A professional network spanning 200 countries and hosting over 830 million members, LinkedIn has become the hub for all things professional. Whether you are searching for a new job, an employer looking to hire, promoting your services, finding leads for your business, sharing industry insights or celebrating professional milestones like a new job or promotion, LinkedIn is the go-to platform.
However, starting out and finding your feet in the world of LinkedIn can be overwhelming. What we see often with our clients is a clear drive to get their voice out there on LinkedIn, mixed with the fear and uncertainty of what that actually entails. Many people want to start refining their personal brand and growing their network on LinkedIn, but simply don’t know where to start.
So, here are the best tips you need to know for starting out on LinkedIn, all tried and tested by our expert PR team.
Optimise your LinkedIn personal profile
Yes, you’ve probably seen this one before, but that’s because it really is essential in 2022. It’s no use having a great content strategy or writing great copy if your profile looks like spam. Use this checklist to optimise your LinkedIn profile:
Complete all sections of your profile
The first thing to do is make sure that all sections of your profile are complete. This includes filling out information on your work experience and your education.
Link to your company profile
Make sure that you’ve connected your LinkedIn profile to your company’s business page. This will help people find you and your organisation organically and make networking easier.
Include a professional profile picture
To stand out on LinkedIn, you need a great profile pic. Let’s be clear: when we say ‘a professional profile picture’, we mean one where you look professional, not necessarily one that is professionally taken. A mobile phone selfie is fine, as long as it’s a close up of your face and you’re smiling.
Bonus tip: did you know that you can also add a profile video to your LinkedIn profile? A snappy 30 second video can show off your personality or skills and is an excellent way to help you stand out from everyone else on the platform.
Add a great banner image
You can upload a cover photo to your LinkedIn profile, so use this to your advantage. A personalised banner makes your LinkedIn profile stand out and is an opportunity to promote the company brand, so consider talking to your company about branded banners.
If you’re still looking for work, don’t stress! Editing platforms like Canva allow you to add your contact details onto your profile banner image.
Other options for personalising this banner is adding an eye-catching background photo, including your relevant social media handles, or quoting a testimonial from a client.
Any of these options add visual interest to your profile and help it catch the eye of recruiters or clients, so why not spend a few minutes adding an attractive banner?
Use a catchy headline
Your headline is all about grabbing attention and keeping visitors on your LinkedIn page… within 3 seconds! There’s no need for your headline to be the job title your employer gave you — get creative and find the phrase that best sums up your personal brand.
There are different ways to go about writing a good headline, and we suggest some trial and error. However, what we have found works is when your headline:
- Showcases your unique value proposition
- Includes keywords relevant to your line of work, helping potential clients find you
- Includes who you are targeting and what you will do for them
- Is written as though you are targeting a new client
Especially if you are wanting LinkedIn to become your key lead generation tool, having a headline that tells people very clearly how you can help them is a sure-fire way to get the attention of potential clients.
And, don’t forget to make sure the most important keywords are at the beginning of the headline — only the first 60 characters of the headline will be shown when you comment on posts!
Add an interesting personal summary
Don’t forget to fill out your summary. This is a great way to expand on your headline and experience and tell your story in your own words. What are your skills? What is your mission in life? What do you care about? Here’s the place to explain who you really are.
Edit your URL
Lastly, on the top right of your profile, click “Edit public profile and URL” to change your URL from the automatic assigned URL to your name. A simple custom URL just looks better and is a great way to help people (clients, recruiters, future employers, etc.) find you more easily.
Don’t just treat your LinkedIn profile as your online CV
A mistake we see too often is people using their profile as a second CV. Boring profiles, little evidence of networking and engagement with other users, summaries and headlines stuffed with meaningless keywords… you’ve probably seen these types of profiles before.
However, if you only use LinkedIn as an extension of your resumé, you’re never going to have a great LinkedIn profile. The next few tips on this list will help you get more out of the platform and improve your profile as a result.
Use LinkedIn to network thoughtfully
It’s easy to click the ‘connect’ button on every LinkedIn user who pops up your feed; it’s harder to build and maintain a network of the right people.
One mistake that many people make is trying to connect with everyone, leaving their feed clogged with content and updates that simply aren’t relevant. LinkedIn isn’t a popularity contest – our advice is to make sure you’re networking only with the people who are relevant to you.
Moreover, too many people think that they only need to use LinkedIn to promote themselves, forgetting that the platform can be an excellent way to learn new things and engage with a wide range of perspectives.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, we recommend following diverse individuals and thought leaders who provide valuable insights and advice about your industry or mission. These people will inspire you and introduce you to new perspectives that can prove valuable.
And, keep in mind that your recent activity on LinkedIn will appear at the top of your profile. You never know when a recruiter, possible client, or future employer will take a look at your LinkedIn engagement, so it makes sense to use LinkedIn in a way that will highlight your interests and passions.
Keep your endorsements relevant
LinkedIn endorsements allow other users to provide a recommendation of your skills in a certain area. Start by identifying some people to give a genuine and accurate endorsement to. For example, former colleagues or people in your network you’ve worked closely with. Often, these people will return the favour, or will be happy to provide their recommendation after a polite request.
But, remember: you don’t need to keep every endorsement on your profile. If well-meaning co-workers have endorsed you for skills that do not match the emphasis of your profile, for example as a result of a career change, you can hide these from your profile.
Don’t over optimise your LinkedIn profile
There’s a lot of advice on the internet telling you to stuff your LinkedIn profile full of keywords. We disagree. Sure, add some of the most important keywords into your headline and summary to help with SEO, but make sure that it still sounds natural and human.
At the end of the day, you want your profile to reflect who you are as a person. A boring, over-optimised profile full of keywords won’t do you any favours.
Take advantage of the ‘featured’ section
Your LinkedIn profile has a featured section which can highlight whatever media you want to include. You might choose to include your most successful posts, a link to your website, or photos or videos. These are one of the first things that a potential recruiter or client will see on your profile, so make the most of this space!
Use LinkedIn as part of your routine
Success on LinkedIn does not happen by magic (sadly!). It requires time, energy and effort. We recommend starting with a 30 minute brainstorming session at the beginning of each month, followed by 10 minutes every morning. You don’t have to plan out everything ahead of time, but write down some potential topics that interest you.
In your 10 minute sessions, make new connections, comment, share and engage with others, or share industry news. Your posts can include a mixture of general commentary, announcements, thoughts and value-add pieces for your target audience.
Here are some prompts for your LinkedIn posts:
- What are you working on or preparing for?
- What are you looking forward to? (for example, an event or presentation)
- What are some of your key takeaways from an event or webinar you recently attended?
- What piece of content or thought leadership has inspired you and why?
- Do you have a question about a recent piece of industry-specific news?
LinkedIn requires commitment and consistency, but the time and energy you put into it will reap rewards. We hope this article gives you the boost of confidence you need to get started on your LinkedIn journey – you’ve got this!
Want expert help with your personal branding on LinkedIn? Naked Truth can help.
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