As the world’s largest professional network–it has more than 400 million members–LinkedIn is one of the best locations to market your business, network to find new opportunities, and land clients.
I like to think of LinkedIn as your online résumé and one of the first places that someone goes before meeting you in person.
Because of the power that LinkedIn possesses, it’s vital that you stand out there by having a top-notch page that showcases your talents, expertise, and personality. You can actually accomplish this feat by implementing the following seven tweaks.
1. Optimize your profile
This should be a no-brainer, yet it’s an area that remains commonly overlooked. The best place to start is by completely filling out every section of your profile, having an updated and professional-looking photograph, and a unique headline that briefly describes why you’re so awesome.
Besides those basic tips, complete your summary so that it highlights your experiences, qualifications, and anything that sets you apart from everyone else. Don’t forget to keep this information up to date.
Finally, keep your profile name clean. Just because you have the option to add your email or phone number doesn’t mean that you should include them. And, while you’re here, go snag your vanity URL so that you’ll be easier to find–it’s also handy when you print out new business cards.
If you need to edit or update your profile, check out LinkedIn’s help to guide you through the process.
2. Add media
LinkedIn gives you the ability to add a number of graphs and other visual media onto your profile. Since we all love visual content, this is a small task that could give your LinkedIn page a major boost.
I briefly mentioned your profile image. If you’re a business owner, you could simply use your logo. Just switch it up every now and then, such as adding some holiday flare to be festive. If using a headshot, keep it as professional as possible. Dress appropriately, be aware of your surroundings, use the right angle, and rely on natural light.
You can also add banner images that contain links and call-to-action buttons. There’s also integration with YouTube, so you can share a video that demonstrates your talents or introduces you to your fellow LinkedIn users.
3. Use anchor texts and keywords
Instead of using the generic, default links that LinkedIn provides, customize the anchor text. For example, instead of “blog,” make it more appealing and SEO-friendly by using “Jim’s Content Marketing Blog.”
Besides the keywords used in your anchor text, you can also sprinkle in relevant keywords throughout your entire profile. This will help your page get noticed on search engines and even in LinkedIn’s internal search feature.
When compiling a list of keywords, start searching LinkedIn for any words that describe what you do or your industry. If you are a digital marketing strategist, then search that term and examine the profiles that appear. What keywords are constantly appearing?
You can also use Google’s Keyword Tool to collect suggestions on the keywords that your profile should be using.
Word to the wise: Don’t overdo it with keywords. Repeating the same keyword over and over isn’t going to give you an edge. Consider using secondary keywords to avoid keyword stuffing.
4. Become an author
With LinkedIn Pulse, anyone on LinkedIn can publish content. That doesn’t mean that you should share a poorly written article that regurgitates that same boring content that users have read a million times before. It should be an outside-of-the-box and thought-provoking article that demonstrates your knowledge and authority on a subject or industry. Other ideas would be anything concerning industry trends or sharing your research with the LinkedIn community.
Once you have a killer article published, the traction it receives can give your profile, and your brand, a significant boost.
Even if you don’t have anything worthy to share, you can still engage and interact with LinkedIn users by commenting or sharing their content. This is a great way to find clients that I personally have used.
5. Edit your public settings
This is another no-brainer, but again, it can easily get overlooked. Since you want people to discover you, make sure to head into Account Setting and find the Privacy & Settings option. Once there, click Manage, and then Edit Your Public Profile so that anyone can see your public profile. This will give visitors the chance to view any awards you have received or recent articles you’ve written.
6. Gather recommendations
LinkedIn describes recommendations as “a comment written by a LinkedIn member to recognize or commend a colleague, business partner, or student. Visitors to your profile often view the recommendations you’ve received to see what others have to say about your work.” While these are useful in selling yourself to a potential employer or client, having 10 to 15 recommendations can improve your profile’s search ranking.
When asking for a recommendation, you should create a bulleted list that contains information such as your skills, strengths, and services you provide. You can even put your recommendations into a PDF and place it in your Summary.
7. Join and participate in groups, strategically
Joining a LinkedIn Group is one of the best ways to expand your network. But they can also improve the SEO of your profile, since the groups you’re a part of will appear in your profile as well.
You’re allowed to join 50 groups, which should be a blend of your competitors’ groups, as well your industry’s, and your prospects’ industries’; geo-located groups; and a large amount of groups for CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, etc.
LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to build brand authority and grow your business, especially once the group takes off.
Once you find quality groups, don’t hesitate to shamelessly plug your content, but also don’t forget to engage in discussions and reciprocate the favor by sharing others’ content as well.