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Leverage the Power of LinkedIn: Why Your Profile Really Matters

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Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it’s worth dismissing. Your LinkedIn profile won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

  • Understand and play by the unwritten rules of LinkedIn.
  • Don’t make assumptions that people know key information about your company, such as the location of its headquarters.
  • A professional profile photo can get up to 14X more views on LinkedIn.

Choose the appropriate scenario:

  • The hiring manager for that perfect job you want just looked at your LinkedIn profile.
  • The decision-maker for the contract you’re trying to win just looked at your company’s LinkedIn profile.

What’s going to capture the interest of the hiring manager or decision-maker? Forget about the adage that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Hiring managers and business prospects alike are human beings who respond to certain stimuli that communicate a value proposition. Even the color you chose for your profile image can make a difference.

Knowing what they respond to and incorporating it into the overall look of your LinkedIn profile can make the difference between that next step in your career or the next sale for your company. Here’s what you need to know.

First, play by the rules!

Each social media platform shares a subset of unpublished behavioral rules. When it comes to LinkedIn, members are highly sensitive to authenticity.

Members using the platform are totally turned off by an overdose of self-promotion. Being a professional space, it’s unlikely that they will tell you they’re mad at you for not observing the rules before they go away. They’ll just go away.

For company profiles

LinkedIn offers the most succinct explanation of the true value of your Company Page. The platform challenges companies to treat these profiles as a dynamic marketing tool instead of a static “About Us” page.

The key function of your Company page is to attract and interact with your audience. It’s a place to help you establish thought leadership and further build brand awareness. You’ll want to consider a few things as you set up or update your profile:

  • Give some thoughts to the image you’ll use for the profile image. It’s only 300 pixels square, so busy or intricate logos might not work. Your choice for a banner should reflect your overall branding objectives, but remember that it’s a lot like a billboard. You want it to reinforce your identity before people move further down the page.
  • Website analytics often confirm that a company’s “About Us” page is one of the busiest areas of a website. Put some thought into your LinkedIn “About” section. You’ve got 2,000 characters to tell a compelling story about your business that. You’ll really want to use this section to show LinkedIn users the most important things about your company. Crazy Egg co-founder Neil Patel believes you’ll see success when you answer the eight questions every website visitor wants answered in 10 seconds.
  • LinkedIn lets you know how thoroughly you’ve filled out the information for the company profile fields it offers. Don’t assume that it’s not necessary to fill out the Address, HQ Country, and Industry fields because you are the Acme Ballet Shoe Company of Arizona. Those completed fields make you discoverable in searches.
  • Take advantage of Showcase Pages. They offer powerful ways for outsiders to see what happens inside your company. These pages also give you additional ways to promote within the LinkedIn platform. But here’s the thing about this powerful tool: Showcase Pages that aren’t regularly updated with new content make a negative statement.
  • Optimize all areas of your LinkedIn company profile as if it lived on your website. It’s going to be discoverable based on the keywords other LinkedIn members use to search for you.

If you’re not leveraging the power of LinkedIn, you could be missing out. Find out more about our LinkedIn Makeover.

For personal profiles

You could be looking for a new career opportunity. You might be exploring ways to grow your reputation as a subject matter expert or thought leader. Maybe you’re just seeking out others in your industry or profession to grow your professional network.

Whatever your intent, the first thing you have to do is demonstrate that you’re worth paying attention to. Few platforms offer this spotlighting capacity as well as LinkedIn.

Entrepreneur.com reports that 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn regularly, and more than 35 million LinkedIn members say they were hired by a person they connected with on the site.

Your LinkedIn profile is, more often than not, Google’s top return in a search based on your name. After all, the profile is all about you. But that’s what a resume is for. Move your LinkedIn profile to the next level and make it all about what you have to offer.

Start with your profile headline. This is where most people put their current job title, but you can do better than that. Make it a value proposition. Who do you help? What is their goal? How do you help them? Consider the attractiveness to prospective employers that a headline answering these questions offers.

Executive recruiter Biron Clark runs a popular website called CareerSidekick, which offers advice and resources on how to get noticed by top employers. Clark advises people to beef up your Skills section with the keywords that recruiters will use to search for people like you. LinkedIn lets you choose 50 skills. It’s the one place where you can jam keywords and not be accused of spamming.

LinkedIn reports that adding a professional profile photo gets an average of 14 times more views than other types of profile photos. Take advantage of the platform’s statistic-backed advice on what works best for a profile photo. It includes seemingly no-brainer tips like making sure it’s an image of yourself to making sure to smile because it makes you appear more likeable, competent, and influential.

Keep your profile current. Listing your current position can boost relevant connection requests by a factor of five. The five top skills associated with your current position can increase the opportunity to be messaged by recruiters by up to 31 times.

For both types of profiles

“Engage!” Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard proclaimed this in practically every episode of the television series.

Take it to heart. Get going with the creation of content that captures the attention of those you want to engage.

What type of content works best on LinkedIn? After analyzing 3,000 posts, search marketer and Director of Strategy at Catalyst Paul Shapiro came up with 10 tips on what works best. Advice ranges on title length (between 40 and 49 characters) to image usage (include eight of them). Shapiro also found that headlines posing a question and video posts tend to perform less effectively on this platform.

Above all else, your goal is to engage – to start a conversation. Stop using LinkedIn as a one-way street, advises Search Engine Journal. “If there isn’t reciprocity,” Codeless founder Brad Smith writes, “you can’t expect continued engagement.”

ContentBacon is ready to take your profile to the next level. Find out more about our LinkedIn Makeover.

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