to Optimize Your
LinkedIn truly is the social
networking site for business. Why LinkedIn?
Consider your LinkedIn profile a (free) LinkedIn isn’t sexy, but it’s
personal, professional homepage – a place powerful. As of October 2009,
to showcase your work, talent, company the social networking site
and more. And through its all-important boasted more than 50 million
“Connections” feature, you can network users. And while that pales
like a monster. Done right, you could find in comparison to Facebook’s
350 million users, executives
yourself three or four connections away from from every Fortune 500
a dream job or massive sale. company have LinkedIn
But it’s not enough to set up a profile, fill in
basic information and leave it stagnant. With
a little time and thought, you can optimize
your profile for maximum impact and value.
With an optimized LinkedIn profile, you can:
Connect with potential clients, resources and Give your website an SEO bump through links.
employees. Consider it a virtual business card Gain exposure in a respected social media space.
exchange. You can’t limit your social media activity to Facebook,
Establish expertise and gain the trust of your Twitter and/or YouTube. You have to showcase your
network. skills (and optimally content) wherever potential
Be found through search engines. Unless your clients are lurking, namely LinkedIn.
name is John Smith or you share a famous name, Increase web traffic. By providing valuable and
your LinkedIn profile should rank at the top of search interesting content on your LinkedIn profile, you can
results for your name. funnel qualified traffic to your website.
20 Steps to an Optimized LinkedIn Presence
If you don’t think LinkedIn is important, be assured that your 3. Job Descriptions and Past Positions
competitors do, and they will certainly take advantage of your Do more than fill in job titles. Include detailed descriptions of
weakness in the space. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile doesn’t your current and past positions. This is your online resume. Tell
take much time, but it does take thought. It means filling your people what you’ve done, what you’re capable of achieving and,
profile to capacity with relevant, valuable content, descriptions most importantly, how you can help them.
and periodic activity updates. Here are step-by-step instructions
for making that happen. 4. Summary
Your summary is your cover letter to the world. What are your
strengths? Why are you a company’s dream employee? How can
1. Complete Profile you help the people who view your profile? Why should someone
First, fill out your profile so that it’s 100 percent complete do business with you?
(the system will tell you the level of completeness your profile
has attained). You would never send a resume, application or 5. Profile Picture
proposal that was 50 or 80 percent complete. According to the Adding a profile picture humanizes your page. And if you have a
LinkedIn, “[u]sers with complete profiles are 40 times more likely common name, it will help people find you more easily.
to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”
A complete profile includes: Give the world a succinct, keyword-driven list of your professional
Your current position
Two past positions For most of us, the best way to get recommendations is by
asking (unless your clients and colleagues think so highly of you
that they’ll post an unsolicited recommendation). In business,
Your profile summary you ask clients to recommend you. When applying for a new job,
you ask former employers to vouch for your work. Do the same
A profile photo with LinkedIn.
Your specialties 8. Connections
Make connections. This rule applies to business relationships
At least three recommendations on and offline. Connect with colleagues, business prospects,
partners, classmates, etc. The more people in your network, the
2. Job Title
greater your chances of getting found by potential clients and
Use a job title that includes your industry or another telling
employers. Just make sure you know the people with whom you
modifier. Instead of “Marketing Director” use “Marketing
want to connect. “[R]ecipients can indicate that they don’t know
Director, Financial Services.” Try “Telecom Sales Manager” rather
you. If they do, you’ll be asked to enter an e-mail address with
than “Sales Manager.” Your title is the equivalent of your page’s
each future invitation,” according to LinkedIn. Avoid this LinkedIn
H1 tag; it tells search engines and LinkedIn users exactly what
penalty by making smart connections.
Add three websites to your profile, then optimize their titles. By default, LinkedIn link names are “My Company,” “My
Website,” “My Blog,” “My Portfolio,” or “My RSS Feed.” However, links carry more weight in search engines if their titles
are relevant to the pages to which they link. Instead of using one of the defaults, select “Other” as your option in the
drop-down menu, and type in the name of your company, blog, website, etc.
10. Vanity URL
When you set up a profile, LinkedIn assigns it a URL, most likely with a combination of your name, numbers
and slashes. Choose to edit your public URL so that it includes your name and/or company. By including such
information in your vanity URL, the search engines will have a better idea of what or whom the page is about.
11. Public Profile
Make sure your profile is public. Whatever information you hide in your public profile, you block from search engines,
as well. For maximum human and search bot visibility, keep all your information available for public viewing. This isn’t
Facebook where friends might post unsightly photos or make lewd comments on your wall. Everything on LinkedIn
should be ready and acceptable for public consumption.
12. Status Updates
Are you attending a conference or speaking at an event? Are you participating in a local charity event or fundraiser?
Post relevant status updates to keep you top of mind among network connections. When contacts log on to LinkedIn
they’ll see your status updates … if you post them often.
In early November, LinkedIn announced a new partnership with Twitter. Keep your LinkedIn connections abreast of
your (professional) Twitter updates by adding this feature. You can control which tweets are posted to LinkedIn by
choosing to display only those tweets with “#in” included.
14. LinkedIn Answers
LinkedIn Answers is a tool that allows you to search for, ask and answer industry-specific questions. By showing your
expertise, you can draw in leads and new business.
Explore your connections’ profiles, and look for relevant LinkedIn groups to join. Most universities have alumni groups,
as do professional organizations. With a LinkedIn group, you can post job listings, discussions and more to a targeted
group of people – without having to make connections with all of them. Your status updates automatically get posted
to group members’ LinkedIn home pages. Choose a few, select groups, and check on them often.
16. Company Pages
Make sure your company is represented on LinkedIn. Search for your organization under the “Companies” tab
in the top navigation. Anyone with an e-mail linked to your company can update or add information, such as a
company description, industry, specialties, website, logo and more. If your company hosts a blog, it should display
automatically on this page.
LinkedIn widgets are perhaps the best (and easiest) way to update your LinkedIn profile with regular, fresh content.
If you’re already producing blog posts, presentations, white papers, tweets, etc., widgets allow you to repurpose that
content for your LinkedIn audience. Here are a few Wax recommends:
WordPress – Display excerpts from your latest WordPress blog posts on your profile. This will drive visitors to your blog
and website, show off your expertise and writing skills and give you an SEO bump.
Blog Link – For people whose blogs don’t run on WordPress, Blog Link displays posts from TypePad, Movable Type,
Vox, Blogger and LiveJournal, in addition to WordPress.
SlideShare – Showcase your SlideShare PowerPoint presentations and documents through LinkedIn. You can use this
application for business presentations, white papers, sales pieces, portfolios and much more.
Google Presentation – If you don’t have a SlideShare account (which you should, by the way), you can upload
PowerPoint presentations through the Google Presentation widget.
Poll – LinkedIn allows you to build polls to send to your connections for free or to a targeted group of non-
connections for a fee. With a strong LinkedIn following and this tool, you can conduct market research at no cost.
18. Profile Updates
Update your profile when you move to a new company or take on a new role. Beyond these types of obvious updates,
make small changes to your profile every quarter. Seek out new connections, change your profile picture, comment
on an issue in one of your groups – or else you’ll fade from the LinkedIn spotlight.
19. Other Social Media
Make your LinkedIn profile accessible through other social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
20. Custom LinkedIn Landing Page
No one says you have to link to your company’s home page from LinkedIn. If you want to better control your visitors’
experience, you can create a custom landing page for people who come to your website through LinkedIn. Tailor a
marketing message to someone you can (relatively safely) assume is social-media savvy and interested in you or
your services or products. If they reviewed your optimized LinkedIn profile, they should know a lot about you and your
business. Tell them something new – draw them in.
Think of how many dry, empty LinkedIn profiles you’ve encountered. Make yours stand out with smart linking, detailed
descriptions, regular updates and solid content. Give your connections – and your 50 million potential connections –
the information they need and want to take action.
For more information on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, contact Caroline Hatchett via e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 305-350-5700.