LinkedIn’s big. It’s the 3rd biggest social media site and the no.1 business to business site in the world.
Despite the fact that there are now almost 500m people on Linkedin, it still surprises me how few actually use it effectively for their Personal Brand & never receive any real benefits from their profiles (e.g. job offers, business opportunities etc.).
I remember a time when I had a Linkedin profile but never received any value from it. It was something ‘you had to have’. So I decided to experiment with it, to see if it could help me build my Personal Brand and I found that by optimising my profile in four ways, things started happening:
- More people viewed my profile
- More people wanted to connect with me
- I started receiving inbound job offers (some six-figures)
- Lots of other business offers came my way (admittedly of varying degrees of quality 😉
A few years on, I have over 3,500 Linkedin connections and continue to receive job offers & opportunities. I’m truly reaping the benefits of a well optimised profile.
In this post I’m sharing a complete guide on how to optimise your profile to build your Personal Brand, and get noticed by the right people.
I estimate less than 1% of people on Linkedin have their profiles up to scratch. And it only takes approx. 1 hour a year to do so.
Want to learn more? OK, let’s go:
1) Look good
You know that age-old expression ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’. Well it’s a core essence of branding. It therefore goes without saying that your profile picture needs to look great.That means no strange photos where you’re looking creepy or out on the town with your mates 😉 There are lots of places on the web where you can learn about how to make good social media profile photos – here’s a good one
Get the photo taken by a decent photographer, paid or otherwise, look professional and remember to smile.
2) Get Found – Use keywords
The is the most important of the 4 steps.
Before I walk you through how to get found on Linkedin, I’ll explain the basics basics of how Search Engine Optimisation works (stick with me here, I’ll connect the dots as to why this is relevant for Linkedin later)
When we tap something into a search engine, like Google, the words we typein are called ‘keywords’ (imagine you search for the words ‘red shoes’ into Google, ‘red shoes’ would be your keyword)
Google then takes those keywords and finds content on the web that it deems relevant and brings it back you instantly If Google feels a page’s content is most applicable (to the keywords), it’s ranked higher on the returned list of results.The closer to the top it appears (say page 1), the more clicks that page will get.
Linkedin works in the same way
The search bar on Linkedin is principally the same as Google’s. It’s simply a search engine for Linkedin. Whatever ‘keywords’ you type into it, LinkedIn returns the most relevant results (based on profiles containing those keywords).
So who might be searching for things on Linkedin? Commonly recruiters, CEOs, or employers looking for people in certain roles to either offer them jobs, consulting or speaking gigs etc.
Using this knowledge, we can reverse engineer the way Linkedin works to get found by people searching for things relevant to our personal brands.
When people (e.g. potential employers, head-hunters) go looking for a suitable individual on Linkedin, they type the name of the role into the search bar (name of role = a keyword). Linkedin will then show pages of profiles it deems relevant to that role. There are a number of factors, one of which is how often that keyword appears in someone’s profile!
Appearing at the top of results will increase your likelihood of being viewed by the person 10x. This is where you want to be.
So now you know how it works, what do you want to be found for on Linkedin?
Using Keywords to get found on Linkedin
So let’s go ahead and put this into practice and begin reverse engineering your Linkedin profile. To do this, I’ll take you through the following steps:
1) Decide what you want to be found for. What is the ideal role you want? This question goes a bit deeper than the intention of this blog post, but I’d recommend answering these questions:
- What is the name of the role you want to be hired for?
- Is there anything else you want to be found for? (e.g. speaker, marketing consultant)
- What will recruiters/CEOs etc type in to the Linkedin search bar when they are looking for that person?
- What variations are there of this same word: e.g. head of marketing, could also be VP marketing, head of growth etc
2) Name your ideal role based on the answers above. We’re now going to call this your primary keyword for your profile
3) Now consider 5 – 10 skills associated with this role, these will be our secondary keywords.
Take a moment to write these keywords down.
Now that you’ve got your keywords, you want to input them into your profile, so when people search for these words, you come up high in the search results.
Where to Place Your Keywords in Your Linkedin Profile
So as we learnt in the opening section of the post, the more times keywords feature in your profile the more relevant Linkedin will think you are & will show you higher on the results page. Higher on Linkedin results = more clicks on your profile.
Note: If your dream role/title is something that you don’t have a huge amount of experience in right now, that’s fine, you should still aim to use the keyword multiple times, you just need to get a little ‘creative’ how you put it in your profile. We’ll discuss how to do this below.
In the Headline section
The headline is possibly the single most important part of your Linkedin profile (along with your photo). Linkedin gives you 120 characters to hook people who are searching on Linkedin.
Individuals with dull, one-word descriptions in their Linkedin profiles (e.g. ‘Accountant’) are missing a huge trick.
We’re not going to make the same mistake and instead we’re going to use those 120 characters as an opportunity to use our keywords to help our Linkedin profile get found and POP.
What to put in: Write a description that sounds intriguing (the POP) but also uses your primary keyword (this will help you get found). Here’s mine:
As you see in my profile, ‘Marketing’ and ‘Growth’ are some of my keywords.
In the summary section
This section allows us to put in quite a bit of info, so use it wisely. Make sure you use your primary keywords at least twice here.
The summary section has a limit of 2,000 characters – so there’s lots of opportunity for selling yourself here. Use it & write an interesting history about yourself. If you’re stuck, open up a few Linkedin profiles of people you admire and get some inspiration from them.
At the bottom of your summary section, you can insert your Secondary Keywords. Again these secondary keywords will help you get found by people searching for someone with these specific skills. You can simply list them, see below:
In your experience section (work history)
Go back over all the roles you’ve worked in. Do you have opportunity to put in keywords here? This is where you should try and get a little creative with work experience if you can, even if the name of the role wasn’t exactly the same. E.g. if your primary keyword is ‘marketing’ you could say you worked on ‘marketing projects’ during your time serving burgers in McDonalds etc 😉
Your experience influences relevance on Linkedin, so take the time to do this thoroughly.
Very similar to your work history, this is a section that you should be aiming to use as many of your keywords as possible, even if your area of study isn’t directly in line withwhat you believe to be your current personal brand.
E.g. you want your keyword to be marketing but you studied law at university? Maybe you helped your university society with the marketing of its annual ball etc? Get creative to explain your experience history, and remember to use keywords as much as possible.
Here’s a summary of those keyword placements again:
- Title (primary keywords)
- Description (primary keywords)
- Summary (primary & secondary keywords)
- Past work titles (primary keywords)
- Skills (primary & secondary keywords)
- Qualifications (primary keywords)
3) Get Connected
I admit, this is a complete vanity metric, but let’s be honest, saying you’re an ‘influencer’ yet having only 46 Linkedin connections doesn’t sit quite right.
Linkedin is always prompting you to add more connections (by connecting your email addresses, facebook profile etc, so yes do that (you’ll get approx. 100 – 200 connections that way).
However once you have this initial base, you need a more repeatable and scalable way to increase connections easily.
Install Rapportive – an email add-on. It shows the profile of the people you’re emailing on the right hand side of your inbox, which is rather handy.
However the real value of Rapportive is that you can add people to Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook etc with just 1 click, directly from your email. This allows you to quickly connect with people you’ve just met, or had a call with, etc.
Now simply get into the habit of using Rapportive to connect with everyone you’re emailing that you have met / spoken to. If you create this habit, you’ll find your Linkedin connections will grow at a very consistent level every week.
Go install Rapportive right now, it will take you 3 minutes and is completely free.
4) Look Trustworthy
Similar to connections, recommendations is a bit of a vanity metric, however it makes sense that if people see you have lots of recommendations they’re likely to believe you’re both good at what you do and trustworthy.
And remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust.
The goal here is to get double figures of recommendations, 10+, that’s more than enough.
But how do you get recommendations easily?
If asking for lots of recommendations doesn’t fill you with excitement, don’t worry – that’s completely natural. I’d hate to do that too.
Below I’ll show you how to get lots of recommendations for your Linkedin profile, without ever asking for any.
How to get lots of recommendations for your Linkedin profile without asking anyone for any
It’s actually quite simple.
The easiest way to get recommendations on Linkedin is for you to recommend someone first.
When you Recommend someone, the following happens:
They’ll be grateful that you recommended them without their asking. As they accept the Recommendation, they will naturally think about returning the gesture (reciprocation is a well-recognised human response in instances like this).
Thankfully Linkedin knows this. As soon as the recipient of your glowing review accepts it, Linkedin will ask if they’d like to write one for you in return.
I find that over 50% of all recommendations I send out, result in a recommendation back to me – so to get 10 recommendations, you’ll need to write about 20.
Some people think this is inauthentic. I disagree. I only recommend people that I genuinely think are very very good. That way each recommendation is 100% authentic, I let human inclination to reciprocate take care of things after that.
Now Take Action
Follow these four simple steps for optimising your Linkedin profile in line with your personal brand and you’ll be in the top 1% of people who are strategic about their Linkedin presence. With these optimisations you should quickly see an increase in visitors to your profile, people asking to connect, even job offers appearing in your inbox.
It should take no longer than 1 hour, time well spent.
Do you know any smart ways to optimise your Linkedin profile? Please share them in the comments below.