Target your LinkedIn profile
With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is the largest, most powerful professional networking tool in your arsenal. Unfortunately, many of those users aren't accessing the full potential of the platform to seek out specific groups of people. At SocialMatters it's our mission to supercharge your sales pipeline or job hunt through LinkedIn. Here are our expert tips for building a targeted LinkedIn profile that works for you!
Know your audience (Who are you trying to reach?): As professionals, we are almost always looking for something. Whether you are looking for a new customer, business partner, or your next career opportunity, think about what your target audience is looking for, and tailor your profile to them.
Target your skills and endorsements: If you're anything like me, when you first made your LinkedIn profile you added every skill you could reasonably claim. Believe it or not, having 20+ skills listed probably isn't helping you, and it could even be hurting you. Having too many skills listed can make it hard for visitors to your profile to understand which skills you would really like to highlight. Narrowing down your list of skills and endorsements gives a tighter, more well-defined picture of what you are doing now, and what you would like to do in the future.
Curate your Groups: Groups are one of the most important, and often overlooked features of LinkedIn. Through carefully targeting your Groups, you can, at a glance, show possible clients or employers where you're actively networking with other people in your industry. Additionally, being in the same group as someone you would like to network with can make a great intro!
Follow the right people: Just like joining the right Groups. Following thought leaders in your targeted area of interest can act as a great intro message.Example: I loved what Gary was talking about in the latest episode of the Ask GaryVee Show.
Update your profile pic and cover photo: Humans are visual beings. Almost universally we respond better to online communications when we can place a face with a message. Having a good professional headshot can quite often be the differentiating factor between making a connection or not. In addition, having a cover image subtly shows possible connections that you are a detail oriented person! If you show that you pay attention to the little things on LinkedIn, how much more will you pay attention to the little things for an employer or client?
Write a great summary: All too often the summary section is a simple list of bullet points, or even worse is completely empty! The summary section of your profile is your chance to tell people the story, and mission statement behind your personal brand. It allows you to tell your potential clients and employer who you are, and why you're awesome, outside of the simple chronology of your career. Finally, it gives you the chance to be slightly less formal. Don't be afraid of talking about how your hobbies have affected you for the better professionally!
Top tip: Avoid writing in the third person at all costs!
Update your profile headline: When you add a new position, LinkedIn automatically adds it as your new profile headline. Now, that isn't a bad thing, but your headline can be so much more! You can use the headline like a mini summary which will be one of the first things people see when you send a message, or appear in a search. Like with a summary, don't be afraid to be a little less formal.Example: Andrew Epps Entrepreneur, Networker, Problem solver, and Social media marketing ninja!
Use the "experience" section to tell a story: LinkedIn can be used like your resume, but it is not a resume. Quite often resumes are dry, boring bullet pointed lists of titles and buzzwords. This has no place on your LinkedIn profile. Instead, use your Experience section to tell stories about how you created value at your past employer.
Publish or share content through LinkedIn: Publishing your own content, or at least sharing content that is relevant to both you and your target audience can be one of the best tools to show off your competency, and highlight commonality in interest with your potential employer or client.
Don't forget your accomplishments: Accomplishments can be a great way to highlight projects you have completed that were professional in nature, but not related to your 9 to 5. Example: I gave a 40-minute talk on how marketing through social media and storytelling can revolutionize small agribusinesses lead generation at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, TX.
When properly used, each of these tactics can work together to help you to turn your LinkedIn profile into the beating heart of your digital paper trail, targeting the specific group of people with whom you want to build connections.
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