10 Incredibly Simple Ways to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile for Inbound Marketing

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Your LinkedIn profile is the public-facing summary of who you are, what you represent, what your professional history is, and your area of expertise.  In essence, your profile is a snapshot of the brand you are sharing with the entire world. It’s only natural, then, that increasing the Inbound Marketing potential of our profile can lead to more exposure – and business – from our target audience.

When you establish your profile in a way that highlights your company’s expertise and outlines how you can assist potential customers, you maximize the business opportunities for you and your business.  Although you might customize the way in which you present your company in each business interaction, there is only one universal profile on LinkedIn that everyone will be able to see.  This is the secret to why LinkedIn’s database and people search capabilities are so impressive.  The fields in which everyone enters information are standardized; therefore, it is easier to brand yourself by differentiating what you include in your profile because everyone else has to complete the same data fields as you do.

So how much information should you include in your LinkedIn profile to make it complete?  To develop and strengthen your own LinkedIn brand and increase your chances of being found, you will want to include as much data as possible.  Let’s dig deeper into the 10 main functions of a LinkedIn profile and explain the importance of each component.

Photo – Basically, if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile photo, you are invisible.  Don’t forget that much of Social Media is about people-centric networking, and without a photo, it will be harder to gain credibility with those whom you want to engage.

Name – LinkedIn is strict when asking you to input your name, and only your name, where specified.  There are plenty of fake profiles out there, so there is no reason not to be upfront and honest about who you are.  Also, if you are representing a business and want to use your company name, remember that  LinkedIn is a social network for professionals and people, not companies, and there are plenty of opportunities to brand your company within your profile.

Headline – Your headline is important real estate that appears next to your name in search results, and it’s wording may determine whether a new potential client contacts you after you appear in search results.  Your headline should be customized to align with your objective for being on LinkedIn in the first place, which is to market your company.  Remember to brand your headline, not make it a collection of keywords, which will make your potential customer think you are merely trying to dupe the LinkedIn search results (more on that pet peeve of mine in a future blog post)

Location – A no-brainer? NOT! This is the field that gives potential customers  a way to filter out profiles by location, so it is of the utmost importance that your classify yourself as “living” where your market is.

Industry – A critical aspect to your profile.  If your company crosses industries, or it’s not specific, make sure to choose the one which you most want to be associated with. If you’re confused, check out the sales and marketing folks from your competitors and see what industry they chose for one reference point.

Summary – Much like your headline, which acts as an initial filter, your summary is the basis upon which people will form opinions about you and your brand.  It is what helps them decide how they will view you and potentially your company.  Make sure to include keywords that will appear in searches as well as what your specialties are, and more importantly, how you can help potential clients.

Experience – This is where you have the opportunity to show off your company’s niche and your own unique expertise.  To effectively brand yourself, include details that support the info you included in your headline and summary.

Education – Do not skip this, as it is simply another way to prove you are “real” – and get found.

Websites/URLs – Not only do you have the opportunity to list your company website here, you can also list up to three URL’s to appear on your profile.  Take advantage of this – and make sure to customize the anchor text for potential additional SEO juice.

Contact Settings – Make it easy for potential clients to contact you by inputting your contact information.  If you do not want to show your phone #, a business email is sufficient.  Just don’t leave it blank and let this precious space go to waste.

It’s safe to say that LinkedIn gives you a lot of real estate in which to work, so the more you use, the better you can brand yourself and your company, making it easier to be found in search results.

And lastly, one final word of advice:  After you create a stellar profile that embodies your brand, make sure you revisit it on a regular basis to ensure it is up to date and continues to reflect your professional objectives.  In other words … always keep your LinkedIn brand fresh!

How has your LinkedIn profile attracted new business for you?

The above is a summary of selected content from my critically acclaimed new LinkedIn for business book “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing,” available at Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or iTunes.

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
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Neal Schaffer
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Comments

  1. says

    Great tips, Neal! Too many LinkedIn profiles are left barren, or sit there collecting cobwebs after not being updated for months (or years). If done right, your LinkedIn profile could be the top result that appears on a Google search for your name.

  2. says

    Dude seriously, I was just thinking about and typing this – the need to juice up the LI profile – and here you go with advice. Thanks. I have a good ‘how LI helped me story’ for you, it’s on the Solo PR blog about how I made connections and a speaking gig. http://bit.ly/xmJF0Y FWIW.

  3. says

    That is so true. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said “The fields in which everyone enters information are standardized; therefore, it is easier to brand yourself by differentiating what you include in your profile because everyone else has to complete the same data fields as you do”. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  4. says

    Good points – it is also key to determine whether your profile is being used as an “online cv” or for marketing and sales purposes – connecting with prospects. 

    Dependent on which is more important to you then you should tweak the above points to match

    • says

      Exactly Duncan – this post was more geared towards businesses and sales and marketing professionals, but the same techniques could certainly be used for looking for a job as well.

  5. says

    100% agree with the points here…we are creating a profile website too for self employed people and are seeing startling page views on profiles with a photo v profiles without a photo – amazing. Think this is  one of the most important steps to getting someone to your online profile – then the words take over…

  6. Randy says

    I would love for LinkedIn to release some reports on usage patterns. The “you need to be on LinkedIn” message often gets countered with a “how many people are actually logging on frequently” point. Right now it’s similar to direct mail. Get your list, filter it and send it out, expecting a low percentage to see it and a portion of those to act on it.

    • says

      I think LinkedIn actually has a LOT of data … but I don’t expect them to be sharing it with us anytime soon like the other sites. We will have to use it based on our own metrics for success…

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