LinkedIn has rapidly become a legitimate professional networking and recruiting tool for the business-minded. Often pegged as the “facebook for business”, this networking site is much more than that name suggests. According to the Wall Street Journal, “LinkedIn Corp.'s (LNKD) fourth-quarter earnings soared as the professional-networking site's revenue more than doubled”. This information is not surprising considering (as shown by this Infographic) that LinkedIn’s current membership estimates are numbered at 100 million.
Furthermore in 2010, executives from every Fortune 500 company could be found on LinkedIn while there were approximately 2 billion people searches done via the site. Wow! So while LinkedIn at its core remains a recruiting tool it has noticeably evolved into an online community where professionals interconnect, share, and recommend information to their industry peers. In other words: it’s a marketer’s dream resource.
Many businesses and job-seekers indeed are jumping on the LinkedIn bandwagon. So how should one market themselves or their company on LinkedIn? This Inc.com article outlines 6 basic steps to crafting a more marketable LinkedIn profile:
- Revamp your goals. “At its most basic level LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company or marketing yourself. But that focus probably got lost as you worked through the mechanics of completing your profile, and what started as a marketing effort turned into a resume completion task. Who you are isn’t as important as what you hope to accomplish, so think about your goals and convert your goals into keywords, because keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn.”
- Weave in your keywords. “The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick your most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. ‘Most important’ doesn’t mean most searched, though; if you provide services to a highly targeted market the keyword in your headline should reflect that niche. Then work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience, and educational background with keywords. Your profile isn’t a term paper so don’t worry about a little repetition. A LinkedIn search scans for keywords, and once on the page, so do people.”
- Clean up the clutter. “If you’re the average person you changed jobs six or eight times before you reached age 30. That experience is only relevant when it relates to your current goals. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline everything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Web designer but were an accountant in a previous life, a comprehensive listing of your accounting background is distracting. Keep previous jobs in your work history, but limit each to job title, company, and a brief description of duties.”
- Keep it personal. “Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality probably got lost. Now you can put it back and add a little enthusiasm and flair. Describing yourself as, ‘A process improvement consultant with a Six Sigma black belt,’ is specific and targeted but also says nothing about you as a person—and doesn’t make me think, ‘Hey, she would be great to work with.’”
- How professional is your profile photo? “Say someone follows you on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do? Check out their photo. A photo is a little like a logo: On its own an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business.”
- Recommendations. “Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. Recommendations add color and depth to a LinkedIn profile, fleshing it out while avoiding any, ‘Oh jeez will this guy ever shut up about himself?’ reactions. So ask for recommendations, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked.”
So whether you’re a recent graduate marketing yourself or an established business looking to expand your social engagement, follow these steps and soon you’ll be on your way to a LinkedIn success story!