LinkedIn is a great social media platform for professionals. But, you may not be connecting to who you would like to. The following are six simple steps to consider to give that first impression a tune up:
- Revisit Your Goals. At its most basic level, LinkedIn is about marketing: marketing your company, your experience and your professional associations. Take a moment to think about your goals and convert them into a language of keywords. Keywords are how people find you on LinkedIn. Suggestion: Don’t just whip out a keyword for the sheer purpose of doing so. Go a step further and think about words that have meaning in your industry. Use a keyword tool to find general terms that could attract a broader audience, then dig deeper to target your niche by identifying keywords that industry insiders may search for.
- Layer In Your Keywords. The headline is a key factor in search results, so pick you most important keyword and make sure it appears in your headline. Then, work through the rest of your profile and replace some of the vague descriptions of skills, experience and educational background with keywords.
- Strip Out The Clutter. The average person has changed jobs six to eight times before they reach age 30. Sift through your profile and weed out or streamline anything that doesn’t support your business or professional goals. If you’re currently a Project Manager but once worked in the commercial collections, a comprehensive listing of your collections background is distracting.
- Add In Some Personality. Focusing on keywords and eliminating clutter is important, but in the process your individuality may get lost. Be sure to add a bit of enthusiasm and flair by sharing what you love to do. Describe what you hope to accomplish and list all current volunteer activities that have the most significance to your life. Remember, it’s easier to connect with people than it is with just keywords.
- Take A Good Look At Your Profile Photo. A picture is a little like your own personal logo. On it’s own, an awesome photo won’t win business, but a bad photo can definitely lose business. A good photo flatters but doesn’t mislead. The goal is for your picture to reflect how you will look when you meet a customer, not how you looked at some killer party. The best photo strikes a balance between professionalism and approachability, making you look good but also real.
- Get Recommendations. Most of us can’t resist reading testimonials, even when we know those testimonials were probably solicited. So, ask for recommendations of your work, and offer to provide recommendations before you’re asked. The best way to build great connections is to always be the one who gives first.
Remember, success in using LinkedIn is incremental. It is the classic snowball effect: You start small, roll forward, pick up steam, grow exponentially and become an unstoppable force. It all springs from and can be traced back to that first and seemingly insignificant element, thought or action – something you observed, an idea you generated or how you responded. On LinkedIn, there is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time.