If you’re new to LinkedIn, or you’ve decided that now is the time to start getting the most out of LinkedIn to help you develop and grow your business, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Some people make the mistake of diving straight in, and then wonder why they aren’t getting the results they hoped for. In my experience, only around 2% of business owners actually use LinkedIn the right way. The other 98% risk not engaging, or even alienating their prospective customers. In many cases, that’s because they’ve never been shown how to do it properly! With that in mind, I’ve created a two-part beginner’s guide to LinkedIn. In part 1, I’ll focus on how to create a great LinkedIn profile. I’ll follow up in part 2 with a step by step guide to using LinkedIn to win new business.
Before you go any further, it’s important to do the groundwork. Make sure you have worked out what your LinkedIn goals are, identified your ideal client profile and chosen your own powerful keywords. Then lay the foundations by creating a killer profile to immediately impress your ideal clients, optimised to boost your discoverability.
If you make sure your LinkedIn profile is appealing as possible, written with your ideal client in mind, showing what you can do for them and how you can solve their problems, you’ll be off to a great start.
One of my top tips is to look through each stage of your LinkedIn profile and ask yourself:
‘Would I hire myself if I were in their shoes?’
Let’s run through each profile section, and look at how you can optimise it to be as client-focused as possible.
Having a good LinkedIn profile photo is REALLY important. It’s one of the first places where you can make a great first impression and showcase your personal brand. Failing to upload a profile picture is one of the most basic mistakes on LinkedIn. It will make you look spammy and untrustworthy, while a bad profile picture will make you look unprofessional. Not the look you’re aiming for!
A study by Todorov and Willis showed that it takes 1/10 of a second to make a snap judgement about someone’s character from their face, including trustworthiness, likeability, competence and attractiveness.
Remember that people buy from people, and a professional headshot photograph is an easy way for your connections to verify your identity and shows your profile is in use and up to date.
Here’s a little-known secret that will boost your discoverability using your LinkedIn profile photo!
Rename your photo file with your name and primary keyword/title, and then re-upload. For example, mine is ‘nickbagga-marketingconsultant.jpg’, This helps your image to score more highly in search results, improving your SEO ranking.
In my Complete Linked In Mastery Course, I’ll take you through a detailed evaluation of both good and bad examples of headshots, and I also provide more detailed resources to help you really ace your LinkedIn profile photo.
Along with your photo, your headline is the most crucial part of your LinkedIn profile as it creates that all-important first impression.
Your headline is the short block of text that appears underneath your name and is visible to anyone on LinkedIn, so it’s important to make sure that it’s as captivating as possible.
To stand out and resonate with your ideal client, your headline should be professional and convey credibility. Instead of using the default headline ‘Job Title at Company’, it’s better to customise and personalise your headline. Be sure to incorporate relevant keywords into your headline, as this will not only make it easy to understand what you do at a glance, but it will help you to appear in relevant search results that your ideal clients are likely to use.
When crafting your ‘About’ section, it’s helpful to think about the problems or pain points that your ideal clients might be facing. Talk to them directly about how your services can be a solution to their problem. What are their main fears and worries, and how might you be able to help them overcome and eliminate them?
It’s the main event of your LinkedIn profile and your opportunity to provide details about you and your services – use it to sell yourself! Remember to speak directly to your target market and write in the first person.
However, it’s important not to fall into the trap of creating bland, sales-y statements and wasting the ‘About’ section of your LinkedIn profile. Most of your prospective clients will see straight through these vague claims and meaningless jargon.
In the ‘About’ section of my own LinkedIn profile, I talk about ‘Who I Help’ – I’m very specific about my audience, and the types of clients I work with. That way, if someone who fits my ideal client profile reads my profile, they will pay attention and see straight away that I can help them, and I’m likely to win more business.
It’s also vital to ensure you use powerful keywords in your ‘About’ section – keywords that your ideal clients are likely to search for.
Bullet points, lists and short paragraphs break up the space and make your ‘About’ section more engaging. Keep it snappy and easy to read but try to make the most of the 2000-character limit.
I’d also recommend that you include your contact details as a ‘call to action’ in the ‘About’ section on your LinkedIn profile. Experience tells me that the easier you make it for your prospective clients to contact you, the more likely they are to get in touch!
Ensure that the experience section of your LinkedIn profile is credible. Before anyone hires you for your professional expertise, they’ll want to see what you have done to justify their choice.
Focus on your most recent and relevant experience and take the opportunity to include appropriate keywords relating to your expertise that are relevant to your current business services. It’s another great opportunity to showcase your professional brand on LinkedIn.
Skills and endorsements
Showcase your skills in your LinkedIn profile. Now is the time to tell your ideal client about your specialisms. Think about the skills that are most relevant to your ideal client. What expertise will they be looking for, and how can you show them that you match their requirements?
Ensure the top three skills you want to be recognised for are pinned to the top of your skills section. That way your most important and relevant skills are showcased first.
Then ask for endorsements from people with whom you have good relationships, who are highly skilled within your field and have first-hand experience of your capabilities. Go for quality rather than quantity.
Finally, ask for recommendations from your key connections. Additionally, if you can get a couple of video testimonials from trusted clients, even better.
Include them in the Featured section at the top of your LinkedIn profile to help boost your credibility and visibility.
These provide great social proof and can be a deciding factor in whether a prospect will reach out to you. Ultimately this can help you to generate business on LinkedIn.
If you give recommendations, endorsements and testimonials to trusted members of your network, this can really help your professional brand. Your connections are much more likely to reciprocate by recommending or endorsing you, or giving you a testimonial. I always keep the Law of Reciprocity in mind when using LinkedIn – it’s definitely a ‘win-win’ approach!
Boost your discoverability
As well as using keywords throughout your LinkedIn profile, I suggest customising your LinkedIn URL to make it more memorable. If you check out my LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that mine is https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickbagga/. It’s much simpler and easy to remember than the default combination of your name and a string of random numbers.
Once you’ve optimised your LinkedIn profile to speak directly to your ideal clients, you’re ready to start the ball rolling with building a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn. In part 2 of My Beginner’s Guide, I’ll outline the key steps involved, using the proven approach I’ve used to win 85% of my own business.
If you need more help or advice with crafting a killer LinkedIn profile, I’d be delighted to hear from you. Please send me a DM on LinkedIn or email me at [email protected].