15 Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success
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15 Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success

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As a LinkedIn group manager, I have the daily opportunity to view profiles of nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Although I’m delighted to engage with so many social entrepreneurs using this ...

As a LinkedIn group manager, I have the daily opportunity to view profiles of nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Although I’m delighted to engage with so many social entrepreneurs using this platform, there are some unwritten best-practices about using LinkedIn that many nonprofit leaders have yet to put in place.

Although LinkedIn wasn’t created to help you with fundraising, I am confident that through learning how to use this platform to build key relationships with other leaders in your community you will be able to spread the word about your organization’s important work with more people, more quickly.

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15 Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success 15 Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success Document Transcript

  • 15 Simple Ways To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile For Success As a LinkedIn group manager, I have the daily opportunity to view profiles of nonprofit leaders from all over the world. Although I’m delighted to engage with so many social entrepreneurs using this platform, there are some unwritten best-practices about using LinkedIn that many nonprofit leaders have yet to put in place. Although LinkedIn wasn’t created to help you with fundraising, I am confident that through learning how to use this platform to build key relationships with other leaders in your community you will be able to spread the word about your organization’s important work with more people, more quickly. 1. Always remember who you’re looking to attract with your LinkedIn profile and reverse build your profile. Know WHO you want to meet. Approaching LinkedIn without a game-plan is incredibly overwhelming. There is so much going on, so many groups and so many profiles; it’s so easy to feel lost in the mix. Strategically identify 2-3 types of connections you’re looking to make and write up a demographic profile of each before you begin any kind of networking. Examples of people you may be interested in connecting with: a. Potential board/committee members: people in your community who have connections and influence – UP b. Potential joint-venture community partners: Other nonprofit leaders whose organization provides a different but complimentary offer to the same client that you could collaborate with – SIDEWAYS. 2. Use a professional, classy picture of yourself. Use a current, high-resolution picture of yourself that helps build your brand as a leader. It is ok to use an image of yourself with your family, friends, pets or participating in some activity on Facebook but not on LinkedIn. Important note: don’t crop a picture of yourself from a picture with other people in it leaving behind pieces of them in your picture, get someone to take a headshot of you against a simple background and you’re all set. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be professional. 3. Write your name properly. When creating your profile, be sure to use your name, not your organization’s name. Don’t forget to capitalize the first letters of both of your names. If you want to get more attention for your org, go ahead and set up a Company page – your profile is all about you. Don’t feel like you have to add acronyms after your name (example CFRE, MBA etc), just your first and last name is enough. If people want to learn more about you and your professional accomplishments, they can read them in your profile. 4. Use your headline as a place for a benefits statement instead of your job title.
  • LinkedIn gives you tons of space to write up a killer one-liner; don’t be shy to add some spice to your headline. Which do you feel is more engaging to a potential board member or colleague? Headline #1 that says “Executive Director of ABC town Community Services” or Headline #2 that says “Helping at-risk youth in ABC town increase their self confidence through learning practical job skills”. 5. Make your profile public for anyone to view. If you’re looking to make strategic connections through LinkedIn, make sure that anyone can view your complete profile any time. When someone wants to connect with me yet has blocked huge portions of their profile from the public, I automatically decline the connection request. Your LinkedIn profile is an ad – you want as many people as possible to read about your story. Don’t leave them guessing, full disclosure is best. 6. Don’t have too many (or too few) connections. We’ve all seen them; LIONs (LinkedIn Open networkers) with tens of thousands of “connections”. If you’re in the game of quantity over quality when it comes to first-degree connections, you should probably focus on Twitter as LinkedIn works best when you organically build yourself a network of people you know or legitimately want to get to know. On the flip side, having too few connections (let’s say under 50) gives the impression that you’re not really serious about using LinkedIn. 7. Write your profile in the first person. When writing your profile, be sure to write in the first person and say “I” instead of referring to yourself in the third person. Everyone who lands on your profile knows you wrote it yourself and it creates an emotional gap between you and the person browsing your profile when you talk about yourself as someone else. Your LinkedIn profile is not a resume, book jacket or biography, it is an opportunity to connect with another human being with similar interests. Write it as an autobiography and use “I” and “my” throughout your profile. 8. Strategically filter your displayed endorsements. It’s always exciting when someone endorses us for our work but that doesn’t mean we have to display all the kudos on our profile. I’m a big fan of picking the top 10 endorsement categories that align with the message you’re trying to send and deleting the rest. By eliminating random, off-topic endorsements from your profile you’ll look tidy and focused. For example: I often get endorsed for “fundraising” but because I am not a fundraiser (nor do I want to brand myself as one) I delete those endorsements. LinkedIn automatically generates
  • ideas of how your connections could endorse you; they’re not necessarily always accurate to your area of your expertise. 9. Display authentic recommendations. People like doing business with those whose talent has been vouched for by other credible leaders. There are probably dozens of people who would be happy to recommend your work but until you ask them to write up a quick note about their experience working with you, there will be no social proof to show your prospects that you’re really great at what you do. Take the plunge and ask for some support from your network. Most people will easily say “yes” (if you sincerely did a great job for them). 10. Reply to your direct messages in a timely manner. Someone sending you a message and not getting a reply within 3 business days is like someone calling you personally on the phone and you never calling them back – pretty rude. No matter what, make sure you have a system in place to reply to each and every one as soon as possible. Stand apart from the crowd and actually check your inbox regularly – this one is a LinkedIn game changer. I can’t tell you how many times that I have replied to a LinkedIn message and people are genuinely shocked and impressed that I actually got back to them. 11. Send personalized connection requests. When you send a connection request to someone and just use the default request script, it gives the impression that you don’t really care about the person you’re sending the request to. Take ten extra seconds when expanding your network to write a personal note about who you are and why you want to connect with them. Go the extra mile, it makes a BIG difference. 12. Write your profile in English. It is so exciting that LinkedIn is connecting people from all around the world; however, if you speak English and are looking to make English-speaking connections it will help you a lot of have an English version of your profile. Many nonprofit leaders request to join my LinkedIn group looking to network with people from North America but because their profile is written in a different language they find themselves facing a lot of roadblocks. I am not saying that your profile must be written in English but if you’re looking to connect with English-speaking people then it should be written in a language they can understand. (The reverse is also true that if you’re looking to network with people in the Hispanic market (for example), be sure to write your profile in Spanish.) 13. No unexplained acronyms. You may understand what you’ve written but a 3rd party to your organization will have no idea what you’re trying to say if your profile is jammed full of unexplained acronyms. Don’t make the person viewing your profile have to do a google search to figure out what exactly you do. If using acronyms is your only option, immediately explain that the letters stand for so
  • that you can continue to deepen your connection with the viewer instead of them feeling estranged and confused. If there is an interesting story behind how your organization got its clever name, be sure to tell that story as we’d all like to hear it. 14. Join only as many groups as you can realistically actively participate in, keep it simple. I’ve read books about succeeding on LinkedIn by joining as many groups as possible (LinkedIn allows you to join 50) but I think this is a ridiculous idea. How can you realistically actively participate in that many groups? Don’t join a community unless you’re planning to use it to network or join the conversation. If you’re like me you don’t need extra guilt about the things you’re not doing and dozens of unread group email updates. Keep it simple, join a handful of meaningful groups (if you’re going to join groups at all) and dig into them to meet new people and learn new things. 15. Go easy on the status updates. The trick in navigating social media is that each platform is completely different from every other. On Twitter you can easily get away with posting 15-20 times/day; however, on LinkedIn, this is just not done. The name of the game on LinkedIn is professional courtesy – only post relevant, informative updates 2-3 times/day maximum. Be sure that you don’t accidentally use hashtags # or @mentions as it shows that you’ve automated posting to your account and aren’t really paying attention. When making a status update with a link involved, write a short comment or question and then the link so that you’re opening yourself up to creating a conversation and not just mindlessly pushing information. The thing I love about LinkedIn is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, there is a very distinctive culture and unwritten set of expectations that each user should adhere to. For many people, the amount of work that goes into setting up a proper LinkedIn profile, is so overwhelming that they don’t even try to figure it out then end up being one of the millions of profiles that no one looks at and no one engages with. What could you accomplish and who could you meet by deciding to become an expert at using LinkedIn instead of trying to get by on just the basics? Got a question about any of these ideas? Send me an email and I’ll be happy to get back to you natasha@nextlevelnonprofits.com.