How many social media profiles do you have currently? Facebook (err Meta?), Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, maybe still a MySpace…and LinkedIn. Did you count LinkedIn?
While many of us spend hours on other social channels, LinkedIn can often be overlooked. Unlike other platforms, LinkedIn is dedicated to your professional self and network. It is designed to connect you with relevant colleagues, grow your network, and advance your career. Your LinkedIn profile is how the professional world sees you, and it’s critical to getting hired, finding qualified talent, and connecting with potential customers. LinkedIn is simply unrivalled when it comes to business connections.
At The Endurance Group, we often use LinkedIn profiles to perform outbound marketing. In addition to the status of the individual (e.g. title, tenure, accolades), the layout, content and discussion within the LinkedIn profile plays an important role in whether a lead engages or not. The following are what TEG feels are basic elements for every LinkedIn profile:
1. A professional quality headshot
- A color image using a neutral color background is best.
2. A unique background image
- This should be an image that represents you, your work, or ideally both.
3. A clear job title
- Make this concise (e.g. “CEO” versus Chief Executive Officer), only include your current exact title – no need to reference the company, department, etc.
4. A “clean” LinkedIn URL
- LinkedIn assigns a default URL for your profile that can contain added numbers and special characters. Edit this to make it simple and memorable.
5. Include your location in the profile.
- Your location can be key to connecting with someone, make sure it’s included and specific to your city.
6. Consistent description formats or no descriptions under work experience.
- We’re all proud of the work we’ve accomplished, but lengthy descriptions of past experiences don’t necessarily add to your credibility. If an experience is still relevant to your sector, include it. Otherwise, remove it.
7. A robust “about” section that speaks to the individual’s experience and tells potential customers how the product or service will help them.
- This section is your opportunity to stand out and explain why you have the background and your firm has the capabilities to meet your client’s needs.
8. A complete academic history.
- Include all educational experience back to high school. Having shared academic history is a great way to connect with colleagues and prospects.
9. “Endorsements”, “Recommendations”, and “Skills”
- These are different areas within your profile where you can add and gain credibility. Endorsements from colleagues, Recommendations from Clients, and Skills hosted by you and affirmed by your colleagues will tell the world you’re an expert.
- Buzzwords for your industry demonstrate that you’re familiar with the latest news in your sector. Associate these with hashtags (#) to ensure your profile is filtered through when people query for topics relevant to your work. Don’t just use these buzzwords, demonstrate them as well. You can showcase your expertise within your activity section.
- Groups you’ve joined show up on your profile and show people outside of your network your areas of interest. Joining groups has the additional benefit of being a networking resource and a place to share your knowledge and content, and keep an eye on competitors.
Now while we consider these fundamental, refining the content and format of the profile isn’t straightforward. Each industry is unique in terms of what information is noteworthy and how best to present it. It’s critical to review profiles of people in your industry and position to get a sense for how they’re formatted. It’s also important to review LinkedIn profiles of your competitors, customers, and prospects, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I like about the competitor’s profile?
- Does what I like about the competitor’s profile work for me?
- What do I dislike about the competitor’s profile?
- Can I avoid what I dislike about my competitor in my profile?
- Based on the customer’s profile and sector, what do they want to see?
- Do my prospects need to see anything different than my customers?
Additionally, look for trends within a sector and determine they’re a fit for you. Here’s an example:
Hector is an architect by training who founded a software firm. He and the firm are based in Cape Town, South Africa, and TEG is selling their tech to firms in North America. He’s asked to have his profile updated.
When reviewing “US architects” on LinkedIn, it’s determined that many have very skeletal profiles…
- No job title
- Experience that isn’t part of their profession
- Black and white, outdated, modified, favorite sports team, dog, or selfie stick head shots
- Project lists instead of job descriptions
On the other side of Hector’s profession; many software developers have “Creator Mode” profiles that are intended to attract a large number of followers using highly polished visuals, lots of content, and hashtags. Looking at profiles of Hector’s clientele, it becomes clear that there’s a lot of variability in the amount of history and content presented, and no consistency with images and layout of the profiles.
Given all of this, what direction would you take Hector’s profile?
To us, it’s clear that Hector is an architect first, and software developer second, so the “Creator Mode” format misrepresents him. Also, he’s based in South Africa as is his company so it would be a bit artificial to match the skeletal format of US architects. In addition, Hector’s clients do not seem overly concerned with how polished LinkedIn profiles are, as they’re engineers and architects who care more about substance than aesthetics.
Based on this, ensuring that Hector’s profile meets our basic requirements, coupled with some relevant hashtags specific to what his software does included in his title should provide the right format for his soon-to-be clients. As tempting as it is to match what others are doing, your LinkedIn profile should represent who you are as a professional and what you can do for your clients.
It is an opportunity for you to network with other professionals and nurture relationships.
With this in mind, take a thoughtful look at your LinkedIn profile. A few updates could make a big difference in your next professional pursuit. Feel free to delete that MySpace account.
Even if you don’t make any attempts to create a personal brand, it already exists if you are active online. Make the most of your digital presence.
Let us help by optimizing your LinkedIn profile! Here at The Endurance Group, we don’t just provide leads, we utilize your LinkedIn profile by tapping into your network.
Use your LinkedIn to its full potential and improve the results of your sales pipeline today.