June 1, 2014

LinkedIn: 4 Small Business Must-Have’s for Your Profile

For some, the social networking site LinkedIn is just an online rolodex or resume site. Yet, unknown to many, LinkedIn is actually a B2B powerhouse used by a vast network of influential decision makers. It can really help you advance your career or business if you know the tools and can take the time to use it consistently.  But, first, it’s essential to set the stage for success – especially for the small business owner looking to make a splash. Here are four ways to do just that.

A PHOTO is a MUST. It’s critical to include a headshot or brand-relevant photo that can be seen when others view your profile and updates. Be sure the photo is recent (within three years) and avoid shots that lack professionalism like those that include your dog, your kids or your lingerie (yes, believe it or not they’re out there).  That said, a headshot is fantastic but don’t be afraid to have fun with your brand while maintaining professionalism. The ideal sizes for a photo are between 200px by 200px and 500px by 500px, but you can make adjustments if it’s larger.

LinkedIn

Include a strong headline. A headline is similar to your job title. It should be accurate and keyword-laden. It should also list your company.  Some folks list multiple titles, which is fine as long as all of them represent your business.   Avoid getting to creative with titles like ‘inventing solutions.’ Most people searching for specific contacts aren’t searching for creative titles. Below are two examples of accurate titles.

LinkedIn

Write an engaging summary. A summary is what gives pop to your profile and makes it more than a resume. The keys here are to personalize, humanize and summarize.  Write the summary in first person (Using “I” when referring to yourself) but be professional.  Keep it conversational by telling a story if you can. Mention your experience and your goals. It’s never a bad idea to share how you help your customers or clients. Below is an example of one of my favorite summaries. Erin tells a story and ties it into her experience, her goals and how she helps her clients.

LinkedIn profile

Include your skills. You have the opportunity to include up to 50 skills. I recommend including as many as you can and to be as detailed as possible. For example, I use both social media marketing and social media consulting, rather than simply “social media.” Be sure the items you list represent the skills you want to be ‘endorsed’ for as skills with the highest number of endorsements will rank at the top.

LinkedIn

These four tips are an essential starting point for building your business brand. Next week, I’ll dig into some ways to maximize your efforts on the channel.

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