Do you have a LinkedIn profile?
If so, you’re in good company, with over 300 million users it’s the world’s largest social network for professionals and one of the fastest growing social media sites. joining giants like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google + in terms of months active users.
The professional use of social media sites as a business tool is on the rise and LinkedIn is the premier business-to-business networking site with users from all industries and countries. converge to use it as a powerful business creation tool. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is taken for granted by far too many of you, which can be a huge mistake.
LinkedIn is no longer just a job search site
For many, LinkedIn is seen first and foremost as a job search site; however this point of view is very short-sighted. While LinkedIn is an extremely valuable headhunting tool (94% of recruiters use the site as a resource for evaluating candidates), the site has evolved into a full-fledged business development site and savvy users know a great deal about it. success as a publishing medium, one for finding new suppliers and a powerful tool for lead generation.
If you’ve created a profile and forgot it, here are some usage stats from the latest LinkedIn Quarterly Profits Report, along with a Forbes-exclusive research report to show you what you’re missing: Here are some – some of the highlights:
- LinkedIn had 300 million users at the end of the first quarter of 2014.
- More than 2 new LinkedIn profiles are created every second.
- There are 186 million unique visitors every month.
- 41% of LinkedIn users now report more than 500 connections, up from 30% in 2013.
- 15% of LinkedIn users now report over 1,000 connections, double the percentage from last year.
- Over 50% of those surveyed spent more than two hours per week on LinkedIn.
In another recent Forbes survey of executives (directors and senior executives), LinkedIn is the preferred social media site, well ahead of Facebook and Twitter.
It’s time to refresh this profile
The world of social media is confusing for many of us, but times are changing and optimized social media profiles are essential for doing business now and in the future. LinkedIn is the first step new business contacts go to to assess you as a business person.
What message does your LinkedIn profile convey?
If you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in a while, maybe it’s time to open it up and see how you communicate your presence to the world.
Here are 5 easy ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and improve your personal branding:
1) Claim your vanity url
Make your profile look more professional (and easier to share) by claiming your LinkedIn Custom URL.
Instead of a URL with a confusing million digits at the end, it will look like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbcuevas. Customize your URL by going here and clicking Customize your public profile URL with the right side.
2) Upload professional photo
One of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile is your photo. Your photo helps the people you invite to contact you to identify you at a glance. You want to present a personal and professional image that expresses who you are as a professional.
You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to make a good impression, but if you have a professional portrait, use it. Make sure to avoid unprofessional and inappropriate images. Unfortunately, these are all too common.
Blurry or grainy photos are also common on the site, so make sure the image has a good resolution. Your best bet is a high resolution smiley photo that communicates energy and enthusiasm.
3) Grab people’s attention with an optimized headline
According to LinkedIn expert Melanie Dodaro of TopDog Social Media, “You only have 120 characters for your LinkedIn profile title and you need to use each one to make an impression in search results.”
LinkedIn search gives users the ability to search using keywords and geo-targeting to find potential network contacts and suppliers. Many users make the mistake of settling for a job title for the title, while insightful users use keyword-rich titles that will make it easier to find your niche, specialty, or industry.
According to Dodaro, “One of the most important factors that will make you appear on the first page of search results is your LinkedIn title.”
4) Show your work samples
A recent and extremely interesting feature of LinkedIn is the ability to display work examples. LinkedIn allows you to add a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile.
By adding work samples to your profile, a potential employer or sales manager can immediately see the quality of your work. This allows you to showcase different projects, provide samples of your work, and better optimize your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn provides a great tutorial on adding, removing, and rearranging work samples here.
5) Don’t neglect your summary
The summary (your bio section) is a key part of your LinkedIn real estate with a maximum word count of 2,000 words. Too often, people don’t bother to complete this section on their LinkedIn profile.
Why should you fill it out?
It gives your profile viewer a quick overview of who, what, where, when and why. Most importantly, this is a section of your profile where you can communicate what you can do for them. Most people won’t take the time to read all of your job titles and try to determine what skills you have by looking at groups and associations.
The summary gives you the opportunity to communicate your value proposition – what you can do for others and why people would want to engage with you. You want your summary to stand out and let the reader want to connect with you immediately.
LinkedIn is arguably the best business-to-business online tool we have today. By starting with these five simple tips, you’ll refresh your profile and prepare for your online business.
For more information on how to get the most from your online marketing spend, be sure to download a free copy of our latest eBook, “How To Use The Internet To Generate Leads And Increase Income. “