Making the Most of Your Linked in profile

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LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, but setting up a profile can be overwhelming, especially when you consider that the difference between a good profile and a great profile can be the difference between being found and digital obscurity. Oh, I know that sounds dramatic. But you want to be found by the people important to your career and business, right?

It turns out that a great profile is easier to achieve than most people think. Follow these simple steps and you’ll ensure maximum visibility of your LinkedIn profile.

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Making the Most of Your Linked in profile

  1. 1. whizbangsolutions.net Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile LinkedIn is a great tool for networking, but setting up a profile can be overwhelming, especially when you consider that the difference between a good profile and a great profile can be the difference between being found and digital obscurity. Oh, I know that sounds dramatic. But you want to be found by the people important to your career and business, right? It turns out that a great profile is easier to achieve than most people think. Follow these simple steps and you’ll ensure maximum visibility of your LinkedIn profile. 100% Profile Completeness Much attention is paid to the use of keywords in crafting an effective LinkedIn profile. But it turns out that LinkedIn’s algorithm takes into account more than the mere presence of keywords that match users’ searches. The company gives clues to some of the key elements that ensure profile visibility in their assessment of “Profile Completeness”. It’s safe to assume that having a 100% complete profile impacts more than just the visual appeal of your profile page. In fact, a complete profile drives search rank and some matching features within LinkedIn. LinkedIn will never tell you how their algorithm works. The best approach is to focus on profile completeness and just do it. One hundred percent profile completion can be achieved with minimal effort by ensuring your profile includes the following: ☐In the experience section, a current position and two previous positions ☐An education entry ☐A profile photo ☐A minimum of three skills in the “Skills” section ☐A minimum of 50 connections ☐Your industry and postal code
  2. 2. whizbangsolutions.net To get started making changes to your LinkedIn profile, go to your profile page and click the edit box in your profile header: Now make sure you’ve got a complete profile with all of the elements mentioned above. Keyword Effectiveness There’s also a benefit to ensuring the presence of specific words in designated places. Consider the words that your target audience might use to find you. If your target audience is clients, they may search on words about your industry like “Seattle Technology Consulting” versus specific company names. To maximize your visibility for these searches, include the keywords in the following sections of your profile: ☐Profile header ☐Summary (main) ☐Summary – Specialties ☐Current position ☐Past position (s) ☐Skills section Including your keywords here can significantly impact your visibility in search results.
  3. 3. whizbangsolutions.net The Skills Section The Skills section of your profile has a few benefits, when used effectively: first, it’s where you put skill keywords that don’t fit elegantly into the rest of your profile. Did we mention how important keywords are? Second, it encourages recommendations. The value of these recommendations is debatable, as many people are indiscriminate recommenders. But they are conspicuous in their absence. Having your skills section completed at least gives relevant potential recommenders a platform to give you the thumbs-up. ☐Add up to 50 skills to Skills & Expertise section. Consider that a particular skill may be described in different ways. Select skills that are already in LinkedIn, when possible (meaning: choose from selections that appear in hover text or drop-downs as you type). Profile Hygiene A few simple steps can ensure visibility and reader engagement: ☐For B2B, searches are frequently location-specific. For your profile and each position, specifically the ones local to your current location, designate a location. ALWAYS pick the location from the drop-down. This allows users to filter by location. ☐Concurrent positions can be confusing. Consider whether they really add value to your personal brand. If you keep concurrent positions, ensure that the top one is the one that represents your primary business. (Note: if you delete a duplicate, keep the one with recommendations, if there are any. You can always edit the position description.) ☐For your companies (most importantly, your current one), ensure that when you click on the company name, it sends you to the company page on LinkedIn. If it doesn’t, edit your profile and change the company name. As you start typing, notice that company names pop up. Select your company from the pop-up and this will connect your profile to the company record. This increases your visibility on the company page and ensures that a user viewing your company page finds the “right person”. If you are a small business owner and no company name pops up, create a LinkedIn company page.
  4. 4. whizbangsolutions.net Profile Settings Settings are also important. Reviewing and editing your settings is easy. Find your thumbnail in the upper right corner of your LinkedIn homepage and click on it. Then go to “review” next to “Privacy and Settings”. ☐At the top of the page, add your work email address. LinkedIn uses your email address to identify that yours is the profile someone is looking for and as a means of verifying that they “know” you. If you have other email addresses people may have used for you, and you would like to ensure visibility to these people, add the email addresses. This does not make these email addresses visible. Your primary email address is where you get notifications. But your email addresses are not public unless you make them public. ☐Profile photo: ensure that you have one and that it’s a professional one (with a creative twist if you are in a creative industry). Company logos as profile photos make people feel icky. Don’t do that. ☐What others see when you view their profile: change this setting to anonymous or semi- anonymous (city, title, industry) if you don’t want people to know when you have viewed their profile. When you do this, you won’t be able to see stats for who has viewed your profile. If you don’t mind people knowing that you’ve looked at their profile, then you can have your name and headline displayed when you have viewed at their profile, and geek out over all the details on the people who have looked at yours. ☐ Your email preferences: allow introductions and Inmails. Inmails cost the sender money and allowing them will not significantly increase the flow of items into your inbox. Use the “advice” field to tell people what they can contact you for. People are often hesitant without an invitation. Giving them one makes you more approachable.
  5. 5. whizbangsolutions.net Additional On-profile Best Practices ☐ There is value in ensuring that your persona online is united around one version of your name (married or maiden name, with or without middle name, initials, etc.). It is recommended that you pick one and stick with it across all web properties. Also, special characters can limit your visibility by excluding your profile from searches where the character was omitted. When it comes to your name, especially when it accompanies other information like title and company that can be used to identify you, keep it as simple as possible. ☐Recommendations are a mixed-bag on LinkedIn. They are nice to have but anyone can get them. Having a compelling profile is more important. If you pursue recommendations, let the folks you solicit them from know what you are trying to communicate in your profile. ☐Add up to 3 websites under Contact Info. SEO rule-of-thumb: links to sites are higher value when they include keywords in the link title. For example: “Whiz Bang Solutions” instead of “My company”. To do this, in profile edit mode, click “edit Contact Info” in the top section of your profile. Then click the little pencil icon next to “Websites”. From the category dropdown, select “Other”. This will allow you to enter custom link text. Every user click on that link increases the relevancy of your company website as a result, for the search terms included on your title text. ☐Add links and files to enhance engagement on your profile. Consider the target audience for your profile (potential clients, recruiters) and add something you think will interest them, like a slide deck from an industry conference you spoke at or an article you’ve written. More Tips ☐ If you are using Outlook, install Social Connector (here). This allows people you share email with to connect with you on LinkedIn by clicking on your LinkedIn profile in your email. Click this little guy to add files and links
  6. 6. whizbangsolutions.net ☐ Control the visibility of your profile via search engines. On your main profile page, in the header, click on the arrow next to the edit button and select “Manage public profile settings”: Making your profile visible to “everyone” means your profile will appear in search engine results when keywords in your profile match search terms. Otherwise, it’s walled within LinkedIn. Select the sections of your profile you want to be visible online. Bonus: customize your public profile url so it’s something nice (not loaded with a bunch of numbers). Hi, I’m Heather Hamilton, founder and Principal Consultant at Whiz Bang Solutions, a Seattle-based social media and digital marketing consulting firm. My expertise is in helping companies find, understand and engage people online, in ways that enhance brand equity and generate meaning. You can find and connect with me here: linkedin | twitter | facebook

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