Just having a LinkedIn profile is no longer enough. If it does a poor job of representing you and what you do, you might as well not have one.
Your LinkedIn profile is an essential part of your personal brand, and having a great one is a MUST if you plan to do any form of LinkedIn marketing or lead generation.
According to LinkedIn, your profile may already show up with the All-Star status.
Sadly, that doesn’t mean much. It could simply mean you’ve written at least something within the various sections of your profile without completing it. Yet, you still got the all-star status, giving you a false sense of having a professional presence on LinkedIn.
To me, an all-star profile means:
- you are easily found when someone searches for what you do
- your profile intrigues people, prompting them to connect with and learn more about you
In this article, with the help of a comprehensive step-by-step LinkedIn Profile infographic, you’ll learn how to create a true all-star LinkedIn profile.
Follow the steps in this article and infographic to create a professional, search-optimized LinkedIn profile, transforming your profile into a lead generation magnet.
In fact, having a polished profile is so vital that I recommend you don’t start actively using LinkedIn for lead generation until you complete this step.
Google search results
What is the first thing a prospective client does when they want to find out more about you?
They Google your name.
Did you know that your LinkedIn profile will show up very high in the search results (often in the top spot) and usually before your website?
Personal branding has become a hot topic, and your personal brand is reflected in everything that shows up in Google search results and your social media profiles.
Remember, LinkedIn is not Twitter or Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile has to represent you in a professional light, and it must speak to what you do and your credibility.
LinkedIn marketing: Attract your ideal clients with your LinkedIn profile
When re-writing your LinkedIn profile, it’s essential you know who your ideal clients are so that you can create a client-focused profile.
A misconception you may have about your LinkedIn profile is that it should be all about you, like your resume or professional CV. In fact, your profile should speak directly to your ideal clients.
People are much more interested in what you can do for them than they are in you personally. They are thinking WIIFM – what’s in it for me?
Make sure you identify who your ideal clients are, the specific problems/challenges they face and ways you can solve those challenges.
Choosing keywords for your LinkedIn profile
If you want people to find you based on what you offer rather your name, you need to think about the keywords they may use in their LinkedIn searches.
On LinkedIn, people tend to look for people rather than things or information, like they do on Google.
For example, on Google, someone may search for How to create a great LinkedIn profile or LinkedIn marketing ideas.
But on LinkedIn, they may search for LinkedIn expert, LinkedIn profile writer or LinkedIn marketing consultant.
When adding keywords throughout your profile, think about the words and keyword phrases your ideal clients would use on LinkedIn vs Google.
How to Create an All-Star LinkedIn Profile [Infographic]
Share this LinkedIn Profile infographic freely as long as you reference the source and link it back to this blog post.
Below this infographic, you will find more specific details on how to write a great LinkedIn profile. Be sure to read to the end if you are committed to building a powerful personal brand and LinkedIn presence.
Now that you’ve gone through this complete LinkedIn marketing infographic, let me expand on some of the most important sections within your profile to ensure you understand exactly what you need to do to have a professional presence that attracts your target audience.
1. LinkedIn cover photo
A professionally designed cover photo will help you create a consistent and professional looking personal brand.
Your cover photo should not only reflect your personal brand but also inform people of who you are and what you offer. It is also a good place to add an appropriate call to action.
2. Professional profile photo
As you well know, first impressions are everything, especially online. You have seconds to make a positive impression, and a professional headshot will help you achieve that. In fact, personal branding starts with a professional headshot.
Ensure your profile image makes the right impression on your target audience.
Here are some pointers for a better profile image:
- look straight at the camera
- smile and show some teeth
- have a clean, plain background
- dress appropriately for your profession and audience
- include only you in your image
3. Your name
Include nothing but your name in the name field.
Adding something other than your name in the name field violates LinkedIn’s Terms of Service and can get your account restricted. LinkedIn’s Terms of Service state it is unacceptable to add personal information, such as email addresses or phone numbers, or to use symbols, numbers or special characters.
But beyond this breach of contract, using something other than your name makes you harder to find, looks unprofessional and reduces your credibility.
There are exceptions. These include professional/academic abbreviations, e.g., Ph.D., as well as former names, maiden names and nicknames as these can make it easier for people to find you.
4. Your LinkedIn headline
Your headline is the MOST important part of your LinkedIn profile. You have 120 characters to compel your ideal prospects and clients to click further to learn more about you.
To increase your chances of showing up in the search results, include one or two keywords in your headline. But it is not enough to show up in the search results as you will be competing with many other profiles there.
You must stand out to attract your ideal clients. You can achieve that by creating a compelling statement to capture your readers’ attention and intrigue them enough so they click on your profile to learn more about you.
Your headline may include any of the following:
- evidence of your credibility
- information about what you do and for whom
- outcomes/solutions you offer clients
- keywords you want to be found for
5. Standout About section (formerly the Summary)
Like your headline, the first sentences of your About section need to catch the attention of your ideal clients and pique their curiosity so they click See more to read your entire About section.
If you don’t grab their attention, they will click away, and the opportunity to create a business relationship with them will be lost.
6. Have 500+ connections
While you want to fill your network with only high quality connections, it is important to work on building up your network to over 500+ connections.
Having a large number of connections achieves two purposes. First, it serves as social proof of your status and expertise. Second, it allows you to find or be found by more of your ideal clients. Remember, you can be found only by your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections or by those with whom you share a common LinkedIn Group.
7. Post LinkedIn publisher articles
It is extremely easy for anyone viewing your profile to see just how active or, rather, inactive you are on LinkedIn. A great way to stay active and visible, if you write articles, is to post regularly to LinkedIn Publisher.
This activity will help keep you on the minds of your connections, which is crucial to relationship building.
8. Share regular status updates
Another great way to ensure you look active on LinkedIn is to post regular Status Updates.
It will help you not only look active and stay visible to others but also generate engagement and conversations with your connections.
9. Write in first person
No matter to whom you are selling, whether it’s a small business or a large company, the decision is made by a person. People connect with people, not brands.
For this reason, you should always write your About section in the first person.
Even though it is business-oriented, LinkedIn is still a social network, so don’t forget to be social. One way to do this is to write in the first person, not in the third person.
10. About section: credibility section
In the first couple of paragraphs, share a little bit about who you are, your story, why you do what you do and your background.
Mention accomplishments enhancing your credibility, such as media attention, publications, well-known clients, years of experience or anything else that makes you stand out. This establishes your credibility in what you do.
11. About section: ideal clients—problem—solution
Next, identify your ideal clients. You want to ensure that once your ideal clients land on your profile, they realize they need you and select to connect with you.
You achieve this by:
- being specific about the types of clients you work with
- speaking directly to them and their problems/challenges
- offering solutions to those challenges.
12. About section: call to action
Finally, have a clear call to action: tell your viewers (leads, prospects) what you want them to do next.
If you miss this part, they will be less likely to act after reading your profile. People often have the best of intentions when planning to follow up, yet they usually don’t.
Do you want them to call you or perhaps email you? Tell them exactly what they should do next.
13. About section: rich media
LinkedIn has a rich media feature that allows you to add videos, SlideShare presentations, and PDFs.
Adding multimedia to your About section makes your profile more visually appealing and provides viewers with more information about you.
14. Contact info: vanity URL
By default, LinkedIn will automatically create a URL for you. The URL will include your first name, dot, last name, forward slash, a series of numbers with a dash and another string of numbers.
A vanity URL replaces a random, full of letters and numbers, hard-to-remember link with a unique, simple and memorable link, like your name.
You should change the default URL to a vanity URL. If at all possible, select your name for your vanity URL. If your name is not available, try adding a middle initial or a designation at the end.
15. Contact info: websites
In your contact information, you can include your website.
Instead of leaving the default description of your website field as “Company Website,” customize it.
LinkedIn gives you three spots to include websites. If you have more than one website, include up to three of them in this section. If you have only one website, you can still take advantage of all three fields.
For example, one could go to your homepage, another to a service page, and a third to a landing page for a download you are offering. This will encourage people to visit the specific pages where you can provide more information about your business.
16. Contact info: email
Adding your email(s) to your contact info can make it easy for potential prospects to contact you.
Unfortunately, it can also make it easy for spammers to spam you. Thankfully, LinkedIn allows you to choose whether or not you wish to share your email.
17. Contact info: Twitter profile
If you have a Twitter account and are active on it, it is a great idea to include your Twitter handle. This allows people to easily check you out to learn more about you and contact you on Twitter, which is a more casual setting.
18. Your current experience
This section describes what you’re doing right now in your business or your current position. Just like with the About section, you have 2,000 characters to describe your current work experience. Make sure you make full use of them.
First, begin with a couple of paragraphs highlighting your company and showcasing your business’s credibility in your industry.
Share the most compelling information about your company here. You can also provide information that highlights the benefits clients receive when working with you.
Next, you could list the services you provide. This is another good spot for keyword optimization.
If you have well-known clients or brands you’ve worked with, include a list of them; otherwise, list the types of clients you work with.
19. Your current experience: add video
Like in your About section, add multimedia to your profile to make your profile more engaging and visually appealing while giving viewers the opportunity to learn more about you.
A great way to do this is by adding videos to your profile.
A video is very effective in humanizing you, helping you build trust and connect with your viewers. You can also include a product video, a company video or a testimonial video.
20. Your current experience: create sub-sections to highlight different services
If you offer multiple services or have more than one niche you want to highlight on your profile, you can create more than one experience section within your current position.
If you select the same start date for them or list them within one month of each other, LinkedIn will automatically group them together.
21. Your current experience: call to action
Lastly, in your Current Work Experience description, include a call to action.
You can use the same call to action you used in the About section, or a variation of it, and add it to the bottom of your Current Work Experience section.
22. Past experience
A complete and professional LinkedIn profile should include at least a few of your past positions.
Your Past Experience section does not require very detailed descriptions. However, to make your profile look complete and professional, include at least a short paragraph describing what you did in the past and any accomplishments you achieved during that time.
23. Volunteer experience
If it is relevant, add any volunteer experience you may have. Depending on the industry or situation, your volunteer experience can:
- add credibility to your claims of your skills
- count as experience
- and/or provide readers with more information about who you are and what is important to you.
24. Skills & endorsements
While the Skills section does not have the same weight and credibility as the Recommendations section, it will increase your level of social proof of your expertise and improve your search ranking.
Did you know that members who list their skills on their profiles receive up to 17 times more profile views than those who don’t? In addition, a high number of endorsements of your skills certainly enhances your social proof of them.
Recommendations are a vital part of establishing trust and building your authority and credibility on your profile. This is the most important form of social proof on LinkedIn.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from people you have worked with and who can speak to your expertise and results. Be sure to personalize your request and provide ideas of what you would like them to write about.
Watch this video on “How to get LinkedIn Recommendations.”
There are a number of different sections and categories located under Accomplishments. These areas can help ensure that your profile:
- looks professional and complete
- further establishes your credibility and authority
- helps your ideal clients to know, like and trustyou
One such section is Publications – an excellent place to showcase your authority on your topic.
In this section, include content or resources you have created that are of value to your ideal clients. These could include books, eBooks, reports, whitepapers or articles you have written.
27. Honors & awards
Adding any honors and awards you and your business have received is an excellent way to establish your authority and credibility.
Start LinkedIn marketing & social selling with a great LinkedIn profile
I hope you enjoyed this LinkedIn Profile infographic and that it will help you create a complete and professional LinkedIn profile.
Having a great profile is essential to successful LinkedIn marketing (especially if you are using it for social selling), and it will elevate your overall personal brand and help you make a great online impression.
Whether you are a business owner, salesperson, marketer, professional or executive, LinkedIn is one of the first places people will go to learn more about you. Take control of your personal brand and enhance your professional credibility by using the tips shared in this LinkedIn Profile infographic.
If you found this LinkedIn profile infographic helpful, please share it via social media to help others with their LinkedIn marketing efforts.
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