Before filling out your profile and creating a company profile, take a minute or two to write down a few words and phrases that you want to connect to your profile. Keywords, i.e. graphic design, real estate, electrician, programmer, etc. are great. LinkedIn works like Google in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and your LinkedIn profile is searchable on other search engines. The more places you can put the words that define you and your business, the better.
- Upload a picture of yourself (headshot of you smiling).
- Define your “Professional Headline” (essentially your elevator speech, truncated) – this will show up next to your name everywhere on LinkedIn. It is a great place to tell people what you do. Also keep in mind this is a great place to plug in some of those keywords and phrases. Avoid titles like ‘Owner’ and try to use a description of how you add value or what you do. Think about what you have to offer, what makes you unique, what value you bring and how you can help. You have a unique advantage with the amount of experience you have in your own business, highlight that if you like. It is always easy to change so don’t worry about getting it absolutely perfect the first time.
- Be sure to include a link to your website under the websites section. You can change the ‘title of the website’ that shows up on your profile. Often times people won’t change that and all you will see is a link to “website.” Edit the ‘name’ and call it something like “Aspen Grove Marketing Website.” Something more descriptive.
- Public Profile Section (just below where you list your website – click ‘edit’)– this is the section that allows you to change your ‘privacy settings.’ Your LinkedIn profile is searchable on LinkedIn as well as other search engines. I have mine pretty open because I want to show up in searches and I want people to be able to see what I have done and my recommendations even if they aren’t connected to me. This section also allows you to choose a custom URL. Take a look through this section and while you are here, get a custom URL as well (i.e. http://www.linkedin.com/in/amyalcorn).
- Summary – similar to an executive summary of your resume. Tell the world who you are and what you can do. Outline your professional niche, highlight unique skills. This is more about you and your skills where the position description can be more about your work and success stories etc.
- Specialties – this is a great place to plug in keywords and showcase your ‘specialties’.
- Add positions like you would in your resume. Fill out the position descriptions fully and try to include some of the keywords and phrases. Think about what you would tell a potential client. A little more than an elevator speech but not a novel. Highlight success stories or problems solved as well.
- Connections – It is good to work on growing these. ***When you send connection requests or ask for recommendations, ALWAYS personalize the message. DO NOT leave the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” bit that LinkedIn pre-populates for you. If is it someone you may not know as well, tell them how you know them and why you would like to connect.
- Start asking for more recommendations. You don’t have to get 50 right now, just ask for a couple now and a couple in another month or so. You want to have fresh recommendations. (at least some within the last 6 months). Always personalize the request. Do not leave it the standard that LinkedIn puts in. If you feel comfortable with it you can give them some ideas or guidelines about what you are looking to highlight.
- Use your status updates to let people know what you are doing and if you are looking for partners, members, or clients etc. These are your professional connections and this is the place to leverage them.
These steps will get you started. Continue to check in on your LinkedIn profile and keep it up to date as well as continually work to grow your connections and recommendations.
Click on ‘Companies’ in the main navigation bar on the right side. Under the search window, you will see a link to ‘Add a company.” Click this and follow the directions. You will first have to submit that you would like to create one and they will verify your email address. Once the email address is verified, you can start populating. Remember to use your keywords and fill out descriptions of products/services fully.
Quick Tip – once you have setup your company profile, go back to your personal profile and click ‘edit’ next to your current position. Retype your company name and it should populate a drop down box that you can choose your company from. This will put a direct link from your personal profile to your company profile. Pretty nifty!
I hope this was helpful and as always, if you have any additional questions along the way let me know.
~Amy Alcorn, of Aspen Grove Marketing