Are viewers of your LinkedIn profile able to easily identify your personal, professional brand? Are you giving those viewing your profile a reason to connect and do business with you? In this article, I will show you the top five “must do” strategies to help you have a well-established brand on LinkedIn.
Wow Them with your Professional Profile Photo
The first thing professionals see when they open up your LinkedIn profile is your photo. Your professional photo represents your personal brand and gives your readers a reason to connect with you. In many cases, people will decide whether they should further engage with you based on your photo alone, so make sure you include a professional headshot in your profile. It’s important that you have a light-colored background with no competing objects, and an engaging smile. The main purpose of your profile photo is to show business professionals that you are excited about the opportunity to connect and engage with them. So, make sure your profile photo is a professional photo of yourself and shows your readers you are ready to do business.
Tell Them How You Can Help with your Branding Headline
The second most important aspect of your LinkedIn profile is your branding headline. You have 120 characters to tell your success story, to describe your unique selling proposition. Please do not only include your current title and name of your company in your branding headline. Instead, answer the question: “What do you want others to know about your unique brand?” Give them a reason to connect and do business with you by having a strong, compelling branding headline.
Make Sure they can Easily Contact You
The third key area you should focus on is your Contact Info drop-down box. Make sure those wanting to connect with you can easily reach you either by email, IM or phone. It is important that you include your email address, Skype handle, as well as your top three websites that you want to be associated with including the HOME page of your website if you have one. And, when you include these three websites, make sure you brand them by naming these organizations. Don’t make the mistake of using the default “website” or “blog” standard LinkedIn label identifiers. I also suggest you include your phone number; however, I understand that due to privacy issues, some professionals may not want to include their phone number in their profile. The idea here is to make it real easy for those wanting to do business with you to contact you and learn more about you, your brand and how you can help.
Your Summary Section Should Be Written in First Person
A fourth key area to focus on is your Summary section. Please do not write your Summary in third person. Resumes and bios are written in third person because often these documents are handed over to others to view. In the case of your LinkedIn profile, however, you want to write it in what I call “first person, personal.” Your Summary section should have a real personal feel as if you were sitting across from your contact viewing your profile in a coffee shop one-on-one telling your story. So, use the word “I” and your name throughout and validate how you and your company can help them with your unique professional background and successes.
Take Your Online Discussion Offline
Once you have connected with a professional on LinkedIn and determined they are a strong potential contact for you, someone who can help you with your business goals, it’s critically important that you take your online discussion with this person, off-line. That is, you want to engage with professionals on LinkedIn by responding promptly to invitation requests and emails, not over-posting, and by all means, avoid any negativity. But once you have connected with a strong contact on LinkedIn, it’s important that you reach out and talk with that person either on the phone or in person. Talk or meet with them to ask for some great advice and request 3 key contacts. By meeting with this person online and networking with this contact one-on-one offline, you will take your professional relationship to an entirely new level and have the opportunity to tell your unique success story, get some great advice and possibly meet more connections by asking for help with introductions. So, in conclusion, use LinkedIn to meet some key contacts online, and remember, great networking is all about taking your online discussions offline.