LinkedIn Profile Essentials
By: Nikki Little
The Six Elements Every LinkedIn Profile Should Have. Does Yours?
If you’re on LinkedIn, or are considering joining LinkedIn, chances are you want to be found there. Right? I mean, it makes no sense to join one of the fastest-growing social networks just so you can hide from clients, prospects, employment candidates, colleagues and referral sources, does it?
You’d think that this would go without saying. But many are ignoring some essential components to their LinkedIn profiles. In metaphorical terms, they are erecting a billboard on a desolate highway, when what they really want is a mobile electronic sign with neon lights and loud speaker, roaming the streets of a busy downtown.
So, let’s assume that you really do want people to find you on LinkedIn. Here’s what you may be missing, using our social media director’s profile as an example:
1.) Websites – Your LinkedIn profile can serve as your cattle roper, wrangling prospective leads, connections and contacts back to the environments that you control—your website, your company website, your blog. Are they all listed there? And are they listed as the default “My Company,” or did you take the extra step to customize the title so that search engines (LinkedIn’s and Google, e.g.) can find searches done on your specific company name, “ABC Company.”
2.) Keyword-rich copy – Did you complete your Summary, Specialties and Interests sections of the profile using keywords that prospective candidates might use to find connections of a particular industry, interest or business segment? People looking for new connections will turn to search. What they find when doing that search is up to you, and how you word your descriptions.
3.) Your “vanity” URL – Did you claim your name-specific URL, linkedin.com/in/yourname, or are you still linkedin.com/in/profile-id:1937393? It only takes a couple of seconds, and it stakes your claim in both the LinkedIn universe and in Google (or other) searches performed on your name. If you want people to find you, be visible. Do a Google search for your name. What comes up? If you get your LinkedIn profile set up correctly, the first search result can be you…on LinkedIn…acting as a gateway to you and your other Web presences.
4.) Your past – Don’t look back in anger, but do look back. Listing former employers and education will help you connect with prior contacts, colleagues and classmates, as LinkedIn will automatically generate a suggested connection list based on these factors. If you don’t list your education, for example, LinkedIn will not know to urge Bill Thompson, your long-lost college roommate, to connect with you, even though he is currently looking for precisely the type of product or service you provide.
5.) Status updates – Much to RonCo’s chagrin, LinkedIn is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. You must remain active. This is how you will maintain a presence before your connections, both in their news streams that they check from time to time and in the e-mail updates they receive from LinkedIn on a periodic basis. That LinkedIn update e-mail that goes to each of your connections on a weekly basis is your free e-newsletter. If you’re not remaining active on LinkedIn, you’re invisible on these updates, and you will miss an opportunity to remain visible in front of your most important constituents.
6.) Extra credit: Applications – While LinkedIn is not the most feature-rich social network in the world, it does afford users some opportunity to add some life and activity to their profiles. For example, if you’re a person on the go, consider adding the Events application to your profile—create events, share them with your network, and promote your upcoming speaking gigs. If you’re a blogger, add one of the blog applications, which will take a very static LinkedIn profile and make it dynamic. If you have presentations to share, install the Slideshare or Google Presentation applications. And so on.
Remember, while LinkedIn may be regarding your profile as “95% complete,” it is never truly complete until it starts becoming a resource for you to make, foster and benefit from new connections online—relationships that you either wouldn’t have or wouldn’t nurture in the real world.