely to be ranked highly on Google, because LinkedIn is a very popular site. Try Googling your name or the name of your enterprise before creating your profile and then again about a week later. We guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your ranking.
Create Your LinkedIn Profile is the 87th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). We’re just past page 257. At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV
Get our new book, The Infinite Pipeline: How to Master Social Media for Business-to-Business Sales Success online here. You can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV
What Others Are Saying
“Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies
“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)
“Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances
Next up: Create a Company Profile on LinkedIn