Signing up for a LinkedIn account is easy enough but if you want to know how to create a LinkedIn profile that will attract your target market, this article is probably the most complete breakdown I’ve ever done on the subject outside of my advanced LinkedIn training course, the LinkedIn Profit Formula.
UPDATED February 27, 2013: Even though the last update for this LinkedIn training was December 2012, LinkedIn has made so many more changes recently that it became necessary to update every single graphic. You will notice a few steps got removed and a few more got added – this is because things have become much simpler with your LinkedIn profile thanks to all the recent changes. Even if you have already gone through this post before, make sure you go over it again so you don’t miss anything when creating your perfect LinkedIn profile!
The key to your success on LinkedIn begins with a powerful and professional presence. You must strategically write your profile with your ideal client in mind before you start connecting to maximize the impact of your first impression online.
I’ve outlined 21 different key points that I believe are important to fully optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Follow these 21 steps and you will have much greater success with LinkedIn!
Go to this link to see the profile used in the examples below.
LinkedIn Training: How To Create A LinkedIn Profile In 21 Steps
1. Photo Should Always Be Professional – Take the time to get a real professional picture taken by a photographer. Anything else doesn’t leave nearly the same impression so get off to a good start with a great headshot.
2. Your Name Should ONLY Contain Your Name – Avoid adding any additional titles, acronyms or credentials. Keep it clean and concise!
3. Your Headline Should Be Catchy & Have Keywords You Want To Be Found For – Create a headline that captures your target market’s attention to encourage them to check out your profile.
4. Connect With At Least 501 People – The reason I suggest this is because LinkedIn will show how many connections you have until you hit 500. People like to connect with “connected” people.
5. Provide All Necessary Contact Info – Not everyone will want to message you on LinkedIn when they find your profile so it’s good to give multiple options. I chose not to put my address and instead put an alternate email – you can do the same, if you want but make sure you at least have an email!
6. Customize Your Website Names – On my own profile, I didn’t just put my company name or my website names. Instead, I used words that would be more attractive to the type of person I aim to attract.
7. Customize Your Profile URL – When customizing your LinkedIn profile, aim to just have your full name without anything else. If you have a more common name (sorry, John Smith) then you might have to resort to a slight modification.
9. Keyword Load Your Summary & Profile – Notice again how I’ve strategically placed my chosen keywords through my profile and summary. Be careful not to overdo it or else your profile loses it’s impact.
10. Write In First Person – Your LinkedIn profile is not your resume so make sure you are always writing in first person.
11. Speak Directly To Your Target Market – Always write so that you’re speaking directly to the type of person you are trying to attract/sell to. Every word should be positioned with that goal in mind!
12. Add Video To Your LinkedIn Profile – There’s no better way to introduce yourself than with your own voice and face. Fortunately their latest update has made adding video or slideshow presentations to your LinkedIn profile ridiculously simple by allowing you to paste a link instead of the grueling process it used to be.
13. Tell Them To Click Play! – It might not be obvious enough that the video on your profile is actually a video so be sure to actually tell people to click play in the text area.
14. Skills & Expertise Should Be Filled With Keywords – This is a keyword haven on your LinkedIn profile so think about every skill you promote through your business and list it here. Everything you put here will show up in your Endorsements section so choose carefully!
15. Use The “Projects” Section To Promote Products – This is a great section to showcase products you are selling currently. Offer a free report, white paper or something that will give value to your target market to drive traffic and opt-ins for your website. I have also used it to promote a couple free reports and checklists that I have available for download.
16. Keyword Load Your Current & Past Work History – Notice how in my profile I used keywords like “Social media speaker” and “social media trainer”. These are some of the keywords I want to be found for.
17. Use Keywords When Filling Out Your Experience Section – See explanation for #6. Same drill!
18. Have At Least 10 Recommendations – This is key for building credibility. Do whatever you need to do to get your first 10 recommendations, as they are paramount to distinguishing you from competition online. Read this blog for tips on getting more LinkedIn recommendations.
20. Fill “Honors & Awards” With Significant Media Attention – If you don’t have a lot of awards that are relevant to your business, I would encourage you to use this section to promote any media or press attention you’ve received.
21. Join 50 groups – You can join a maximum of 50 groups on LinkedIn so take advantage of every one of them. If your business is primarily local then start by finding relevant local groups for your industry or wherever your target market is likely to be.