Although other social networking sites have their place and purpose, none of them have the professionally directed power of LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile should say everything about who you are professionally.
Google likes LinkedIn. If you have a LinkedIn profile and you typed your name into a Google search, chances are pretty good that you’re LinkedIn entry would appear on the first page — unless you have a really common name like “John Smith,” in which case you could be several Google pages down, but you will be there! Because you’ll “get found,” you want to make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile that makes a positive impact on people who find you and your business there.
Filling in a LinkedIn account feels a lot like putting your resume on-line. However, because Google and other search engines are spidering through LinkedIn, you’ll want to use keywords and keyword phrases throughout your information.
Creating Your LinkedIn Profile
After Googling for your name, the first thing people see in the search results (under the link to your LinkedIn profile) is your Headline, so make it count. It’s also the first description of you they see in your LI profile.
You can certainly use something dry like “Business Owner,” but that doesn’t tell people anything. Use this as an opportunity to sum up your “professional identity” and pique a reader’s interest in a short phrase. Currently, mine is “Builder of Web Presence.” Not great; something I could work on. But if I just said “Owner, Sunstone Solutions,” people would have no idea what type of “solutions” I can provide.
Under your profile block is the Summary section. It’s totally optional and some people skip it and go straight to the Experience section. However, web content professionals recommend adding a personal intro about your goals, what you’re passionate about, etc.
Because I made a career right-turn back in 2005, I used my summary to illustrate how my 25 years of experience at Hewlett-Packard were relevant to creating web sites and how my time since then has been devoted to becoming accomplished in my new field of expertise.
You’ll describe your company under Experience, so you don’t need to do that here unless you do it in such a way that you don’t repeat yourself in the next section.
As you’re writing your summary, use keywords and keyword phrases as much as possible in the Specialties section to showcase your talents.
Your current work experience is important because it is what you are currently doing in business. Summarize what you and your business are about. Without sounding stilted, remember to use keywords and phrases that people would use to search for your type of business.
4. Past Work Experience
This starts to look like the contents of your latest resume. Where possible, play up experience that lends well to your current business.
5. Your Personal Brand
Increase the value of your personal brand by including your Education information and any Honors and Awards you’ve received that are professionally relevant.
Give and get Recommendations. These convey credibility and are one of the best forms of “social proof.” The best way to get recommendations is to give them.
6. Additional Information
Be sure to include websites such as your business’s website, your blog page, your Facebook business page, etc., under Additional Information.
While the information you provide in your profile is very important when trying to create a great first impression, don’t overlook the importance of correct spelling and good grammar. Check it over thoroughly. Have someone else review it for you.
Call to ACTION
Once you’ve created all this great information, don’t leave your reader hanging. Give them a place to go such as a number to call to get a free consultation, how to email you, or where to get more detailed information (your website).
More Information About Your Business on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has another section under the Companies tab where you can provide more details about the products or services provided by your company. After clicking the Companies tab at the top, find the “Add Company” link on the right side of the page. Fill in the appropriate information to get started. On the Company page, you’ll find tabs for “Overview,” “Careers,” “Products & Services” and “Page Statistics.” Fill out the first 3 sections as pertinent to your business.
You can be a little bit sales-y here, but as before, remember to use keywords and phrases as search engines find this stuff, too. HINT: Enter your products and services in the reverse order you want them to appear on the page as each new entry is added to the top, not the bottom. I learned this the hard way and haven’t figured out how to fix this for my products and services without deleting them all and re-entering them.
Join and Follow Groups
Find groups to join and follow in your area of business or industry. (Hover over the Groups link at the top of your account page and select “Groups You May Like.”) When you join groups, you can get updates automatically of any new postings to the group. Participate in discussions. If you decide a group isn’t what you expected, you can leave it and find others.
Link to LinkedIn
You’re a professional. Get on the “professional’s social network.”
Leave your comments below. Tell us how you’ve used LinkedIn for your business.