LinkedIn ranks among the top social media networks, and with over 200 million professionals as on January 2013, it is the preferred “business to business” social channel. The site has recently added a number of new tools that enhance the experience, particularly for the average business user. These new tools unlock some great new potential that every LinkedIn user can integrate to strengthen their profile, networking opportunities, and their first impression.
With LinkedIn being a strong online calling card for you and your business, take time to review and update your LinkedIn profile with a review using this checklist:
The importance of images can never be understated in today’s digital age. Since LinkedIn is a "business focused" social network, this means the profile picture used for your personal LinkedIn page should be a business style personal image This is not the place to bring over a profile picture of yourself that you used on Facebook from your last vacation! It is also not the place to use you’re your company logo! Your LinkedIn profile needs to be a picture of you in a business setting. LinkedIn is about business networking, so take time to review your profile picture and ensure it puts forward your best first impression. As well, how long was it since you last updated the image? If it is two or more years old, it's likely time to update your image!
One of the biggest and best new changes in LinkedIn profiles was the addition of a series of new media features available to user profiles. These new opportunities bring more substance and visual power to user profiles. With the power of images in networks like Facebook and Instagram to capture attention and share messages, it was a natural and helpful addition by LinkedIn. The new features enable users to turn profiles into something closer to a portfolio.
LinkedIn users can now include content such as photo galleries, PDF ebooks, videos, and slideshows in their profiles to showcase examples of their work experience and capabilities. Each item added is represented by a large image that adds some flair inside the users profile. It also offers visitors to a user profile a means to comment on the work.
These new rich media features allow job seekers to showcase their skills by adding a resume and visuals reflective of work they have done. Different media materials can be added to the summary and to each area of "Experience." For other business professionals the new tools provide great opportunity to showcase products and services that they offer and represent. This section should be reviewed, maximized, and then kept up-to-date with new materials every few weeks or at least every few months. This is a powerful addition to enhance the prior text-dominated profile description. See Adding Digital Media for more details.
Many users search LinkedIn profiles for business networking opportunities by using keywords. Populating your profile headline using appropriate keywords makes it easy for other users to find the profile on LinkedIn search, and public profiles can also show up in search results in search engines like Google and Bing.
Make sure to include the keywords relevant to you and your company, and don't add extra filler words, which would dilute the keyword strength. Be clear and concise. If needed, use multiple titles in order to communicate multiple messages, and ensure that you add in two distinct keywords in the single header space.
Having a keyword optimized headline helps both job seekers be found and also professionals to be found by those searching for their products and services.
Many LinkedIn profiles underutilize the summary section, or worse, leave it blank. The summary section offers 2000 characters, allowing users to tell a story, or provide viewers with a focused gist of what the profile is all about. It is also possible to offer links that lead visitors to relevant pages in this area. If nothing else, it offers space to add on to the experience, expertise, awards, and other achievements or credentials that you had begun adding above, and it adds an alternative location to add keywords that are relevant so that you can keep the headline focused and sharp.
Recommendations offer ability to have a "testimony" by others to your skill and expertise. Many LinkedIn profiles do not carry recommendations or endorsements by other LinkedIn users on their skills or areas of expertise, simply because it is optional. It is, however, an area to not ignore! Recommendations can make a profile a cut above the rest. Recommendations do not just lend credibility to the profile; it ensures better visibility as well.
Do not simply setup your LinkedIn profile and then forget about it. Use it regularly! With powerful mobile, tablet, and computer versions, it is easy to access LinkedIn from any Internet connected device. One of the best new features rolling out from LinkedIn is the ability to add rich media activity updates. Similar to a Facebook news feed or "wall" post, LinkedIn users can post an update. Slides, videos, blog posts and more can and should be regularly posted as many LinkedIn users check their profile and have email summaries setup and your updates can be included in these.
NOTE: This feature was announced by LinkedIn on May 30 and is being rolled out globally over the next few weeks.
This is a method to stay "top-of-mind" with your connections and to alert connections to current business endeavors you are involved with, have written, or have recently published.
Do not underestimate the importance of a comprehensive LinkedIn profile to enhance your, and your brand's, profile in the social world. Another recent addition by LinkedIn is the ability for any user to review in more detail who has recently viewed their profile. This gives you a window into who is visiting and can guide you on key media assets you add to your profile. With the rich media profile tools and activity posting features, LinkedIn is really upping the game and becoming a content marketing source that offers tremendous value!
Follow these 6 tips to create a LinkedIn profile that is complete, relevant, and easily found. LinkedIn is a powerful business-centered social network that is only getting better!