For many of us, our LinkedIn accounts have become incredibly neglected over the years. Sure, we have one. Sure, we use it on occasion but we’re certainly not falling all over it like we do Facebook and Twitter. Not only is this a mistake personally, but it doesn’t do anything for your business or brand. LinkedIn has been proven again and again to deliver more and better qualified leads than any other social network. On top of that, the networking implications are huge. It’s your direct rolodex to millions of others in the business community.
It’s time to give your profile an overhaul so that you can benefit from all that LinkedIn has to offer.
1.) Privacy Settings
You’d think this would go without saying, but what’s the point of having a LinkedIn profile if all of your information and updates are private? LinkedIn – at its core – is a site designed to share your qualifications and thoughts with others in the business world. Keep the information flowing.
2.) Complete Your Profile
Once again, this begs the question, what’s the point? If you don’t have everything listed on your LinkedIn profile (school, past employment, current employment, a strong headline, a picture, etc.) why bother? Ensure that you’ve completed all that you can within your profile to get the maximum benefit. Remember, LinkedIn is very search-driven, both on-site and off. If you don’t have the information people are looking for, you’re just getting passed over.
3.) Vanity URL
Claim it. I read recently that hiring managers for Internet marketing-related job searches have a tendency to pass on people who don’t take the simple step of claiming their vanity URLs. It makes sense. It’s an easy step that helps to brand your profile and those that overlook it might overlook equally simple tasks on the job.
4.) Add a Photo
Just like attending networking events, it’s always important to put on a smile and put your best foot forward. You wouldn’t want to network with someone with a bag on their head (actually you might – interesting), so why wouldn’t you give people a chance to see who they’re talking to, recommending, sharing content with, considering for a job, etc.?
5.) Connect Additional Profiles
The URL field allows up to three additional websites to be added. This is obviously a great place to put a link to your personal or company website and relevant social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
6.) Be Descriptive
“Internet Marketing” is a broad term. Tell me what you’re good at. Tell me not just what your job title is, but also what your responsibilities are.
6.) Keyword Optimize
Like I said earlier, LinkedIn is very search-driven. If people are looking for other Content Marketers, they tend to search things like “content marketing” using the on-site search feature. If you use sloppy keywords in your titles and descriptions, you might be passed over next time INC. magazine comes looking for a quote from a Content Marketing Manager at a digital agency.
Just like all things in life, don’t overdo it. This isn’t 2002 “meta” SEO. You are looking to be as descriptive as possible without dumping keywords.
Get them. Not only do they show that you are proficient at what you do but according to some sources, the number of positive endorsements might improve your positioning when people use the on-site search feature.
8.) Expand Your Network
Don’t go sending requests to connect with thousands of people you don’t know, but if you legitimately think you have some thing to offer, or a good chance to network and befriend someone – go for it! This isn’t Facebook, and generally people don’t care about your number of “friends” (connections), so don’t think this is a popularity contest. Your connections are those that you have networked in the past, or hope to network with in the future. Keep that in mind.
9.) Use Anchor Text in Links
I’d imagine that 98%+ of all the profiles on LinkedIn either don’t realize you can use anchored links, or don’t know enough about SEO to even consider the idea. Here’s news for you, you can indeed anchor your links if you use the “other” option when adding one of the three links LinkedIn allows you to connect to your profile. For example, instead of selecting the option “company website,” select “other” and then enter whatever text you’d like. You’re welcome.
10.) Groups are for Friends
Remember when I was talking about expanding your network without being the creepy guy that just goes around inviting random people (that they’ll never meet) to connect? This is a much less creepy way to do that. Join a group and meet others that are interested in the same topics as you.
11.) Better Yet, Start a Group
There’s no better way to position yourself as an expert – or your company as an industry leader – than to create your very own group. Just know, if you start one of these, it’s up to you to fill it and give people a reason to keep coming around.
12.) You’re Not Good at Everything
When adding skills, remember, you’re not good at everything. If an employer or potential business partner uses your LinkedIn profile to gauge your proficiency in a specific skill, they’ll be severely disappointed once they find out your proficiency in Adobe Illustrator really means that you (basically) know how to open an AI file and resize it. List your skills, and be honest. Nobody is good at everything, and you’re no exception.
13.) Remain Professional
Remember, this is a professional network. This isn’t a place to post pictures of you doing keg stands over the weekend. There are other social networks that are much better suited for that. You don’t have to be stuffy, but don’t stray too far from the persona that people want to do business with.
LinkedIn has its own timeline, groups and the ability to comment on and/or share just about anything. Take advantage of it. Make your profile something people derive value from.
15.) Connect via Welcome Message
Personalized welcome messages go a long way when you’re attempting to connect with someone new, or answering responses from people that are trying to connect with you. Remember, LinkedIn is a giant networking event. Shake some hands.
16.) Be Consistent
LinkedIn happens to be amongst the bottom when it comes to social networks people spend the most time on. You don’t have to live on the site, but update it semi-regularly, especially when you switch jobs, positions or gain more skills.
17.) Check Stats
Basic users can see the last few people that visited their profile and the number of times you’ve appeared in search results over the past 90 days. Premium subscribers have access to even more data. Use it. Find out if what you’re posting, sharing or contributing is leading to more or less views. See who’s viewing your profile and offer them the opportunity to connect.
18.) Use a URL Shortener
I like using URL shorteners – like Bit.ly – because I’m quantitative by nature. Several URL shorteners have fairly in-depth analytics packages (even on free accounts) that allow you to see how many times your links are clicked, shared, etc. I use this as a tool to see what I’m sharing that’s connecting with my audience. This helps me to target my approach so that I reach more people.
19.) Set up a Company Page
Setting up a company pages has SEO benefits, has the potential to help your business attract more leads from on-site search and it just makes your business “feel” and look more professional. It only takes a few minutes. Set it up and encourage those that work with you to use it.
Answering questions on Quora? Try answering them as a LinkedIn status update and link to it from Quora. Wrote a blog post on LinkedIn? Great, share it on Twitter. The more eyes you get your name in front of, the more memorable you become. Start promoting social networks with other social networks and you’d be amazed at just how many people you reach.
Guest Author: Devin Kostrzewski is an Search Marketing expert and professional in backlink outreach/acquisition. Devin began his career in SEO while in college and now serves as the Director of Accounts at Spread Effect, a leader in the link building industry. Spread Effect helps SEO agencies and in-house marketing teams scale their outreach and publishing campaigns by leveraging their vast publisher database and knowledge of the SEO industry. You can find Devin on twitter @dmak_11, Linkedin, or Google+.