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NEWS FLASH: LinkedIn ranked as THE most effective social media platform for B2B business.

That’s right: the Content Marketing Institute‘s 2016 study, B2B marketers rated LinkedIn the most effective social platform used by their organization (66%) ahead of Twitter (55%), YouTube (51%) and Facebook (a paltry 30%!).

LinkedIn is the real deal for B2B business. So, what is your LinkedIn strategy? 

While there are loads of things you can do to optimize LinkedIn, priority No. 1 is your individual profile. Follow these four basic tips and begin to up-level your profile and get your LinkedIn groove moving! 

1. Look Like YOU

A profile photo is a must. The default, two-tone graphic says, “I’m not that into you” super fast! If you aren’t going to use a photo, you might as well delete your profile altogether. Seriously.

It’s most important that a profile image looks like you…today, not twenty years ago. A professional head shot is great, but a more casual image works well too as long as people can see and recognize YOU. 

Are you a creative or the playful type? You might consider creating a Bitmoji for your profile image. A Bitmoji is your own personal emoji – an expressive cartoon avatar image based on criteria you select. While not an exact likeness, Bitmoji’s can be a fun way to get noticed if presenting yourself as a “cartoon” is comfortable for you and supports your brand. 

2. Create a Strong Headline

The headline appears just under your name and is prime real estate on your profile. Like all things internet, LinkedIn is key-word driven and your headline is one of the most heavily weighted sections (note: words in headlines are alsoindexed by public search engines such as Google and Fire Fox).  

To create a relevant headline, try stepping away form the typical company and job title information and consider what words your ideal client might use when searching for someone in your industry. 

Why? Your job title and company name appear elsewhere in your profile so you will pop if someone searches that info. What about other searches…instances when someone is looking for a particular skill or service, a location or an term particular to your industry?   

Use the headline (120 character max) to get more specific, capture attention and differentiate. Here is a simple template (and some samples!) that will help you create a stand-out headline: 

• Who you are?
• Who you help?
• How you help them?

Marketing Strategy | Brand Clarity | Copywriting to position and differentiate businesses in Chicago + beyond.

Residential architect designing luxury homes across Chicago and Midwest region. 

Acoustic designer creating world-class soundscapes for performance, worship + education institutions

3. Customize Your URL

A specific URL is generated for each LinkedIn profile when it is created, likely featuring your name along with a bunch of random numbers and letters. Customize this URL to become something short, branded and easy to remember, ideally just your name. If your name is already in use, see it as an opportunity to get a bit more creative, like me– https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenslinda.

Why customize? A custom URL makes you easier to find and, when people do find you, they will begin to make positive assumptions about you such as your tech-savvy, detail-oriented, understand the power of perception, make an effort to present yourself professionally, etc. All good stuff. 

A custom URL also provides a cleaner look that works well if you choose to feature it on business cards and other printed material. 

4. Be Sure that You’re Visible

If you want to be seen on LinkedIn (and why wouldn’t you?), make sure your profile is set to “visible.” This way, a public version of your profile appears when people search for you on LinkedIn as well as public search engines such as Safari and Bing. 

Check your profile settings to view this and other ways to customize what profile elements are made publicly visible.

Implement these four simple tips and you’ll take a big step toward tapping the power of LinkedIn. Ready to take your LinkedIn activity even further (there’s a LOT more!), contact me and let’s talk strategy.