Your LinkedIn profile can help you be seen as an expert in your field. At a recent meeting of one of my freelancer groups, Communicators Connection, my colleague Carl Friesen suggested paying attention to these areas:
- Photo: Use a head-and-shoulders professional photo, in which you are dressed for business and smiling. Make sure there aren’t other people in the photo and there is no distracting background. Build your brand by using the same photo on other social media.
- Headline: Make sure your name and description inform and persuade.
- Summary: Again, inform and persuade. Use keywords related to what you do and the clients you’d like. Be personable and use “I” or “we.”
- Interests: Filling this out helps viewers find common interests.
- Contact info: Make sure this appears in several places, including the end of your profile summary and “Advice for contacting.”
- Recommendations: The best way to get these is by asking current and former clients, especially right after you’ve completed a stellar project. Sometimes others will return the favour when you recommend them first.
- Endorsements: Pick the areas where you excel and hide areas you’d rather not be highlighted. (People are divided on the value of these, and you can move this section to the bottom of your profile if you wish.)
- Honors & awards: Fill this out to help you stand out.
- Requesting connections: Be sure to personalize any invitations to connect with how you know the person. Invite colleagues, clients, prospects and potential referral sources as well as family and friends. This expands your network by giving you access to connections of connections. To connect with them, use the telephone or email rather than the LinkedIn form.
- Publishing: Publish blog posts, papers, articles you’ve written for magazines and other pieces to build your profile as an expert. You can upload PDFs, SlideShare presentations, videos and audio.
- Updates: Regularly post updates that reflect your business and — wait for it — inform and persuade.
- Groups: Join professional groups to stay current in your field and understand trends; and industry groups to learn the issues and build connections to your prospects. Find possible groups by looking at the profiles of people you want as clients. Participate by listening, “liking” and commenting.
- Company pages: Follow companies in which you have an interest, so you learn about news and find the people you know who work there.
If you want help improving your profile, LinkedIn walks you through the steps; click on “Complete your profile.” And check out my previous blog posts below, for more tips.