A friendly PSA:
Stop treating LinkedIn like a recycled résumé.
LinkedIn has evolved. What used to be a place to simply list your accomplishments for potential employers and colleagues is now a booming social media platform for businesses and professionals alike. It’s the place for you to not only connect with like-minded individuals but to also build your brand.
Need proof? The platform’s lead conversion rates are three times higher than other major platforms, including Google Ads. If that’s not a mic drop moment, we don’t know what is.
It’s time to start using LinkedIn to boost your business. The first step is to perfect your profile, so you can attract potential customers and wow them into clicking “Connect”.
Quick disclaimer: In this guide, we’re focusing on personal LinkedIn profile optimization. Most of the steps involved will also work on optimizing your company’s LinkedIn page when the time comes, however.
How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Build Your Brand
1. Start With Your Basic Details
LinkedIn is all about the details. Fully complete your profile by filling out all the basic details.
- Photo: Although we recommend using a professional, non-blurry headshot, don’t be afraid to show some personality. Potential customers will get a good idea of what it looks like to work with you just from this image. It’s powerful, so make it count.
- URL: Your LinkedIn URL will be how others find you on the platform and via search. Customize the URL with your full name.
- Website: Add a link to your website in your profile. Or, if you have an online portfolio, link to that. Wherever you link to, make sure the site features a way for potential customers and colleagues to contact you.
- Experience: Before you start filling in everything you’ve ever done, consider what’s most important to your brand. What work have you done that solidifies your expertise? Showcase those examples.
A Quick Note on SEO
What’s a guide about LinkedIn profile optimization without talking about SEO? As you move forward, be sure to talk specifically about what you do. This is especially important in the experience section and the summary (which we’ll talk about later on). Keywords should flow naturally throughout the copy on the page. This will help optimize your profile for search, both on and off the platform.
Once you have the backbone complete, fill in the rest of your personal details.
- Education: This is the place to highlight your degrees and so much more. Discuss any extracurriculars you did that pertain to what you do. Talk about what you studied and any awards or recognition you received along the way. You’ll also have a chance to include your volunteer experiences.
- Certifications: Have you obtained a specific certification? Add it to your profile. These further solidify your experience in your field.
- Accomplishments: Your accomplishments should discuss your publications, honors, awards and organization memberships.
2. Write a Simple & Inspiring Headline
Now the fun begins! While LinkedIn is a professional platform, you shouldn’t be stuffy or stoic. Also, even though we’re talking about LinkedIn optimization, you shouldn’t emphasize keywords over personality.
Instead, your profile should be personable and inspiring to your potential customers. And it all starts with a captivating headline.
The LinkedIn headline is the short blurb under your name on your profile that describes who you are and what you do. Our fearless leader, Cari Twitchell, offers a great example:
It’s a simple formula: state who you are and what you do on behalf of your customers. Again, it’s what you do on behalf of your audience, not yourself. You can be as creative as you want to be. Just remember to balance creativity with simplicity—your audience should know what to expect from you at a glance.
✨Tip: You have up to 120 characters to use in your headline. Get creative with this limited space!
3. Tell Your Story Using Your LinkedIn Summary
In our blog post, “LinkedIn Summaries: Copywriting Lessons to Learn From 5 Inspiring Examples”, we walked you through what a great summary looks like. Your summary is where you tell your audience what it is you do and why it’s important to them.
The perfect LinkedIn summary showcases your personality while communicating your mission. It illustrates how you can solve your customer’s problem in a succinct manner. It also includes a call to action where you give your audience a next step.
Take a look at Cari’s summary:
Cari showcases her personality by adding in fun emojis, wit and a quote by Walt Disney at the end with her call to action. It’s important to note that your summary will look completely different—and that’s the point. The only way to connect to your audience is to be authentic.
✨ Tip: You have up to 2,000 characters to work with in your summary. Use that space wisely!
4. Add Flavor With Recommendations
There’s nothing more inspiring to your audience than hearing the successes of others after working with you. LinkedIn allows you to add your own recommendations to your profile from colleagues and customers.
How do you get them? You ask! After you complete a project for a customer, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation and provide a link to your profile. Or give someone else you trust a recommendation and they may return the favor.
Already have customer testimonials? Consider adding one or two to your LinkedIn summary.
5. Brand Your Profile
By now, you’ve already added a profile photo and written the main copy for your profile. Now it’s time for some finishing touches to ensure your brand is front and center. For example, add a cover photo that relates to what you do (even better if it includes your brand colors).
To add some additional brand flavor, include links to your portfolio, blog or website in the Featured section. These links should give further insight into who you are. Plus, they’re great for generating traffic to your website.
LinkedIn Optimization Is a Must for any Marketing Strategy
When it comes to social media and marketing, you can’t ignore LinkedIn any longer. The steps laid out here should help you create a profile that inspires your audience to want more.
If you’re struggling with LinkedIn profile optimization, know we’re here to support you. Send us Word Nerds a message.