Your LinkedIn Profile basics

Building an incredible LinkedIn Profile

Here, we present a step-by-step article on how to write a LinkedIn Profile that will get you noticed, reward you with new connections and will build your credibility.

Stewart Leahy, providing advice and strategic thinking on your LinkedIn approachEditors Note: Expert content needs an expert content writer and Yorkshire Powerhouse is pleased to publish this business advice article on LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Strategy, kindly written by a real expert in his field – Stewart Leahy – our very own founder!

In the last 5 years, Stewart has taken his own LinkedIn profile from ‘only’ 1,700 connections to well over 19,000 and has become the ‘go-to’ guru for straight-talking advice on the subject.

Please consider contacting Stewart to discuss any aspect of LinkedIn strategy – just click on the advert links above or below – and please mention this page if you do make contact.

“Everybody uses their LinkedIn profile as an online CV, right?”

Wrong!  It’s true that some people do use LinkedIn as an online CV and job-finding service but that’s not you.

Using LinkedIn for marketing purposes (the whole point of this article) is where you publically combine your corporate brand and corporate message with your personal brand and your personality.  Getting the balance right isn’t hard … but it does need careful thought.

First principles – who / what / why?

If you can’t answer these three simple questions then don’t do anything to your profile yet – being able to clearly answer these questions SHOULD change how you present your profile, what content you include, etc:

1. WHO … Who do you want to connect to, who do you want to ‘pull’ to your message and your business?  Be specific – describe the person, their job title, their business, their challenges … really think about them and their needs!

2. WHAT … What do you want to sell or offer them?  Do you make it easy for them to understand that this is what you offer?

3. WHY … Why would they buy from you – what’s in it for them if they do business with you, what is the end result if they become your client, how does it affect them, etc?

Your profile on LinkedIn is what prospects will use to ‘check you out’ before agreeing to connect or talk to you … so, its primary job is to persuade ‘strangers’ that you are a decent, credible human being, knowledgeable in your field of expertise and worth ‘risking’ a conversation with.

Your profile can (and arguably should) also be used regularly by existing clients and contacts as a communicating tool – using the messages and looking up your email or phone number are all regular activities on LinkedIn so you need to make sure you provide the right information in the right place.

Finally, three elements of your profile are shown on LinkedIn if you are being seen … when you comment on someone’s post, when you publish a post yourself, when your name appears in the search, etc.  The three elements are your name, your profile photo and your headline … so you had better make sure these are ‘fit for purpose’ too!

Step 1: The Essentials of an incredible LinkedIn profile:

It might seem weird to write at length about your name, photo and description but this is where so many people make fundamental errors.

Name: Be precise … make sure your name uses capital letters (i.e. Stewart Leahy) and only put letters after your name if it genuinely makes a difference to your prospects.  Your ego doesn’t count so displaying titles that are irrelevant to your client is simply you trying to be ‘superior’!  Quite simply, if it doesn’t add value to your contacts, don’t do it!

Photo: We all know the old saying, “People buy ‘people'”.  So, your photo is your ‘shop window’ to ‘you’ and needs to not put your prospects off.  It SHOULD be a nice, well-lit, cropped head and shoulders shot, ideally smiling and looking clean and presentable. It should not be a holiday shot, it shouldn’t contain a picture of anyone else, it shouldn’t be a full-length shot (it’s only small at the best of times), forget your graduation shots, baby shots, definitely avoid shots with alcohol, swimsuit shots, and so on!  Also, don’t put your logo here – a Company page is where you put your logo, not your personal profile (yes, you are different to your company as far as LinkedIn is concerned, even if you are a sole trader!).

Description: Frequently, people use this space to state their job title and company name … i.e. Managing Director for XYZ Limited.  Remember, this isn’t supposed to be a CV – it IS supposed to be FOR your prospects … so what do they want to know?  Additionally, you can use up to 300 characters in your description – it doesn’t always display all the description text, but that shouldn’t stop you from using the space.

Think about using this description space to allow prospects to learn about what you can do FOR THEM!  Try explaining the benefits of your services or products,  explain how they will ‘feel’ once they experience your support, etc.

Step 2: Let’s talk about ‘Above the Fold’ – The Intro section according to LinkedIn:

Now we’ve discussed the essential three elements (above), let’s now talk about what your profile shows most users when they first come to it and before they scroll down … in newspaper speak, what’s ‘above the fold’ and immediately visible.

Clearly, what you see depends on the screen size and device you are using, but as a rule of thumb we’re talking about editing your header image, your profile link and your contact information to ensure your profile is presenting the ‘right’ information:

Header image: LinkedIn uses a generic placeholder image at the top of your profile if you don’t add an image – so add an image.  About 20% of users don’t add an image at all and that simply screams to everyone else that they can’t be bothered!  You can largely put whatever you like in this place as long as it is the correct size.  LinkedIn wants you to upload an image that is 1584 x 396 pixels although it will display it at roughly half this size.  Remember that your profile photo will normally be shown in front of the bottom left-hand area (even more is covered up on a mobile screen) so be careful if you want to display text!

Profile URL: As standard, your LinkedIn profile will contain your name and a load of random numbers and characters but you can (and should) edit this so it is easier to use.  Amazingly, around 80% of users don’t edit their URLs, so be in the 20% and clean yours up!

Contact details – note, most of your contact details only become available to people ‘once’ they connect with you … but that shouldn’t mean you don’t want them to be correct:

Website links: LinkedIn allows you to link to 3 separate URL’s – so, if you only have the one website, link to your home page, your about us page and your services page (for instance).

Email: This is a major area of frustration … around 30% of profiles were set up using a personal email rather than a business email and, unless you then edit this email address, you will still be showing your personal account to your connections!  Edit this and use the same details that you would place on your business card!

Telephone number: If you would show a phone number on your business card, why would you not show it to your connections on LinkedIn?  Amazingly, lots of profiles don’t provide telephone numbers and that simply irritates connections should they want to call and chat with you.

Location: Remember, this is for your prospects, not your ego.  You can largely decide to display any actual location you elect – but if you only sell to your local area (say a 20 mile radius of ‘Leeds’) then why would you show a vague location of ‘UK’?  Make your location relevant – this IS shown to anyone who looks, regardless of whether they are connected to you or not.

Step 3: Completing your LinkedIn profile:

Assuming the first view of your profile doesn’t put visitors off, they’re going to scroll down and look further at your profile so the ‘additional’ elements you can present include the following:

About section: LinkedIn provides you with up to 2,600 characters of space here so make good use of it.  You should remember that this is not about you or your ego – this should explain to a prospect how THEY will benefit from being connected with you, how THEY will be delighted in being helped by you, etc.  You can certainly slip in a short testimonial here but you should DEFINITELY also include your contact details in this section so that someone ‘not’ connected to you (yet) can still see how to get in touch with you should they wish.

Featured section: This isn’t an ‘essential’ part of your profile but it’s a great way to show off a brochure, video, post or link – it’s a nice way to draw attention to something that your prospects might be interested in.

Experience: Often used as a CV list of previous roles – you can show up to 2,000 characters of detailed information about each role you list – so you can certainly use this space when describing your current role to get plenty more benefits into your profile!  Remember, don’t just list every single job you’ve ever had – no one cares that you worked part-time whilst going through uni!

Education: Again, just keep this relevant – no one really cares which school you went to!

Step 4: Building your credibility:

LinkedIn tries to spoon-feed you to present prospects with credibility – but this is, perhaps, harder to complete and should become a long term, continuous task.  There are two areas you can display and make use of … but you need the help of others to not look lame!

Skills: You get to pick a list of ‘skills’ that you would like others to ‘endorse’ you for.  So, as always, think about what skills your prospects would want you to demonstrate, and list them here.  You then need to ‘ask’ your connections and colleagues to actually visit your profile and click on the ‘Endorse’ button next to each skill … this is a public show of support and clearly shows to a prospect that you are well thought of.

Recommendations: This is the ‘ultimate’ way to show your value to a prospect … LinkedIn recommendations are written testimonials from one person to another and they provide ‘copper bottom proof’ that you are good at what you do.

Our free e-book on using LinkedIn as a B2B lead generating tool

Think who you can ask to provide you with a testimonial – previous customers who have placed Google reviews, provided testimonials, etc.  You do need to constantly seek new recommendations as they are dated by LinkedIn – so showing loads from 5 years ago is no good, that actually suggests you’re not any good these days compared to then!  A fresh, new recommendation once every few months is better than a handful ‘once’.

Building the perfect LinkedIn Profile – summary:

Remember, your ego isn’t going to pay the wages so stop caring about it and present a profile that speaks volumes to your prospects and contacts.  Your profile is there to encourage people to connect with you and that’s about it.  In the next article (link below) I talk about ‘working’ LinkedIn to generate leads and business opportunities.

Don’t forget to request a free copy of the e-Book we’ve produced that guides you through the process of using LinkedIn as a lead generating tool – just ask for a copy to be sent over.

LinkedIn is unquestionably the #1 B2B Digital Networking website … approaching it with a clear strategy and with the knowledge of what you’re doing is essential to benefit from the platform – if you’re not 100% confident in your abilities then ask for help.

Thoughts on finding LinkedIn success from Yorkshire Powerhouse

Have you any questions?

Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:

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