I wrote a post on LinkedIn this morning asking how people dressed for work and sales meetings….
The point I hoped to make was that most business and sales professionals will spend a lot of time and money on their appearance. They’ll often have a smart suit or nice dress to wear to work or to sales meetings, they’ll have nice shoes, nice watches, jewellery etc. They’ll go to great lengths to look good, to look professional and to make a good impression.
What you don’t see is business and sales professionals have the same attitude towards their social profiles.
The reality is that there are probably more prospects and customers looking at your social profiles than there are looking at you face to face. Your social profile should look just as good as you do and you should invest just as much time as you would in your physical appearance.
With that in mind, here is my guide to creating the ULTIMATE LinkedIn profile!
Before we jump into each section one thing to always remember with your LinkedIn profile is think about your target audience. If you’re trying to get a job for example then your profile should all be about why someone should interview or employ you. If you’re looking to prospect and sell through LinkedIn then your profile needs to all be about the value you offer.
The way to look at it is to imagine your dream prospect visiting your page right now. What would they need to see to feel comfortable in talking to you and potentially buying from you? Every part of your profile should be built to help you prospect get to know and trust you to then give you the opportunity to progress that relationship.
Let’s break down each section of your LinkedIn profile…..
Profile Photo – Let’s start with one of the most important components of your profile, your profile picture. I’ve seen some great ones, and not so great ones over the years. I know it’s not always easy finding a suitable smart photo to use, which is why I often see photo’s from weddings (often the last time a nice photo was taken when you were dressed smart!). The reality is now that most people reading this will have a smart phone with a pretty powerful camera, so next time you’re in the office get a colleague to take a decent head shot against a plain background and boom, perfect profile picture!
Background – Behind your profile photo is space for a background image to be loaded up. Please don’t ignore this part, it’s fine to chose a plain background or upload a generic one, however you can create a custom one for free using Canva. You can include your company logo or mission statement or even your contact details. Something that looks smart, looks on brand and captures attention.
Headline – The next step is the headline. This is often just populated with your job title, which is fine, however you can be a little more creative and make it more about what you do or what you can offer. For me I use LinkedIn to grow my personal brand so my headline talks about me, but you might want to discuss what it you offer or a reason as to how you can help your target customer.
Summary Section – This section is your opportunity to give a nice elevator pitch summary of you, what you do and what you can offer. Mine highlights a summary about me, what I can offer, achievements that help prove my ability to deliver and my contact details. Now I know your contact details are available on your profile but you should want them to be as clear as possible so popping them into the summary box helps make them even more visible.
TOP TIP – You can attach media to your summary and work experience. This can be an image, blog, video, website, presentation or link and is a great way to provide some extra media highlighting what you and offer.
Articles & Activity – This will show all of your activity as in posts you click like, comment on or share. This section will also show the articles/blogs that you write on LinkedIn. This is another place your prospect may look so it’s important to be aware of what content you like and how you engage as your prospects may see it.
Work Experience – This section is for you to list your past and current work experience. Less is often more in these sections but give your prospect the opportunity to see what experience you have and how it may relate to your ability to provide value to them. This is also a good place to include a little more about your current company and what makes them different/unique. There is also the ability to add media so you can link the company website, include your sales pitch presentation, a video, media that will help the prospect buy into what you do.
Featured Skills & Endorsements – This is one of the real stand out features of LinkedIn as both fantastic recruitment platform and a fantastic sales platform. In this section potential buyers can see areas where you have been endorsed by other people. For example if you were selling software and your prospect could see you’ve been endorsed for “Software”, “Account Management” , “Customer Service” etc by plenty of people it helps them feel more comfortable buying from you.
Recommendations – Taking it one step further, not only can people endorse you for skills but they can write a full personal recommendation! Imagine again that you’re selling software and your prospect visits your profile and sat there are several recommendations from other software companies talking about how much you helped them, saved them money, listened to them etc.
TOP TIP – Just as I’m sure you’ll have a referral process in place to get referrals and case studies from your customers, create one to get recommendations on your LinkedIn profile as they are just as powerful.
Accomplishments – This is a great opportunity to list any courses, certifications or awards that you’ve received. Again imagine your prospect viewing your profile and being able to see what you are qualified in. It adds some real power to how you are seen.
Interests – You might not think this would interest a prospect, but imagine they looked at this part and saw that you were interested in key industry companies or pages. It would show them that you’re interested in what they are interested in and that you had a real genuine interest.
EXTRA Quick Profile Tips
- Keep it up to date, make sure you’re updating it regularly
- Create a simple personalised link for your LinkedIn profile
- Add that link into your email signature
- Include the link on your business cards
Follow these tips, fill in each section, make sure it flows nicely, looks professional and at every stage make sure you think about how your customer will feel reading it. Will it scare them off or will it make them want to talk to you and feel comfortable buying from you?