You might talk the talk and make a good first impression offline…
But what is your first impression like online?
I was recently speaking to one of my clients in Ireland.
They’ve recently created a brand-new website and some nice marketing content, so they’ve started using Google Analytics to see where people go on the website and where they don’t.
And what they noticed is that a large number of prospects were clicking on the ‘About us’ page, and then clicking through to check out their Linkedin profiles.
But this left them worried…
They’d spent all that time and money bringing their website up to scratch to attract and convert new prospects, but hadn’t spent any time optimising their Linkedin profiles to do the same.
Most prospects, if not all, will take time to do a little bit of homework and ‘check-up’ on you before meeting you, so your online impression is often one of the first ones that they’ll get.
This means it’s essential that your online impression is just as good as your offline impression.
So, how can you ensure your LinkedIn profile is creating a positive impression on those who land on it?
You need my 7-step LinkedIn optimiser…
Quick note – this is by no means an extensive guide on everything you can do to optimise your profile. I’ve picked the 7 things that will have the biggest impact and make your profile ‘good enough’.
1. Have a professional image and cover image
Kind of obvious, right?
But you’d be surprised how many profiles don’t even have profile pictures. It’s a bit of a turn off if a prospect comes to do their homework and they can’t even see what you look like.
Make sure you have a professional profile picture of you on your LinkedIn page. Have a clear, recent, high-quality picture and not just a cropped, grainy image of you from a night with friends or a recent holiday!
Cover images are also important on LinkedIn and can be used to promote your business, an upcoming event, a campaign or to directly speak to your target market. Whatever works best for you and your business.
Here are three examples of effective cover images that I quite liked:
Alastair Barlow – Flinder – This is a good example where he uses an additional image of himself, calls out his target market and then shares what they do in a concise and compelling statement.
Paul Barnes – MyAccountancyPlace – I like this one because it shows Paul delivering a seminar on ‘financial metrics that drive profitability’. It establishes credibility and also positions Paul as an authority.
Paul Meades – Meades Group – I like this one for a couple of reasons. The image of the team gives you that ‘family’ feeling like you know you’ll be well looked after. And the different logos and banners help establish credibility.
2. Complete your contact info and your public URL
Take some time to complete all of the contact info fields on your LinkedIn profile.
You can include phone number, address, email, website, twitter and a couple of others.
It will help Google index your profile properly which will help when people are searching your name.
Another thing to remember is to edit your public URL. This is the URL given to you by LinkedIn for your profile. You can edit this and, instead of being a random string of numbers and letters, make it something like www.linkedin.com/in/rudijansen, which looks a lot more professional.
3. Have a compelling headline
Having a compelling headline is essential.
You need to make it clear who it is you help, what you help them with and how you help them.
Sounds like a lot for 120 characters, right?
Here are some headlines that I think do a great job of doing the above…
4. Have a good summary
The summary is the section below the area where your name, contact info and headline appear.
It’s a chance to share a bit more about yourself, so a great summary is absolutely vital to a good LinkedIn profile.
You want to talk to your target market here. Let them know what it is you do, how you help them and the results that you get. You even have the option of attaching links to testimonial videos and other parts of your website.
Below are a few good examples…
5. Be active with articles and activity
There’s not much point having a really good profile with great images, a brilliant headline and a superb summary without actually using the profile and being active on it.
“But Rudi, I don’t have time to create content for yet *another* platform.”
I hear you.
But, did you know you can add any blog posts that you put on your website as articles on LinkedIn too?
Posting articles is really simple – all you have to do is copy and paste the content from your website.
You don’t need to worry about getting penalised by Google for duplicate content.
As long as the content has been on your website for a few weeks first, google will index this and recognise it as the original. It’s also a good idea to add in that the article was originally posted on your website and include a link to it so people can go there to read more.
It’s also good practice to like and comment on a few things from your LinkedIn network each day. In 10-minutes you can scroll down most of the news feed and engage on a couple of things. This will show up on the activity section of your LinkedIn profile and shows that your profile is active and you’re an engaged member of LinkedIn.
6. Have a non-jargon job description
I see a lot of accountants with job descriptions (the ‘Experience’ section) that are, what I like to call, ‘jargon-heavy’ and tend to have full detailed reports of the history of their accounting practices.
Information like this isn’t particularly informative for readers and doesn’t explain what it is that you do and who you help.
Go into the same amount of detail as your summary and talk about your target market and the results you can get for them. They don’t care about what year you set your practice up or where you qualified. They only care about what you can do for them…
Similar to the summary section, you can also attach links and videos here to give your prospects some more content to chew on and make it more interactive and informative.
Here are some examples:
7. Get some recommendations
At the bottom of your LinkedIn profile, there’s a section titled ‘Recommendations’.
Here, you can ask people for recommendations of your work and skills (e.g. clients you’ve just done great work for).
People can then leave comments on their experience of working with you and it serves to add more credibility to your profile.
Having some recommendations could be the difference between someone choosing to work with you and choosing to go with someone else.
Of course, there is so much more you could do to and with your LinkedIn profile, but these 7 steps are a great place to start.
If you follow these 7 steps, that’ll ensure your profile stands out from the crowd and will be ‘good enough’ when prospects are viewing it prior to meeting with you.