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How to Set Up and Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Did you know that the LinkedIn platform is a must for professional networking, including finding quality clients for your service-based business? If you’ve not set up your LinkedIn profile yet or have one that’s gathering cobwebs due to inactivity, you’ll want to read this post! I’m going to go over how you can set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile so you can attract the clients you want.

how to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile
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The Power of Connections

According to LinkedIn, they’re the “largest professional network with more than 610 million users in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.” With that many users, it can be difficult to bring attention to your brand.  So it’s super important to maximize your profile for maximum exposure.

When people search for you or your brand, they typically go to Google. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it will usually show up in the first three positions of the search results, and that’s where people will go to learn more about you. 

If your profile is slim or has been gathering dust since you first created it (years ago), it may not be making the right first impression for prospective clients. You want to have a profile that shows them who you are and precisely what you can do for them.

“To attract attractive people, you must be attractive, and to attract powerful people, you must be powerful. To attract committed people, you must be committed. Instead of going to work on them, you go to work on yourself. If you become, you can attract.” — Jim Rohn

So, how do you optimize your LinkedIn profile? It’s not as difficult as you may think. Let’s go over some strategies.

Related Post: Client-Getting Tips and Email Templates for Service Providers

 

First, Set Up Your Profile if you don’t have one yet

 

Optimize Your Profile

Having an optimized LinkedIn profile means your profile is updated to get you the most visibility from your target audience. 

The first seven seconds is all you get to wow a potential client when they land on your page. Just imagine that. Seven seconds for decision-makers to either reach out to you or pass your profile by.

Here are some advantages of having an optimized profile:

  • Attract recruiters and clients
  • Boost your professional reputation
  • Create trust
  • Develop relationships with decision makers

Also, if you sell digital products, it’s a fact that you’ll want to have a trust-worthy profile. It’s a proven fact that people only buy from those they trust.

 

Strategies and Tips for Sprucing Up Your Profile:

Make sure folks can find you! You should be building your LinkedIn network with your ideal clients, and people can get you to your ideal clients.  You want 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections or to share a LinkedIn Group, otherwise, you won’t show in search results.

Use searchable keywords and terms throughout your profile to be found by those looking for what you offer.

  1. Explain your “why”: Give your target audience a reason to look at and listen to you. Your story is what separates you from your competitors. Tell them what your purpose is, what drives you, and why you do what you do. Then let them know how you can help them individually.
  2. Create credibility: Your profile should make you look credible in the eyes of your potential clients. To do this, share recommendations from people who know you and have worked with you. You can also list articles or projects you’ve completed. Your experience and achievements can also help. Don’t be shy about showing off honors, awards, and recognition you’ve earned.
  3. Appeal to Your Ideal Client: Make sure your summary highlights precisely who your ideal client is and what you can do for them.
  4. The Call to Action: Tell readers what action to take next. Create a CTA to schedule a consultation with you, download a free resource, send you an email or call you or whatever it is you want them to do next.

 

Here’s What a Complete Profile Includes:

  • A professional looking profile photo
  • At least five skills
  • At least 50 connections
  • Your service industry and location
  • A current position with description
  • Two more past or present positions
  • Your Education

Not only do you want your LinkedIn profile to be strategically optimized, but you also want it to be free of grammar and spelling errors. Only list accurate and factual details on your profile. The last thing you want is to be considered a fraud – that would be devastating to your career.

 

Settings to Get You Seen

  1. Make a powerful first impression with your name and headline. Resist the urge to embellish your name with other keywords. LinkedIn discourages the use of anything except your name in the name field. Instead, focus on using a keyword specific headline. The headline field, along with your name, shows up in various places on LinkedIn.

Set up a creative and original headline that’s under 120 characters: This headline should, of course, explain what you do.

  • To edit the headline area, click on the Me icon on your LinkedIn home page.
  • Select “View Profile.”
  • On your profile page, click the pen or “edit” icon and put your content in the area for the headline.
  • Click “Save.”

How to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

Add a high quality, professional-looking headshot: this isn’t the place for your cute selfie or a picture of your pet 😉. Your image should be 400 by 400 pixels in size and visible to everyone.

  • Head to your profile and click on “Edit public profile and URL” found in the upper right corner. In the window that opens choose your visibility options. Choose “Public,” so you’ll be visible through search engines and other networks.

Select a high-quality background cover image that portrays something about you: Make it one that is personalized or shows what you do. You can create a background cover easily on free sites like Canva. The correct size for the background images is 1584 by 396 pixels.

  1. Your contact information is at the top of your LinkedIn profile. You’ll want to update this with your website or blog URL, your social media handles, and your phone number or email address.
  2. The summary section on your profile is where you describe your professional experience and expertise. You’re allowed several paragraphs to express yourself to prospective connections such as employers, customers, or clients. The summary section is your elevator pitch! How do you describe who you are and what you do when you meet someone in person? Write it down just like that in your summary.

You can also add media to the top of your profile –  be sure you add the ones you’re especially proud of to establish your expertise and message.

 

Here’s a template to help you fill out a complete summary that generates leads:
  • WHAT I / WE DO
  • WHO I / WE WORK WITH
  • HOW I / WE DO IT
  • WHY IT WORKS
  • WHAT MAKES ME DIFFERENT
  • WHAT OTHERS SAY:
  • AWARDS/PRESS
  • CALL TO ACTION?
Be Sure to:
  • Create a keyword-rich headline instead of leaving the default one provided by LinkedIn.
  • Make your contact information easy to find in your profile and summary sections.
  • Know who you’re targeting before you build your content.
  • Add the maximum of 50 skills and endorsements, putting your three most important skills first.
  • Populate every part of the profile section that pertains to you with content to support your brand.
  • Add a bit of personality to your brand story in the summary section.
  • Include plenty of white space in your profile to make it easy to read.
  • Use bullet points to highlight achievements, contributions, and awards.

 

Some Additional Tips

  • Customize your LinkedIn URL to make it easy for others to find you: Your unique URL is in the light-grey box below your name. The default setting includes numbers which can be hard to remember and share. Just click the “edit” button to change it. A clear custom URL would be www.linkedin.com/in/yourname.

How to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

  • Set your location and industry: This will allow your profile to display in searches of your field of expertise and your industry. Include a place and industry in your bio, so anyone reading it knows what your focus is and where you are based.
  • Include previous positions: You want your audience to see you have experience and always deliver on your promises. Your history tells your story.
  • Include recommendations: Recommendations are like testimonials. These descriptive comments from former or current colleagues are compelling content. Ask for them and give them freely to others.

Your profile is the first thing people will see when they come to your page. It needs to be optimized fully to stand out,

 

Recommendations

Once your profile is optimized, it’s time to get recommendations from your connections. Recommendations are LinkedIn’s version of testimonials and are attached to specific job experiences in your profile.

 

Asking for Recommendations

It’s best to ask for a variety of recommendations for specific skills or services you want to be known for. You can use the “request a recommendation” button for people you’re connected with on LinkedIn or email those you have worked with in the past if you (and you’re not yet connected on LinkedIn).

Be courteous and professional when you send an email asking for a LinkedIn recommendation, and make it easy for them to say yes. Always offer to return the favor. Respect their time and offer to write something they can edit. You could give them an idea of what you’re looking for within your recommendation, such as specific skills you used or the results you achieved for them.

Here’s how to request recommendations:
  1. Start from the requestee’s profile
  2. Click on the “More…” tab next to the blue message button at the top of their page
  3. click on the “Request a recommendation.”
  4. Fill out the form.

How to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

Don’t beat about the bush!

It’s best if you don’t use the default request for a recommendation format. Instead, write a sentence or two about the service you provided for them and the results and benefits they gained working with you.

Request a recommendation as soon as possible after completing a service while the results are still fresh in their mind. Be specific in what you want from them. LinkedIn will send you a notification that you have a recommendation you can accept to add to your profile.

LinkedIn recommendations are the testimonials that provide proof of others can trust you. They help others form opinions on you and how you can help them.

 

Attractive LinkedIn Headlines

Headlines are the 1 to 3 lines under your name and are possibly the most important area of your LinkedIn profile.

So how do you write LinkedIn headlines that get noticed?

  1. Start by searching for other people in your industry on LinkedIn to find fresh examples of what their headline looks like but make your headline your own.
  2. Dig deep and think about how those you are targeting would think.  What do you think they want to see? What words would they likely be searching for in a provider?
  3. Select a few sentences from your resume that best describes what you offer and condense them into a compelling headline sentence.
  4. Always update your headline as you advance in your career and things change.
Try this formula to make your headline stand out:

Job title/company + Relevant Keywords + Eye-catching statement about you/Something about you that makes others want to get to know you/personality

  1. Include your job title, of course, as it shows relevancy to searchers. But you want to build your headline from there to make it stand out.
  2. Use the right keywords and phrases that relate to your profession, your industry, and describe you as a specialist. What terms or phrases do people use to search on LinkedIn to find you? Try to use several of those in your headline.
  3. The final element in the equation is the eye-catching statement that will grab attention. It should be creative and memorable. Focus on how you do what you do. What makes your work special? What value do you offer?  Use as many words as possible to make your LinkedIn headline standout.
Here’re a few tips for writing your headline:
  • (Your role) helping (who) do (what).  Begin with your job title and continue by explaining what types of companies you work with then what you do for them.
  • List your area of focus or your credentials. List the type of work you do, awards you’ve received or your accomplishments. Separate them with commas, pipes, or bullets.
  • If possible, combine both your focus and your credentials.
  • You can let your personality shine by telling a brief story about you, your work style, or how you helped others.

 

Here’s an example to help you think creatively:

LinkedIn Trainer (Trevor Turnbull):

how to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

There’re tools and templates available to help get you started if you’re having trouble coming up with something unique – see the end of this post for awesome resources.

The headline is one of the most critical sections in your LinkedIn profile. Along with your image, it’s what people see when they search. The best LinkedIn headlines are the ones that engage, surprise, or stand out in some way. Make sure yours does too!

 

Advanced Strategies Profile View

So far, you’ve set up your basic profile and started doing a few tweaks to make it stand out. Now let’s look at some more advanced strategies you can employ to boost views:

Add media. There’re a variety of places you can add articles, videos, slideshows, images, and graphics to your profile. One area is the summary section. Another place is under your job sections. Add links to your YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations, or any other type of media.

Cover image:

We talked a little about your cover image above. A cover image is optional, but it’s a great place to show off your branding. Create custom branding for yourself by creating a graphic that includes your branding or message. You can easily create a LinkedIn cover image using any graphics software such as Canva.

Keep in mind what your objective is when you create your cover image. Is it to brand your company or industry? Are you offering a benefit, appealing to a pain point or social proof? Are you wanting them to do something specific by having a call to action?

Stay active:

LinkedIn prioritizes people who are keen on the platform, so it’s essential to get and stay active.

  • Connect, connect, connect: On your “My Network” tab, look for recommendations for people you can connect with. Sync your email contacts to your LinkedIn account to find people you know.
  • Join Groups: Using LinkedIn’s search bar, type your interest(s) to find groups to join. On the results page, filter your results by groups. Request an invite to join, and be sure to add new posts and comments when you join.
  • Post comments and updates: Share links to helpful articles you’ve read or seen. Post career lessons or tips. Comment on people’s post in your network. Ask questions. 
  • Write articles and share on the platform: Write full blog posts on LinkedIn to boost your visibility. It’s easy to publish by clicking on the “Write an article” button below your update box on your homepage.
Be Available:

Let others know you’re actively looking for work. On your dashboard, click on the section “Let recruiters know you’re open” and turn this option to “on.” You can write a note for recruiters, specify the type of work you’re looking for, and add locations on the next screen.

Even with the basic profile set up, you need to have a way to get yourself in front of potential clients, so use these advanced strategies to optimize your profile to bring more views.

 

Resources

Businesses run smoother when you use available resources to make quick work of specific tasks. Here’s a short list of resources you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

Headline creators

 

Graphic and image resources
  • Pixabay is a free image source where you can get high-quality pictures
  • Canva is an easy-to-use graphics program that offers LinkedIn cover templates.

 

Content curation
  • Pocket.com has a feature that allows you to curate content based on specific topics that are high-quality and credible.
  • Feedly.com is a simple way to keep up with content that interests you. You can send the content directly to Buffer or share it there and then to your social profiles.

 

Ready to set up or update your profile?

Setting up your profile may seem like a ton of work, but it isn’t if you think of it as writing or updating your resume/CV. Make an outline of what you want to include on your profile before you begin, and you can use the template in this post as a guide or sign up and grab my detailed checklist:

 

Remember, your LinkedIn profile is the first thing people see when you show up in searches, so it’s vital that your profile is optimized fully and they get a fantastic first impression. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn!

how to set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

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How to Set Up and Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile