Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your personal brand, but it does not stop there. It is also an extension of your company’s brand. Like it or not, people judge your company by your profile, so you want to represent it well.
It details who you are, your professional interests, past experiences, skills, volunteer work, and more. The task of refreshing your profile may seem daunting, tedious, and unnecessary. However, with the start of the New Year, I found it to be a great time to refresh my profile and wanted to share my findings. Here are five LinkedIn strategies for quickly updating your brand and setting yourself apart from competition in the LinkedIn market.
1. Must Haves
There are certain attributes every profile should encompass in order to succeed. Users who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who don’t. Filling out the location field on your profile will also help you appear in up to 23 times more searches. A professional-looking photo is another must-have, and not the one your friend took of you at college fifteen years ago. Even if you don’t have a professional headshot, ask a colleague to take your photo sitting at your work desk, or standing against a neutral colored wall. Profiles with a photo get up to 21 times more views and up to 36 times more messages, according to LinkedIn expert Blair Decembrele.
2. How to Position Your Current Role and Headline
The current role portion of your LinkedIn profile is intended to house your job title. However, the headline is meant to be more creative. A LinkedIn headline is an expression of who you are, your strengths, and your skills. This is a space intended to be used as a personal branding slogan. Include key words that speak to your expertise, and what value you to bring to your current and potentially future employers. Mine, for example, tries to be witty – “Director of Marketing | Team Player | Strategic Competitor” – meaning that I am a team player, but I also want to be the best amongst my peers.
3. Create a Vanity URL
Creating a vanity URL simplifies the process of directing people to your LinkedIn profile. It’s a lot easier and more professional when your page has a direct link with your name in it than a random assortment of letters and numbers. If you have not already customized your LinkedIn profile URL I highly recommend doing so. There is no additional fee to do this either. LinkedIn allows you to customize it easily on the right hand side of your profile.
4. It Is Still a Social Network
Actively engage with your connections by liking, sharing, and commenting on their posts. Just connecting with people and moving on will serve you little purpose. Anyone can have a thousand connections, but how many of your connections do you sincerely interact with on a semi regular basis? Make an intentional effort by scheduling time on your calendar to log in and engage, whether it’s with your company’s page, clients, partners or friends.
5. So, How Can I Engage on LinkedIn?
There are many ways you can engage on LinkedIn – and don’t worry, you can start by dipping your toe in. At Pierpont, what we recommend to our clients is to follow industry pages and other companies that are relevant to their business, and share their posts. But the key is adding a short, one or two sentence comment with the post. So you don’t need to create your own original content, although if you do – even better, you just need to provide value to your network.
Whether you are a seasoned professional, or new in your career, LinkedIn is a valuable tool that, when used appropriately, can do wonders for your professional development and personal brand. I enjoy working with my clients to help them improve their presence on the platform, and seeing them reap the business development benefits afterwards.
Dori Ludwig serves as Pierpont’s Director of Marketing and works across B2B and B2C clients to support branding, integrated marketing and digital engagements.