LinkedIn is unquestionably the leader in social media networking for business professionals.
Yet many of us don’t take the time to optimize our LinkedIn pages. This is because while many people realize that the social platform benefits job seekers, many fail to realize that knowing how to optimize LinkedIn can help build new clients. While it’s clear that this social/professional platform benefits job seekers, what’s less understood is that a properly optimized LinkedIn can help businesses connect with new clients.
That’s right, just like optimizing for Google search, optimizing your LinkedIn profile helps to increase views and awareness for your services. If you are a salesperson, your LinkedIn profile needs to be tightly optimized. An optimized LinkedIn profile helps increase business opportunities effortlessly.
In other words, if you can’t be found, increasing sales become a more difficult journey.
So let’s make things easier. Let’s learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and turn you into an automated networking monster who attracts inbound leads.
The Importance of a LinkedIn Optimization Sales Funnel
For the most part, we can agree that the “sales funnel” is overused. It’s a buzzword. But it’s the best word we have to describe strategically processing inbound leads.
You should present your best work on LinkedIn. This is one of the quickest and easiest ways that a prospect can learn about you and your work. When browsing LinkedIn, prospects delve into your achievements. And Reputation. Plus when a personal connection is flanked by a work portfolio, a prospect trusts you more.
And business professionals are flooding LinkedIn more than ever before. In 2009, 37 million business professionals used LinkedIn. In 2016, that number reached a stunning 467 million, according to Statista Research.
Find more statistics at Statista.
Make no mistake about it, if you pass on LinkedIn SEO optimization, you pass on opportunity to grow your company.
LinkedIn Optimization Steps
Let’s break down simple and effective ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
Make Your Profile Photo Professional
To use LinkedIn as a tool to help build company leads, you need a professional profile photo. Unlike Facebook, your cat’s cute photo won’t work. LinkedIn is about building trust. If people search for “digital marketing professionals” on LinkedIn, they aren’t clicking on a cat photo. Moreover, a picture of you bonging a beer isn’t a good idea, either.
You should upload a professional headshot to your LinkedIn profile. Many photographers offer business professional photoshoots for affordable pricing. However, if you don’t want to shell out any cash for a headshot, ask your cool friend that digs photography. Do anything but upload a blurry photo of yourself.
Your LinkedIn profile photo is the first thing prospects see when they search LinkedIn for services. Don’t ruin this vital opportunity by neglecting your headshot.
Banner Image (maybe)
Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to update both your profile picture and banner image. It’s best practice to update both if you can. But also, the banner image isn’t as important as the profile image. You can be a little more creative on the banner image, but you should remain somewhat business professional.
Here’s where you optimize both of your LinkedIn profile images:
If you can’t come up with a good idea for the banner, just leave it the default blue strobes. No harm, no foul.
You might already be using the banner to promote your company’s latest offer. (Aren’t you a smart cookie!) Just be careful not to allow your profile to look like a billboard ad. That will turn people off.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Summary Space
If you’re an SEO professional, you understand how imperative it is to work keywords into your text. It stands to reason that your LinkedIn summary should be treated in the same way.
Most people describe themselves in their LinkedIn summary. That’s a great start. It’s even better to optimize that text by strategically deploying keywords.
So what’s the next step?
First, write the finest LinkedIn summary you can. If need be, get help from a copywriter. Get feedback from other business professionals you trust; they can help you gauge whether the message you are trying to send is being received. Keep your writing to the point; avoid long summaries like the plague. You need to make it clear who you are and what you do in a concise, friendly, professional manner. This isn’t about length. It’s about substance.
Once you’ve refined your LinkedIn summary, it’s time to optimize it.
First, establish which keywords you want to show up for when business prospects are searching. For example, if you run a digital agency that provides PPC services, you will want to include “PPC agency” as a keyword. However, find just a few powerful keywords to sprinkle through your summary. Don’t include too many, lest you appear to be brazenly keyword stuffing. Plus, an overabundance of keywords can convolute your bio.
Once you’ve identified the LinkedIn optimization keywords that matter most to you, weave them carefully into your summary.
No one trusts a stale LinkedIn profile. Everyone still wants to know, “What have you done for me lately?”
Here are two ways to keep your LinkedIn profile active:
1) Keep the info current. If you discontinue a service, change positions, or rebrand your company, make sure you update that throughout your LinkedIn profile. You’d be surprised how often people fail to keep their profile up to date. This not only appears unprofessional, but it limits your LinkedIn SEO potential: prospects can’t find you for keywords you haven’t added.
2) Sharing is caring. Make sure you share content. But don’t just share that content, give some professional commentary. This will give prospects a more intimate look into how you think strategically. It will show you as active in a relevant industry space. That said, don’t turn your profile into political activism unless that’s your business model. You seek to be seen as professional, intelligent, and hardworking, not divisive. No matter what your opinion on politics may be, some prospect somewhere will not share your sentiment.
Seek Out Endorsements and Recommendations
In modern business, nothing moves products and services more than consumer validation. When clients sing your praises, prospects feel more confident in choosing you.
To garner more endorsements, you should proactively endorse others. Think about good working relationships you’ve had and endorse those people for the skills they exhibited. They’ll likely return the favor. Additionally, make sure you keep your skills section updated so that you have the most opportunities to get endorsements.
Here’s where you can do that.
Direct Online Marketing’s Director of Growth and Analysis, Adam Roth, does a good job with his LinkedIn endorsements. And see how much more robust your skills look when other people are vouching for them. You’re not just tooting your own horn.
Adam’s profile showcases the brain trust available at Direct Online Marketing (DOM) to help clients achieve goals, especially SEO goals in his case. Adam does an excellent job optimizing his LinkedIn as one of DOM’s champions.
Network, Network, Network
One of the most powerful LinkedIn optimization tactics is the heart of the platform’s goal…
The more you network, the more relevant your profile becomes to LinkedIn search. By increasing your exposure in your network vertical, you establish trust and relevance.
It’s important to leverage LinkedIn to keep your professional network growing. You do this by being vigilant about adding new contacts to your LinkedIn. And you do this by logging in daily and checking out notifications and responding where appropriate.
Schedule Daily LinkedIn Maintenance Time
All of this probably sounds like a lot of work. At least, more work than you probably expected to be advised to spend on a social platform. But optimizing your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Instead, set aside a small amount of time each day for LinkedIn. This time should include the following:
- Stay active, share some content; be a thought leader.
- Add or accept networking requests.
- Make sure skills, bio, picture are up to date.
- Reply to comments on your shared content.
- Comment on interesting content shared by friends.
It could just be 5 minutes a day. Start chipping away and see what you can accomplish. That’s really it. LinkedIn optimization isn’t tough if you simply schedule a little time for it.
While much of this post focuses on the organic optimization of LinkedIn, it’s important to note that LinkedIn ads help both small and large companies produce leads. At Direct Online Marketing, our team of Digital Advertising specialists frequently help companies build leads through LinkedIn advertising campaigns. Don’t hesitate to contact us personally.