With over 225 million users and more than 10 years in the social networking game, LinkedIn has grown from what was once considered a place to hunt for a new job (and not much more) to a community for professionals and businesses to talk shop, find new leads, connect and reconnect with colleagues, friends, and business partners.
So what are you doing to make the most of this professional landscape? We’ve broken a how-to guide to LinkedIn into sections, and will be sharing our tips and best practices in a three-part series.
Great Photography? Great Design? Great Job!
Use strong design and eye-popping visuals to draw people in to your LinkedIn profiles. When people see a professional headshot or a colorful, well-designed cover photo, potential leads are a lot more likely to click through to your page than if they see a bizarrely cropped, poorly designed, or non-existent photo.
- Cover Photo: Design an image that showcases your brand’s personality and helps you stand out. Consider including a call to action to drive your message home and take the mystery out of who you are, what you do, and what you want new connections to do next. With 646×220 pixels to play around with, you’ve got the space to be creative! If you have a company logo, be sure to include it somewhere on your page to drive home the connection between your company name, description, and logo.
- Profile Picture: If you’re using LinkedIn to promote your personal presence, be sure you have a professional, friendly profile photo. You don’t want something low-resolution, grainy, or inappropriate to represent the quality of work you bring to the table. (The dimensions for your profile picture are between a 200×200 – 500×500 square, 4MB max.)
- Highlight your social media presence – including LinkedIn – by placing the network “follow” and “recommend” widgets in a visible place on your website, emails, and blog. You can also include the LinkedIn logo or your LinkedIn company page URL on printed materials for additional exposure.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profiles
- Whether writing your company or personal profile, be sure you are using the best language to help your pages appear in search results. We don’t recommend stuffing your profile full of every applicable keyword you can think of, as it looks messy and unprofessional. But do pay attention to the keywords you do include when describing your company’s products and services and your personal skills and specialties.
- Include backlinks to your company blog, your website, other social network profiles, and any sites that reinforce who you are and what you do. Not only will this provide people with information, it will boost your search engine optimization.
Complete Your Company Page
- Take advantage of the LinkedIn Company page profiles and fill out all applicable sections. Your overview should include your company name (which LinkedIn will use to create your company page URL), your company description (a great place to include popular industry keywords), company locations, your website URL, as well as the type, size, industry, and status of your business.
- Have you added products and services? You have the opportunity to share videos, special offers, product and service descriptions, people to contact, and more. Don’t miss out on this chance to really get specific when highlighting what your company offers.
- Share updates. If you’ve recently posted a new article to your blog, or some aspect of your company was featured in the press, or your team hit a goal you want to share with your followers – this is a great way to keep your brand front of mind, as the updates filter into your followers’ news feed.
- Don’t forget about your employees. Let them know your company has a profile on LinkedIn so they can follow the page and share it with their personal networks.
Perfect Your Personal Profile
- Even if you aren’t currently on the job hunt, be sure you’ve filled out all sections of your personal profile. You may have gotten a new job and entered your title and start date, but be sure to also update your current responsibilities and job description. As a representative of your company, your profile could help potential clients learn more about what your team does.
- Create a customized URL for your personal profile. When you are logged into your account, opt to edit your profile, and click on the edit button next to the URL that appears underneath your profile picture. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to claim your first and last name for your custom URL, making it even easier for people to find you.
Endorsements & Recommendations For a Job Well Done
- For your company profile, you can ask people who you know have used your product (and liked it!) for a recommendation on LinkedIn via a dedicated email, a personal request, or on a “Thank You” page. Another group to reach out to? Your brand ambassadors. Repeat customers and particularly supportive Facebook and Twitter users are often very willing to their thoughts about your product. You can direct them to your LinkedIn company page to give a recommendation by using LinkedIn’s “Recommend” button. Add it to your emails, homepage, product pages, and “Thank You” pages to make the recommendation process even easier.
- Endorsements are available for personal profiles. A great way to get endorsed for your skills and expertise is to do the same for others in your network. They’ll get a notification that you’ve endorsed them, and may just feel so warm and fuzzy that they endorse you right back. If not, your name is now at the top of their mind with a kind gesture attached to it. Win, win!
These are just a few tips to get you started with sprucing up your LinkedIn profiles. Get these areas set up, cleaned up, and optimized, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a LinkedIn Super User. Stay tuned for Part 2 – we’ll discuss building leads through LinkedIn groups and good, old-fashioned networking.
What are your top tips for company and personal profiles on LinkedIn?